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Automating A Highway Sign Inventory with Mobile Lidar

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In the spring of 2018, TREKK Design Group, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, documented signs along 94 interstate miles and 41 miles of ramps and cross streets using mobile LiDAR with the use of semi-automated sign identification methods coupled with HD images for FHWA/MUTCD compliance. The sign inventory documented the location, reference point (mile station), survey date, designation (MUTCD Code), type (flat or reinforced Panel), description, size, post type and spacing, height from roadway, distance from roadway and shoulder width.

“GIS has been an excellent tool to check the data in the inventory we are creating with developing semi-automated processing,” explained TREKK Transportation Engineer, Allison Bruner. “Because everything is geo-linked, GIS allows us to look at the data fields, location, and nearest collected photo to verify that the software classified the sign correctly.”

Since 2002, TREKK has been helping clients inventory their assets, determine their current condition, identify failure modes, rate risk levels, prioritize and establish maintenance plans and develop long-term funding strategies through GIS. A more complete data base with mobile LiDAR capture leads to efficient municipal and government spending and accountability with a safer workflow.

“It’s exciting to see how machine learning technology, when partnered with LiDAR, can expedite inventory processes,“ said TREKK Project Coordinator Kristen Wenzel, who is responsible for GIS quality control and analysis. We have been able to extract and process 5177 signs with information pertaining to each sign, as well as a 360-degree photo attachment that will help the client plan sign removals, anticipate monetary budget, and develop a systematic approach to inventory the sign.”

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