Figure 4: Using mapping software, a DOT
inspector in the field can “move” a proposed
billboard so it can meet state requirements.
When a DOT is at the point of adopting software
to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of
its ODA program, selecting the best system is
definitely not a “one size fits all” proposition. Due
to wide disparity among states regarding ODA
requirements, number of affected miles, staff
and budgets, it is important to contract with a
provider that can customize the software solution
to meet each state’s specific requirements, while
offering the flexibility to adapt to changes in
regulations and meet other future needs.
A NATIONAL INVENTORY
Manpower and resources are concerns DOTs share in
conducting regular, accurate ODA inventories. Clyde
projects that less than 50 percent of states have a complete,
up-to-date inventory that includes identification of all
conforming and non-conforming signs together with a
program to expeditiously remove illegal signs. Again, it
comes back to personnel and resources dedicated to the
program. The FHWA has not required a national inventory
of ODA in a number of years, but some believe it should. In
a 2009 report to the American Association of State Highway
Transportation Officials subcommittee of the National
Transportation Research Board, findings included some less
than stellar statistics on the frequency of ODA inventories
done by state DOTs. As of 2009, nine states reported the
last inventory dating back three to 38 years. Only 15 states
reported doing an annual sign inventory.
The same software used for on-site reviews of new
applications can also be used for regular inventories. With
mobile devices and other tools, inspectors can check the
signage seen from the roadway against the web-based
system. The inspector can learn instantaneously whether a
new sign was erected according to required specifications.
Using these tools, the DOT staff can inventory ODA along
many miles of applicable highways in an efficient manner.
Unauthorized or illegal signs can be identified, and their
location and photos can be shared electronically with agency
officials for possible enforcement action, including removal.
Such information is critical in the preparation of reports
required by FHWA officials conducting what the federal
agency calls a “process review” of a state’s ODA program.
The outcome of such a review can reaffirm the state’s ongoing
compliance with ODA requirements or put a multi-million-dollar scare into a state’s transportation budget.
With fiscal austerity pressures building at all levels of
government, new technology could be the answer to taxpayers’
demands that more be done with less. In the case of complying
with HBA, fortunately there are technological solutions for state
DOTs charged with striking the balance between meeting the
needs of our consumer-based economy and maintaining the
natural wonders as seen from our national highway system.
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1958
Highway Beautification Act of 1965
Departments of Transportation: California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa,
Montana and Oregon
“Outdoor Advertising Sign Regulation Study,” 2009, submitted to the American
Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Real
Estate and Utilities, National Transportation Board.
As President and Chief Executive Officer of geoAMPS,
LLC, Yogesh is an engineer with a diverse background
in technology across various industries. With
more than 15 years of experience in database
customization and implementation, he helps
organizations implement standardized processes,
bringing efficiency and optimization within project
and asset management.
Dan is Communications and Public Relations Manager
for geoAMPS. He has an extensive background in
media/public relations in public transportation and
higher education. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree
in Journalism from Ohio University. For more
information, visit geoAMPS.com.