Tag Archives: Project Development

How GIS Improves Data Quality

Quality Data

Screenshot of UPlan

Screenshot of UPlan Map Center

State routes and associated features, like mile markers, structures, and even fiber optic cable, can be represented by geo-located points or lines. The UPlan Map Center  provides a way to put data sets on a map, which makes the location of projects and features easy to find. A map can highlight errors and aid quality control. GIS also helps facilitate feedback from decision makers and the public by connecting data owners with data users to.

While putting data on a map sounds simple, “going from a non-visual data environment to a visual one is a complete transformative game-changer,” explains Rod McDaniels, Outdoor Inventory Control (OAC) Manager. For decades, the Department’s Outdoor Advertising Control Program struggled to consistently and quickly identify which routes in the state required billboard control and to pinpoint the exact location of permitted billboards on those routes. Records for the program were kept in individual online or hard copy files which had written descriptions of billboard locations.

UDOT recently combined all route and billboard data into the Outdoor Advertising Control Map. GIS has vastly improved the OAC program’s data quality. “GIS allows users to gain a visual understanding the geographic distribution of permitted billboards in the state. It quickly tells a story that cannot be told through endless spreadsheet rows.  It has exponentially improved QC/QA activities, and it has revolutionized service delivery to a broad spectrum of stakeholders.”

A bridge too far

Putting GIS data on a map also highlights location errors. “It’s like shining a light on something that can otherwise get buried,” says Sarah Rigard, UDOT GIS Program Manager. When the UDOT Structures Division data was put on a map, some of the bridges showed up in the wrong location – one was in Nevada. “A slight typo in a lat-long coordinate will cause the point to be in the wrong location.” Checking for errors on a map can be easier and more effective than checking a spread sheet line by line.

Making decisions

The purpose of the annual Utah Transportation Commission Workshop is to develop funding strategies and identify upcoming projects for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). UDOT’s GIS team supports the workshop by developing presentation materials such as PDF maps, tables, and storymaps on UPlan. Developing presentations has spurred discussion of what information from the Electronic Program Management (ePM) database is the most useful and helpful to convey, and how that information should be presented to provide a thorough representation of transportation needs.

GIS tools provide another way review data, which improves the quality. As a result, UDOT has better information for making decisions and better tools for presenting information to stakeholders.

#WorkForUsWednesday for 2/3/2016

We’ve got a fresh batch of new openings for #WorkForUsWednesday! They come from just about every region in the state, and are from a variety of fields. We even have an internship this week!

You’ll have to go to the Utah State Jobs website to actually apply for those jobs. Simply filter the search criteria by department to (810) Department of Transportation, and you’ll be on your way.

Remember, some of last week’s jobs might still be open, so it’s best to check to see if there’s still the position right for you. Happy applying!


071515 NSTI Tour the Point

Recruitment #07593 – Electronic Technical Specialist II, R-1 Ogden
Opens 02/2/2016, Closes 02/15/2016
This is a journey level electronics technical specialist position performing complex electronics tasks. This position develops and implements a routine maintenance of traffic equipment, provides signal system repairs, inspects new signal construction, repairs various types of damaged vehicle and pedestrian detectors.

Recruitment #07626 – Transportation Technician II, R-4 Gunnison
Opens 02/3/2016, Closes 02/10/2016
Employees in this job perform difficult highway construction, maintenance or incident prevention tasks to insure safety and provide a consistent flow of traffic along major traffic routes.

Recruitment #07567 – Bridge Management Intern (Engineer Intern) Complex – Structures
Opens 1/28/16, Closes 2/4/16
Incumbent assists UDOT Structures staff in a variety of activities including bridge inspections, running bridge queries, and tracking information. This position will also assist with bridge collisions, providing training, and damage inspections. Incumbent will work with the Bridge Management Engineer, the Hydraulic Design Engineer and the Structures design group on several projects. This position is open to current civil engineering students. A letter from the College of Engineering must be uploaded to your profile no later than the closing date. 

Recruitment #07586 – Senior Leader’s Assistant (Administrative Assistant), Calvin Rampton Complex
Project Development Admin – Opens 1/29/16, Closes 2/5/16
This position reports to, and has a close and confidential relationship to the Project Development Director. Duties are not part of the general agency workload, but are exclusively in support of the director. The successful applicant is required to have senior level knowledge of agency policies, procedures, practices and office skills. Works independently and provides administrative support for a major statewide program.
Recruitment #07564 – Structures Project Engineer – Construction (EM I), Calvin Rampton Complex – Structures
Opens 1/29/16, Closes 2/16/16
The Structures Project Engineer – Construction provides leadership and guidance relating to structures design and construction activities within the Structures Division.   The Structures Construction Engineer works at the central UDOT office, in the Structures Design group and coordinates efforts with the Materials, Maintenance, and Construction groups.  This individual is assigned to work as a structure specialist to provide technical information and support to region customers in the construction and repair of structural elements.


A new UPLAN gallery of web maps and apps, with information about upcoming projects, is now available through UPlan.

The gallery makes data on the UDOT Three Year Plan available to project managers, UDOT employees, policy makers and the general public. Projects are organized by program funding source, year and UDOT region. The gallery also has a web map of future planning through 2020.

The live data advantage

The online information can be referenced by employees across the department, or by UDOT and local governments to assure that all are viewing and using the correct information. The project data is updated nightly, so data is kept as current as possible.

Having dynamic, easily accessible information via the gallery enhances collaboration across UDOT divisions so projects can be synchronized to use resources effectively and reduce impact to the public. The gallery improves agency transparency since anyone with a web connection can use the gallery to view planned projects.

What is UDOT’s Three Year Plan?

Screen Shot of the Three Year Plan WebsiteThe projects in the Three Year Plan have been identified and prioritized by each of the four UDOT regions. The projects address UDOT’s three strategic goals, Zero Crashes, Injuries and Fatalities, Optimize Mobility, and Preserve Infrastructure.  Funding sources have also been identified for each project.

The main advantage for UDOT in having a three year program of road construction projects is coordination, says William Lawrence, Director of UDOT Program Finance. The plan lets the department evaluate the program as a whole and “helps maximize efficiency,” he says. For example, two projects in close proximity in American Fork, each planned for different years, were recently combined into one project that will take place in 2017. In this case, combining projects is a better use of financial resources, and “construction will only impact the public once,” says Lawrence.

To find the Three Year Plan gallery, access the UDOT Data Portal at data.utah.gov, click the UPLAN thumbnail, then click the 3-Year Plan thumbnail in UPLAN. Instructions for searching for or sorting projects are included in the gallery.


Two engineers are promoting a cyclical process that will help any function at UDOT chart a path to continuous improvement.

Headshot of Rovert Stewart

Robert Stewart

Statewide Quality Manager Robert Stewart and Quality Management Engineer Curt McCuistion are looking for opportunities to share information about the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. “We are an organization that does very well in quality,” Says Robert Stewart, UDOT Statewide Quality Manager. The road construction that’s carried out under UDOT’s oversight is very carefully executed with quality control and quality assurance processes in place to make sure work is carried out properly, and that the final product meets established standards. The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which incorporates the data from these QCQA processes, is a management approach that will be shared with all of UDOT, not just construction.

The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle follows these steps:

Plan – the first step is to plan how to meet the needs of our customers, both internal and external, by meeting or exceeding expectations. The plan should establish ways to measure success and establish a baseline for future comparison.

Headshot of Curt McCuiston

Curt McCuiston

Do – The next step is to carry out project activities while collecting data on customer expectations, and to observe problems that arise along with possible causes.

Check – This phase involves checking the data to observe how the plan is working by using the original baseline as a comparison.

Act – If the Check phase shows success, the work continues along the same path. If the work falls short of meeting the baseline established in the Plan phase, changes need to be made before continuing on with the project.

These methods have a proven success record throughout the public and private sectors. “The cycle that we follow is the same for all continuous improvement,” says Stewart.

No arms twisted

Stewart and McCuistion are using a soft-sell approach. UDOT is already doing good things at every level, explains Stewart. “Our goal is to simply get better, and get people in the mindset that they can control this, they can change this, and they can improve this.”

Stewart and McCuistion are starting with UDOT Project Development first. “Curt and I are starting in the UDOT Project Development realm because design and construction are our biggest hits. That’s the where the majority of the budget is spent – that’s why we’re focusing on those areas. Eventually we should be doing this in all of our functions within the DOT.”

Using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle across the department should help UDOT be more nimble and capable of meeting the changing needs of all customers.

See UDOT in 3D

UDOT is moving to an all-3D environment which includes greater use of available design capabilities and an eventual move to a full 3D project workflow.

photo of the Virgin River Arch Bridge.

A photo-realistic image: UDOT built a new bridge over the Virgin River on S.R. 9 near Hurricane to accommodate increased traffic volume. This rendered image shows the new bridge superimposed over the existing bridge, which remains in use.

Embracing a 3D workflow environment will produce some important advantages, including the use of models that can be viewed from all angles in order to assess constructability, utility clash detection models that show a full representation of underground utilities, and animations that can show the built project along with expected traffic flow.

3D models, animations and illustrations can help bridge the communication gaps that sometimes occur among specialties at UDOT, or between the agency and stakeholder groups, since complex engineering data is more easily understood when presented in 3D.

For UDOT designers, the move to 3D represents “a fine tuning of the way we design,” says Bob Peterson, UDOT Methods Engineer. “We’ll be taking our 3D design to a full completion instead of just doing a paper copy as the final output.”

A full 3D workflow

Moving to a full 3D workflow means that projects will be modeled and provided to contractors as a 3D engineered model at advertising, and contractors will return an as-built 3D model that accurately represents project outcome.

Designers at UDOT have been working in 3D for about 20 years. Currently, when projects are advertised, 2D plan sets are made available to all bidding contractors. During the advertising time frame, contractors take those 2D sets and may create their own 3D model. Once the project is awarded, the winning contractor will typically finish a 3D model or hand-enter information for Automated Machine Guidance.

Getting as-built 3D models will represent a big efficiency boost to UDOT. “Once we get to the point where we know exactly what the existing condition is, then the designers don’t have to start from scratch anymore,” explains George Lukes, Standards Design Engineer.

Challenges and strengths

Lukes is overseeing the effort to move to a full 3D workflow. He sees challenges ahead, but recognizes that UDOT has some advantages as an agency, including working with a willing and capable consulting and contracting community.

“The big deal is advertising the project with the model as the legal document,” says Lukes. “Right now the legal documents are our plan sheets, the paper copies – legally that’s what the contractor has to follow. It’s a huge challenge to give the model to the contractor and say ‘this now is the legal document,’ but I think our contractors and consultants are very willing to sit down and figure a way to make that work.”

UDOT Region Four will take on the initial challenge of delivering a 3D model as an advertising package for three projects. All three projects will use CMGC, an innovative contracting method that allows close collaboration between UDOT and a contractor in the preconstruction phase.

Collaboration with the contractor during design will help UDOT minimize risks encountered when building the project “because they know the construction risks better than we do,” says Lukes. “It’s going to give us information that we need, the contractor will be on board with us while we do it, and hopefully we’ll get a lot of good lessons learned from that too.”

Fully embracing 3D capabilities will produce comprehensive planning, construction and design solutions that will benefit UDOT and all contract partners and road users. UDOT will learn how to better minimize risk. Bidding contractors will realize a big efficiency by not having to create baseline models from scratch. The winning contractor will also have UDOT’s model to modify for construction and 3D as-builts will make subsequent design processes more efficient. The outcome will be better roads and a more efficient use of transportation funding.

For more:

See FAQs with a timeline for implementing 3D, presentations, and more at udot.utah.gov/go/3-d

Bentley software training for UDOT employees is offered regularly. For more information, contact Bob Peterson at 801-965-4041 or bobpeterson@utah.gov

Also check out this flyer.


A new GIS tool for retrieving right-of-way information is saving time and funding for UDOT.

Photo of GIS street view with colored line showing right of way data.Some of the UDOT Right of Way Division’s responsibilities include acquiring property for the expansion of the transportation system and regulating access to roadways by issuing permits. These important functions involve interaction with property owners and developers who need to know the location of a property line or the type of access granted on a roadway. Sometimes UDOT employees need answers about UDOT-owned property as well.

UDOT ROW employees respond to hundreds of complex inquiries each year. Getting answers used to be very time consuming, according to Randy Smith, UDOT Region Two Right of Way Manager. “It took about twelve hours per each request and up to 3 days to answer each question,” says Smith, because several data bases needed to be thoroughly searched.

Smith worked with UDOT Central Right of Way, UDOT Central GIS, and a team to develop a GIS tool as part of his course work for the Utah Certified Public Manager program offered to state employees.

Searching more easily

Much of the ROW data UDOT maintains is in ProjectWise, an online document storage system. Smith’s team built links that connects the map to ProjectWise documents. “The Arc Map has hyperlinks to ProjectWise and the original source data,” says Smith. Now finding answers takes minutes as opposed to hours or even days.

Called the Right of Way GIS Tool, the new process offers many advantages. It’s a “once-and-done” solution explains Smith, since inquiries are kept in the system to eliminate duplication of effort.

Smith’s team performed a cost-benefit on the system that’s quite impressive. Paying an employee to respond to an inquiry was determined to be $550 per request. UDOT Region Right of Way Two alone gets an average of 350 requests a year. The savings offered by the tool is a whopping $160,000 each year. “It’s an opportunity cost savings,” explains Smith, since employees are now freed up to work, to problem solve or improve processes.

Table showing annual savings of $161,358.75

Future benefits

The tool is only available to UDOT right now, but a tool for the public will be released in the near future. Smith suspects that the volume of questions may go down once people can find information on their own.

Other groups with information stored in ProjectWise may benefit as well. “While we developed this tool specific to right-of-way, we found that the environment is applicable to other disciplines,” Smith says.

For more stories about GIS Tools, see:

UDOT Receives National Award

Consider a Map

Pavement Marking Check-Up

Visit the UDOT Data Portal, a one stop shop for maps, apps and data.


Photo of the Award of ExcellenceA multidisciplinary team at UDOT recently received national recognition for developing the Outdoor Advertising Control Map.

The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 gave state departments of transportation the responsibility of enforcing rules governing outdoor advertising, aka billboards. UDOT has developed an online mapping system that helps the general public and UDOT staff to efficiently identify the location of all highways where outdoor advertising is controlled, and where all permitted billboards are located along these controlled highways.

In April, UDOT became one of only three states to receive a national award from the National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies for developing this innovative mapping system.

The following statewide team collaborated to bring this award winning map to life:


  • Monty King

Central ETS/GIS

  • Becky Hjelm
  • Frank Pisani

Central Right-of-Way

  • Lyle McMillian
  • Krissy Plett
  • Rod McDaniels

Project Development Administration

  • Randy Park
  • Lisa Wilson

Region Permitting Operations

  • Tommy Vigil
  • Nacey Wilson
  • Nazee Treweek
  • Mark Velasquez
  • Tony Lau
  • Rux Rowland
  • Rhett Arnell
  • Dale Stapley
  • Steve Kunzler
  • Scott Snow

Central Attorney General’s Office

  • Renee Spooner

Central Asset Management

  • Stan Burns
  • Kelli Bacon
  • Abdul Wakil
  • Peter Bigelow

Risk Management

  • Brandi Trujillo

For more information about the the map check out Show Me a Sign.

Thank you to Rod McDaniels for his help writing this post.

Access Management Rule Revision Committee Silver Barrel Award

Photo of award recipients standing as a group with Executive Director Carlos BracerasThe 2013 Access Management Rule Revision Steering Committee recently received a Silver Barrel Award. The committee assembled on short notice to completely revise and overhaul the Department’s aging Access Management Rule (Utah Administrative Code R930-6), the first comprehensive rewrite of this rule since the program’s inception in 2003.

Some of the major achievement highlights from this project include:

  • Reducing document size by 50% (from 100 to 50 pages)
  • Significantly reducing redundancies and conflicts
  • Clarifying procedures and requirements
  • Updating statutory references
  • Revising document organization
  • Converting to rule format
  • Creating a presentation version of rule

Members of the committee included:

  • Rhett Arnell – Region 4
  • Doug Basset – Region 3
  • Cali Bastow – Project Development
  • David Benard – Office of the Attorney General
  • Tim Boschert – Systems Planning and Programming
  • Mark Burns – Office of the Attorney General
  • Diego Carroll – Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Paul Egbert – Region 1
  • Todd Finlinson – Region 1
  • Hugh Hadsock – FHWA
  • Griffin Harris – Region 3
  • Jason Henley – Project Development
  • Gaye Hettrick – Project Development
  • Amanda Kirkendall – Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Tony Lau – Region 2
  • Richard Manser – Project Development
  • Rod McDaniels – Project Development
  • Lyle McMillian – Project Development
  • Teri Newell – Region 3
  • Randy Park – Project Development
  • Renee Spooner – Office of the Attorney General
  • Mark Velasquez – Region 2
  • Lisa Wilson – Project Development


Silver Barrel Award Recipients September 2012 – December 2013


For just over a year UDOT leadership has been recognizing our great employees by presenting them with a Silver Barrel Award. The following employees have been the recipients up until now and deserve our appreciation.

Operations – Motor Carrier

  • Carrie Baker
  • Tamy Scott

Operations – Traffic Management

Project Development

  • Fred Doehring

Region 1

  • Zack Andrus
  • Scott Baker
  • Dan Chappell
  • Jed Christensen
  • Audrey Drawn
  • J. Tucker Doak
  • Reggie Estes
  • Jesse Glidden
  • Gary Grant
  • Jared Jensen
  • Chris Lizotte
  • Tammy Misrasi
  • Jordan Nielsen
  • John (Peaches) Norwood
  • John Pace
  • Joseph Phillips
  • Alfred Puntasecca
  • Dirk Richards
  • Neil Sarle
  • Christopher Scribner
  • Richard Sorenson
  • Derek Smith
  • Jason Stimpson
  • Tyler Wagstaff

Region 2

Region 3

  • David L. Jean

Region 4

  • Todd Abbott
  • Ronnie Albrecht
  • Branden Anderson
  • Lisa Anderson
  • Dave Babcock
  • Dave Baird
  • Ken Ballantyne
  • Ray Bentley
  • Eric Betts (received 2 Silver Barrel Awards)
  • Mike Blotter
  • Bryan Brinkerhoff
  • Joshua Brooks
  • Robert Brown
  • Marci Brunson
  • David Bybee
  • Daryl Christensen
  • Max Conder
  • Erick Cox
  • Gaylen Dalton
  • Gale Davis
  • Shawn Davis
  • Tab Davis
  • Wesley Erickson
  • Clyde Fish
  • John Fullmer (received 2 Silver Barrel Awards)
  • Cameron Gay
  • Robert Gilson
  • Joshua Green
  • Sam Grimshaw (received 2 Silver Barrel Awards)
  • Ron Grundy
  • Eric Hansen
  • Leonard Heaps
  • Pam Higgins
  • Jacob Ibanez
  • David Johnson (received 2 Silver Barrel Awards)
  • Kerry Johnson
  • Lyle Judd
  • Karen Julander
  • Ben Kelly
  • Ronnie Krause
  • Steve Kunzler
  • Kevin Lambeth
  • Mark Laws
  • Devan Meadows
  • Josh Miller
  • Faron Mitchell
  • Lance Mooney
  • Sue Moorehead
  • Darren Mortensen
  • Kike Murdoch
  • Kade Murdock
  • Jim McConnell
  • Duwayne McCormick
  • Brian Nielson
  • Anne Ogden
  • Gary Orton
  • Kenny Orton
  • Mike Randall (received 2 Silver Barrel Awards)
  • Dave Roberts
  • Stan Roberts
  • AJ Rogers
  • Morgan Shaw
  • Layne Slack
  • Brian Sorenson
  • Jason Standage
  • Dale Stapley
  • Tim Turner
  • Marc Wood
  • Justin Woodard (received 2 Silver Barrel Awards)
  • Cindy Wright

Show Me a Sign

The new Outdoor Advertising Control Map is improving government transparency and boosting efficiency at UDOT.

Photo of a billboard on I-15 in Weber CountyThe outdoor advertising industry, UDOT Project Managers and UDOT Permit Officers represent three of the groups that are benefitting from a new online map that shows geospatial locations of billboards along interstate routes.

State governments enforce federal rules regulating billboards on some routes. Back in the 1960s, Ladybird Johnson took an interest in highway beatification and worked with congress to pass laws limiting the proliferation of billboards on freeways.

UDOT has a codified agreement with the federal government that determines how billboards are treated on federally-funded primary routes, the National Highway System and Scenic Byways. The agreement, passed in 1968, established the UDOT Outdoor Advertising Control System.

Not controlling billboards would mean UDOT’s share of federal money for roads would be reduced by tens of millions of dollars each year.

From days to minutes

Until recently, finding out when the exact location of a billboard could take a day or longer. Depending on the information needed, state employees would sometimes have to check up to three separate documents or drive to a billboard location, which could be hundreds of miles away.

Now, new GIS tools mean it’s possible to put information about billboards in the hands of anyone with online access. See the map by visiting the UDOT’s Outdoor Advertising Control Program web page or UPlan, UDOT’s Map Center.

By using the map, a few mouse clicks can produce an image of the billboard and get information about federal rules that apply – like proximity to the closest billboard. “It’s the first time we’ve been able to see billboards online in real-time and connected to our inventory control system,” says Rod McDaniels, Outdoor Advertising Control Program Manager, who worked with a multi-disciplinary team of experts to re-design the way UDOT regulates outdoor advertising signs.

Getting it together

Gathering and organizing the information involved identifying known sign locations and filling in information gaps where needed, conceptualizing and building an efficient system to regulate billboards, and building a user-friendly online, interactive map. During the process, over 5 hundred geospatial points referencing signs were updated.

Saving time and funding dollars

Putting the map online has reduced the workload for UDOT employees, which conserves funding. Formal requests for information from the public have been reduced since people in the sign industry can easily find the needed information.

Feedback from the outdoor sign industry has been positive. “It brings us into the twenty-first century,” says Krissy Plett, Statewide Permits Officer for UDOT. “Now they don’t have to send someone out to view a sign” since users can take a virtual trip to a billboard using the map.

The map helps expedite project delivery too. UDOT project managers and maintenance workers can now easily see the exact location of signs that may be impacted by road work.


See the map, a PDF tutorial, and find information about state and federal laws and rules here.

See more maps or make your own map by visiting UPlan.

Interested in government transparency? See the UDOT Projects website to get information about past, current and future UDOT projects.