Roads Assessment Case Study: City of Kenora

Posted: April 25, 2018
Tagged As: Municipal Infrastructure, Roads Assessment, Testimonial

The LAS Road Assessment Service launched in April of 2017, and ended up completing six projects in its first year. The City of Kenora was among the first, contracting program partner StreetScan to survey 216 lane kilometers of road and turn that data into a useful pavement management solution. They added the Enhanced Visualization Package, which includes front facing video and stitched together high definition road imagery.
Image of Kenora roads on StreetScan's PaveMON software.

On the Kenora side Jeff Hawley, Manager of Operations and Infrastructure, led the project. He generously agreed to share his experiences with others who may be considering this service.  

Image of Kenora roads Video created by StreetScan's van.1. What problems were you hoping to solve with this program?
Until using StreetScan, our PCI was done by two staff people driving our roads and subjectively estimating the condition.  StreetScan provided us with an ability to move away from subjective data to more scientific and reliable data.
How did it work out? 
The data we received had some similarity to our past data, bad roads were obviously still bad roads, but several were better than expected.  Most importantly to us was the ability to visually see what StreetScan saw while doing the inspection.  This allows us to quickly confirm in our own minds what the StreetScan data is saying.
2. Who uses the information?
Essentially, the Roads Division and the Engineering Division are the primary users.  However, this information is input into our Asset Management Plan (AMP), which in turn is used for decision making by the Treasurer, Senior Leadership Team, CAO, and ultimately Council.  We also view this improved data as a vital part of our AMP as relates to future funding opportunities.  In the initial stages of developing our AMP, not unlike many communities, we utilized straight line linear regression to determine the condition of our assets.  StreetScan allows us to move away from this estimated condition data to scientifically measured, real world, current condition indices to assess our infrastructure.  In turn, we expect this will reflect favourably on us when we are applying for future grants and other funding opportunities.
3. Were there any unexpected benefits?   
The versatility of the software package offered by StreetScan and the level of support they provide in working with us to analyse our data was a pleasant surprise.  As noted, the data captured includes images from each of the routes traveled.  The software package then stitches these images together so that you can watch what is essentially a movie of the path traveled by the vehicle.  If you hover over a section of road, the PCI for that specific spot pops up, as does the image taken.  You can also review the images in a movie for an entire segment of road, or for all of the segments of a road.  This allows you to quickly verify the data and condition index provided by the instruments on the StreetScan vehicle.  We found this to be very useful in developing our trust in the information provided and in making specific decisions on work to be done.
4. Did the results surprise you?  
As noted, some roads did come in rated higher than expected but there were also a few that came in lower than expected.
Did you make any changes to your road maintenance plans for 2018? 
I wouldn’t say it made huge sweeping changes, but it definitely did shift our focus in some areas.  Most importantly it provided us with greater certainty in the decisions we were making.
5. Is there anything else you would like to say for the case study?  
Just that we were very thankful to qualify for the FCM funding that allowed us to pursue this project.  While we will now set money aside for StreetScan to return in future years, it is unlikely we would have made this initial step had it not been for FCM and the funding they provided.
At LAS we’re proud to offer programs that provide value to our partners, and we’re very pleased with how the Road Assessment Service has been received by the six municipalities that signed on in 2017. We’ve received feedback from other municipalities that program exceeded their expectations, and the data provided confirmations for the decisions they needed to make.

Summer 2018 is looking to be busy, particularly with the expansion into sidewalk assessments. 20+ municipalities have already signed on, and all that have applied for and heard back from FCM have been successful in receiving funding. The six municipalities who participated in 2017 received more than $225,000.   

To learn more about Kenora’s experience please be sure to attend our presentation at the Northwesterrn Ontario Municipal Association conference held in Kenora from May 2-4. For more information on having your roads and sidewalks assessed in 2018, please contact Tanner.

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