Charlotte County started using Cartegraph 8 (Navigator) for sign management back in 1997. They tracked work orders in the legacy system, but struggled with a lack of GIS asset data and had the sense that they weren’t using the system to its full ability.
Three years later, the department switched up their process and began building a location-based asset inventory. They’d gradually add traffic signs into the system as they were being fixed. When Hurricane Charley struck in 2004, the county entered most remaining items into the system, totaling 50,000 sign locations with 85,000 signs.
Even with location-based data, however, the system wasn’t efficient—managers found themselves sending paper work orders out with crews and trafficking data through clunky systems. They knew it was time for a different approach.
Charlotte County migrated its traffic engineering assets to Cartegraph Operations Management (OMS) in 2015. As soon as they implemented Cartegraph for iPad, crews realized they could capture traffic sign data in the field more efficiently than before. Instead of scratching notes on paper about specialty signs, they could snap a photo and attach it to the asset record.
“The one thing I really like about Cartegraph for iPad is the ease of use,” says Jason Ouimet, traffic engineering superintendent. “Before with my employees out in the field, we would have to go through Citrix. Now that it’s native on the iPad, it’s really quick and responsive—much more user-friendly. Everything is updated right away.”
Ouimet says the real-time data entry is making it easier to keep track of time, materials, and cost. “I can see how many signs we’ve worked on, how much it cost, and use that to build a budget—which saves me a ton of time. Whenever you can prove what you’re asking for, it makes it much easier to get funding.”
The newfound high-performance technology opened doors for the department to begin tracking all accidents on Charlotte County roadways. With Cartegraph, they can view an asset layer to show all relevant traffic crashes, and analyze the data from a specific intersection to see how many accidents have happened there and determine if solutions can be found to reduce potential accidents.
In one instance, county officials discussed changing a four-way intersection into a roundabout. When questions were raised about roundabout-related accidents, Ouimet quickly pulled up the data on his iPad. “It makes you look really good.”
In addition to accidents, the county is also capturing and analyzing traffic volumes in Cartegraph OMS through their traffic vehicle count stations. “We used to get calls from realtors or developers asking to get traffic counts for certain intersections—which we would have to go back and research,” said Ouimet. “Now we just pull up the location and all of the vehicle counts are at our fingertips.”
Today, the traffic department effectively maintains assets and efficiently manages work requests with the help of Cartegraph. With every task outlined on the iPads, the team eliminated an hour of information exchange every morning.
The County also appreciates the data available in Cartegraph. Thanks to improved efficiency, the department has not only doubled their income from accident payouts to $10,000 per year, but also streamlined disaster recovery and reporting. “They come in, grab their iPads, and go. They have a map in Cartegraph of where they’re supposed to be and what to do. It’s really made my life a lot easier,” says Ouimet.
"This tremendously helped with all the FEMA and FHWA requirements of thoroughly documenting all work performed during recovery."
“After weathering another hurricane—this time Hurricane Irma—we learned how valuable having a robust asset management system was. We finished repairing all the County traffic signs damaged by the hurricane well ahead of what we had envisioned. This was achieved, in part, by having a well working, field-proven system in the hands of the technicians at the time they most needed it,” says Ouimet.
“What was really nice compared to recovery efforts during Hurricane Charley, was being able to take before-and-after pictures of all repairs using Cartegraph and having these images linked to the assets,” Ouimet continues. “This tremendously helped with all the FEMA and FHWA requirements of thoroughly documenting all work performed during recovery efforts.”
“The support from Cartegraph during recovery efforts was also welcomed. Their team reached out to us and asked if there was anything that we needed from them that would help us. I asked for a custom report showing locations worked on, what work was performed as well as images, and they had this report completed and working for us in a very fast manner.”