Tag Archives: management

New Project: GIS Tools and Apps – Integration with Asset Management

The Minnesota Local Road Research Board recently funded a project to survey and analyze the use of Geographic Information System (GIS)-based asset management tools for city and county public works departments.


Asset management is critical for local and state government to not only track assets but also plan for maintenance of assets that will provide the greatest return on investment for the agency.  Inventorying of infrastructure assets, such as signs, culverts, roads and bridges, and tracking their location, age and condition allows agencies to predict when maintenance or replacement is necessary and allows them to plan ahead and rather than waiting for asset failure. The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications, tools and geospatial data in asset management can provide agencies with an accurate inventory of assets, cost-effective mobile tracking, and reporting tools to justify asset expenditures. 

However, GIS use for asset management is varied among local agencies within the state of Minnesota. Tools and usage depends on agency size, urban/rural location, and access to accurate and up-to-date geospatial data, making it difficult for agencies looking to integrate asset management and GIS to understand the best data processes, applications, and tools to use.  This research project will survey and analyze GIS tools and applications for existing and new technology, present local agency case studies, and make recommendations for data best practices, and cost-effective mobile technology use.  

This project, sponsored by the Local Road Research Board, will have several benefits to Minnesotans, including streamlined processes, cost-savings, and increased transparency. Local agencies will use best management practices (BMPs) and case studies to improve operations management systems and use mobile devices to track assets, identify maintenance concerns, and record work orders from the field into the database, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Leveraging the knowledge and experience of existing users and communicating the results to all the city and county engineers will expedite successful implementation, and increase efficiencies in day-to-day usage. This technology will also increase transparency by helping local agencies manage their data in a streamlined and accessible manner that can be shared.

Project Scope

Researchers from Pro-West & Associates will survey staff from local agencies in Minnesota regarding asset management strategies and share results and case studies, demonstrate mobile technology, and document their findings and recommendations. The focus will be on exploring integration of GIS tools and asset management systems, and helping local agencies implement best practices.

Utilizing GIS for asset management is expected to extend service life and improve maintenance and replacement planning for vital assets, while streamlining processes, reducing costs, and increasing transparency.

Watch for new developments on this project.  Other Minnesota research can be found at MnDOT.gov/research.

The 411 on Sign Management

A revised handbook offers Minnesota cities and counties the latest tips on how to meet new sign retroreflectivity requirements, as well as the 411 on sign maintenance and management – everything from knowing when it’s time to remove a sign to creating a budget for sign replacement.

The best practices guide – produced in conjunction with a new sign retroreflectivity study – also offers case studies from around the state.

“The life cycle of traffic signs, from installation to replacement, is a pretty complex issue and it can be a challenge to get your arms around,” said Tim Plath, Transportation Operations Engineer for the city of Eagan. “This handbook really boils it down into some basic concepts and also gives you the resources to dig deeper if necessary. It’s a good resource to have at your fingertips.”


This handbook updates a previous version issued in 2010, to include new FHWA  retroreflectivity and maintenance and management requirements and deadlines.

“Maintenance/management of a large number of signs can potentially be an administrative and financial challenge for many local road authorities,” explained Sulmaan Khan, MnDOT Assistant Project Development Engineer.

Here’s a video demonstration of a sign life reflectometer (the Gamma 922), another resource MnDOT has available for local government agencies. Cities, townships or counties may borrow the reflectomer by contacting the Office of Materials and Road Research, (651) 366-5508.

Related Resources

Traffic Sign Maintenance/Management Handbook (PDF)

Traffic Sign Life Expectancy – Technical Summary (PDF) and Final Report (PDF)

Gamma 922 demonstration (video)