PITTSBURGH, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael Baker International, a global leader in engineering, planning and consulting services, recently completed a nearly $7-million project for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to collect data from more than 8,600 traffic signals across the state. During the course of one year, the Michael Baker team—working with PennDOT's Traffic Signal Asset Management System (TSAMS)—collected nearly 20 million data fields for each of the 8,623 traffic signals analyzed, which populated a centralized database to support PennDOT's future planning, design, maintenance and operational decision making.
With the passage of Pennsylvania Act 89 in 2013—a comprehensive piece of state transportation legislation that calls for an additional $2.4-billion funding over five years—PennDOT identified traffic signals as an area of necessary investment. PennDOT established the Green Light-Go (GLG) Program to manage the dedicated traffic signal funding and corresponding maintenance and operations projects. A byproduct this program was implementation of TSAMS, for which Michael Baker led the data collection through coordination with the PennDOT Central Office and each of their eleven Engineering Districts. " Pennsylvania is unique in that its traffic signals are owned and maintained by Commonwealth municipalities and not PennDOT, which has resulted in varying standards of maintenance and operation care from municipality-to-municipality," said Steve Barber, vice president and Harrisburg office executive for Michael Baker International. "Michael Baker International was tasked with populating an easily digestible database of state-owned traffic signals to ensure consistency across the board to help accurately evaluate equipment, life cycles, budgets and other factors." To efficiently collect the necessary data, the Michael Baker team employed its cutting-edge mobile Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology. Michael Baker's fleet of LiDAR-equipped vehicles survey an area by measuring the distance to a target by illuminating it with two laser lights - each which can measure up to 600,000 points per second with a total maximum measurement frequency of 1,200,000 points per second. The firm's LiDAR equipped vans safely collected all visible assets to minimize traffic disruption and prevented technicians from working in traffic lanes. Since all LiDAR data was collected at the intersections, PennDOT can now review data on other non-signal infrastructure assets at the intersections.