Tag Archives: Linear Bench

Auto-generated summary sheets

Photo of John Guymon

John Guymon, UDOT Rotational Engineer

For each roadway preservation or rehabilitation project, UDOT designers fill out a summary sheet that provides a tally of measurements and material quantities needed for the project. Collecting data on-site, compiling data and figuring quantities can take a week or more. “You go out into the field with a wheel and tape, and you measure everything,” says UDOT rotational engineer John Guymon. His work to integrate online data with a spreadsheet is helping UDOT designers work more efficiently.

Guymon used coding and Microsoft Excel to create a form that uses asset management data and standard formulas for figuring material quantities to populate the summary sheet. The data sets are housed in the UDOT Data Portal, UDOT’s online data repository.

The Auto Report Generator is simple to use, and works along with the Linear Bench tool, both accessible on the UDOT Data Portal. Step-by-step instructions are available with the form. Once produced, the summary sheet shows:

  • Pavement type, surface area and material amounts for granular borrow and base course. The pavement type generated in the report is specific to the region, since climate differences around the state call for different pavement types.
  • Barrier in the project area, including location, total feet, and post type, all sorted into standard and non-standard types to show any areas in need of full replacement.
  • Signs, including location, sign type, size and any damage present during data collection.
  • Pavement marking type, paint amounts, messages, and rumble strips or grooved-in paint.

Once the summary sheet has been populated, the sheet can be used to verify measurements, barrier type, roadway geometry, pavement messages, etc.

So far, the new form has been downloaded over 600 times since it became available, about two months ago, and users have become instant fans. Kendall Draney says that one advantage is that using the form keeps employees out of harm’s way. Draney used the form as a design rotational engineer in Region Three. Sometimes getting measurements necessitates a dash across a busy roadway. “It’s really nice to have something that you’re using to verify,” says Draney. “It’s much safer to be on the shoulder.”

Engineering Tech IV Lynda Seckletstewa likes the consistency of the quantity amounts generated by the reports and “quantities for the existing features pulled by the report generator are within 2% of field quantities.”

The reports also provide “an instant checklist for field reviews,” says Seckletstewa. “Generated notes for various features point out deficiencies that we may have otherwise overlooked.”

The new summary form is an example of how UDOT is making good use of data collected on everything on a state roadway that can be viewed through a car window. “I didn’t realize how useful the Mandli data would be,” says Guymon. He views the tool as a first effort that can be improved over time.

Find out about other ways to view data, including the Linear Bench and Highway Reference Online, on the UDOT Data Portal.

Read about the Mandli data-gathering effort here.

Under construction: GIS apps to improve safety

The following post is the second of a two-part series about how GIS tools help employees expedite work and refine the quality of information needed to improve the transportation system. Please also see GIS tools at work in UDOT Region Four.

Widespread, enthusiastic uses of spatial data have not always been embraced – mostly because employees didn’t have experience using the data and tools. One of UDOT’s most enthusiastic GIS tool proponents, Pre-Construction Engineer Monte Aldridge, took a pro-active approach and changed the work culture in region four.

Aldridge required his pre-construction team to use the tools and then report back at a monthly team meeting. Pre-construction teams are made up of members with a variety of engineering specialties, including design, environmental, and hydrology. Teams plan and design small and large roadway projects.

The experience was “very beneficial,” says Aldridge. Once the team members investigated the tools then shared their use experience, they were hooked.  “Now it’s something that’s used every day.”

Wildlife Corssing Images

Wildlife fencing works to direct animals safely across roadways. In the top photo, a mule deer buck has just crossed an overpass. In the bottom photo, fencing directs a mule deer herd to a crossing under the roadway.

For example, roadway designers found out right away that using the Linear Bench, a straight line diagram tool, is useful to catalog relevant roadway assets before designing a project. Region Four designers also use smartphones as on-site data-collectors to geo-reference roadway features when visiting a future construction site. Using the tools has prompted ideas for other uses.

Oh deer!

A large animal that gets around wildlife fencing “is an almost guaranteed accident,” says Aldridge. When a wildlife carcass is picked up on a UDOT route, the location, animal type, along with other information is currently geo-referenced with a smart phone app.  A modification to this app will send an email when a carcass is picked up along a road section where wildlife fencing has been installed. The email will alert transportation technicians that a fence may have been breached.

Another app is being developed to accumulate crash hot-spot data. The Utah Highway Patrol investigates highway crashes and turns over information over to UDOT. Information on the location and cause of a crash is not immediate, however. Overcoming that time lag in getting that information can speed up the time it takes to improve safety.

Staff in Region Four is working to identify how to log crash data to exclude private and sensitive information that’s collected as part of UHP’s investigation. Then, the non-sensitive information can help UDOT employees make safety improvements, if needed, more quickly.

GIS tools at work in UDOT Region Four

UDOT Region Four takes in half of the state. While other regions face heavy snow or urban traffic, Region Four’s challenge is to coordinate work over a large area. Geographic Information System (GIS) tools have helped that coordination process.

The following post is the first of a two-part series about how GIS tools help employees expedite work and refine the quality of information needed to improve the transportation system.

Data Portal screenshotGIS data can be accessed at the UDOT Data Portal.  Much of the information on the site is geo-referenced – that is, given an exact spatial location. The UDOT Data Portal also has tools to view and analyze the data sets. Tools include maps and the Linear Bench, a straight line diagram generator. Both tools can be populated with multiple data sets, like the location of culverts or bridges. Data sets can also be downloaded.

Maps and apps improve work coordination

The Utah Prairie Dog, which occupies habitat within the right-of-way of many highways in Region Four, is afforded protection under the Endangered Species Act. UDOT recently completed a formal consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service that defined measures to minimize impacts to this species.

As part of implementing these measures, UDOT uses GIS and GPS tools to identify and quantify the acreage of habitat of temporary and permanent impacts. The tools expedite surveying and monitoring efforts so UDOT can quickly complete necessary road work.

Material pits are the sources of rock, sand and gravel used on construction and maintenance projects. Pits located on BLM or US Forrest Service land require permits.

An app that geographically displays the pits along with their permitting information is helping UDOT employees stay on top of the permitting process. The app generates an automatic email six months before expiration of the permit so UDOT won’t risk losing access to pits.