Road signs are a vital part of our roadways. They warn us of a sharp corner ahead, tell us how fast we should be driving, and help us find our way to our destination. Not quite vital, GPS tracking and navigation technology has also become a common part of travel. In Phelps County, Nebraska the Highway Department has decided to utilize computer software and GPS tracking technology. to make keeping track of each and every sign in their inventory a bit easier.
Bobby Hamilton, Highway Superintendent, said in a council meeting that this software will take each and every sign and map them using GPS coordinates, allowing the county to keep an eye on the condition of the signs, including its retroreflectivity. This is important as the Federal Highway Administration has instituted new minimum requirement for retroreflectivity levels, and gives agencies until the end of this month to figure out a plan for assessing the condition of their signs. All signs must meet these new minimum retroreflectivity levels by January 2015 for signs directly on the roadway (ground mounted) and January 2018 for overhead signs.
The GPS tracking software being obtained by Phelps County will cost roughly $1500, and will be funded primarily by a grant from the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Service. It seems that this solution will save countless hours and consequently it will eventually pay for itself, saving employees from checking each and every sign annually.