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How Adams County uses data to maintain its entire pavement network

Adams County, CO

With a mix of urban and rural roads in various states of repair, Adams County, CO faced a challenge to ensure road work was both accurately tracked and equally distributed among operators. Road conditions and needs varied greatly in materiality and drainage infrastructure, yet, understanding this data was critical to mobilize equipment and resources. With the help of Cartegraph OMS, the county began to centralize its asset management, becoming a high-performance government guided by data-driven decision making.

CHALLENGE

With 1,700 miles of gravel roads and nearly 18,000 signs, Adams County, CO was looking for a centralized system that could accurately inventory their assets, improve productivity, and help their Public Works Department prepare for the future.

Much of the county’s assets had no digital footprint, and were managed off a combination of spreadsheets, paper forms, and the memory of long-term employees. With these decentralized methods, repair decisions were often based on gut feeling or emotions.

"The County needed a system to track asset location and condition, and then plan and prioritize maintenance work on those assets,” summarizes Charles Osterman, GIS analyst with the Adams County Business Solutions Group. “We needed to make sure we were performing the right work on the right assets at the right time to maximize our asset lifespans.”

As part of their new high-performance system, the county also sought a streamlined way to receive, track, and respond to requests from their 490,000 citizens. In the past, “citizen requests had been kind of a hit and miss,” according to Mark Moskowitz, Public Works Department administrative coordinator. Handling these high-priority requests had been messy business—a series of forwarded emails that could quickly become an untraceable paper trail.

SOLUTION

Armed with Cartegraph OMS, the county now tracks their assets, maintenance work, and costs in a single location. From pavement resurfacing to sign replacement, each repair is traced and tagged leveraging Cartegraph’s two-way integration with Esri ArcGIS.

“One of the biggest benefits we’ve seen is having the ability to allow our field crews to edit the GIS data through the Cartegraph for iPad app, right in the field,” says Osterman. “Our sign crews are adding new signs into ArcGIS as they install them. I think right now, we have the most complete and accurate sign inventory we’ve ever had in our GIS.”

“The most important thing for us is to have data input completely, correctly, and consistently. Having a system that’s easy to use—that people are likely to use on their own—is very important for that,” says Osterman. 

To fuel high-level, comprehensive analysis, Adams County inspects their entire pavement network every three years with the help of the Cartegraph Data Services team. From this data, the county builds out their 5-year paving, chip, and slurry seal programs—as well as routine maintenance plans.

“It’s really important to us to track the performance of the work we’ve been doing,” says Osterman. “If we do resurfacing, we can see when that work was done, and then every 3 years, we can see how that work is holding up. Is the condition of the road what we expected it to be? Do we need to change things or are they working well?”

RESULTS 

More than ever before, data drives decision-making within Adam County. Everyone from public works managers to field workers use Cartegraph OMS to capture asset data, analyze it, and prepare for the future.

“We’re constantly using data to determine what work is going to be done on a day-to-day basis, as well as far into the future and to plan for next year,” says Osterman. “It’s completely essential to what we are doing.”

In numerous instances, the county has found that buying better materials pays for itself in soft savings down the line. For example, by moving to a new, more expensive gravel, the team can grade their roads annually as opposed to three times a week.

“This is a multi-million dollar business. There’s a lot of money out there—taxpayer dollars. We need to be efficient, we need to be competitive, and we need to put out quality work and have good outcomes,” says Jeremy Reichert, Adams County Public Works Department operations manager. “That’s what the citizens expect, and it’s what we should expect of ourselves, too.”

As for Adams County citizens, they’ve never been happier. With Cartegraph’s integrated request feature, residents can submit common road issues, such as potholes and street light outages, right from their computer or smartphone. The requests—complete with location, details, and photos—are passed directly into Adams County’s Cartegraph OMS system, where they’re reviewed and routed for proper handling.

“Our department loves it because we don’t have to worry about fielding calls. And they’re happy because they receive a follow up within 24 hours,” explains Moskowitz.

“An informed public is an understanding and happy public,” says Reichert. “If they know what you do and they have a good understanding of your processes, they’re more likely to support you.”