In 2007, the Federal government established minimum standards for traffic sign retroreflectivity, and compliance dates were set in order to meet these requirements. The original compliance dates were set for January 2012, 2015, and 2018. The first compliance date required that an assessment and management plan be in place prior to the deadline. The second and third dates were set to insure that signs not meeting minimum retroreflectivity standards were replaced. The January 2015 date was set to replace all regulatory, warning, and all ground mounted guide signs (except street name signs) that fail to meet the standards. The January 2018 date was to replace street name and overhead guide signs not meeting the standards. However, since the deadlines were released, amendments have been made eliminating the 2015 and 2018 compliance dates. Although they have been eliminated, it is still recommended that local governments inventory and replace all signage not meeting minimum standards in a timely manner.
The District has been working with local jurisdictions in the Jackson Urbanized Area (JUA) to develop aRegional Traffic Sign Retroreflectivity Maintenance and Management Plan. This plan was presented to the Jackson Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in November 2011 and was unanimously adopted. Each local public agency (LPA) then took the plan to their respective boards for approval and adoption. By adopting the plan, the LPA’s included in the Regional Plan met the deadline of January 2012 to have a traffic sign maintenance and management plan.
A second plan was developed for LPA’s in the CMPDD seven county area not included in the JUA to provide protection and compliance. All LPA’s in the rural areas were presented with a copy of the plan to take back to their boards for approval.
In order to help the LPA’s further, the District researched potential sign inventory management software systems, as well as sign reflectivity measuring equipment called retroreflectometers. After much research and deliberation, the District purchased ITrac Signs inventory software and Road Vista 922 retroreflectometers. These two sign inventory tools work hand-in-hand with one another, which was a contributing factor in their selection.
The Road Vista 922 not only measures sign retroreflectivity, but also has a built-in GPS system. This will make it possible to map the locations of all signs in the JUA. Once the reflectivity and GPS coordinates of the signs have been collected through the Road Vista 922, the data can then be transferred to the ITrac Signs inventory software to aid in tracking all of the signs in the JUA and insuring that they meet the minimum retroreflectivity requirements set by the Federal Highway Administration.
The ITrac Signs software is a web-based traffic sign inventory system. Each LPA that adopted the regional plan, whether it is urban or rural, has access to the software over an internet connection. Each LPA’s access to the program will be username and password protected to prevent data tampering. The software will be available 24 hours a day 7 days a week through the internet connection.
The District purchased three (3) Road Vista 922 reflectometers and extension poles. These will be loaned out to the LPA’s in the urbanized and non-urbanized areas on a monthly basis in order to allow everyone an equal opportunity to use the equipment to complete their sign inventory. District staff will be available on an as-needed basis for technical assistance concerning not only issues related to the reflectometers, but also the ITrac Signs software.