The city of Denver is turning to RFID to improve the condition of city streets and to respond faster to dangerous road conditions. The city will initially test about 500 RFID tags in a new program to track the condition of pavement repairs made by utilities.
Denver is using a solution provided by CDO Technologies, which provided a similar offering to Dayton, Ohio. Dayton has seen savings of more than $60,000 since it deployed CDO’s RoadTag solution two years ago. The city has embedded thousands of RFID tags into city streets.
Over the next few months Denver will evaluate the technology, adjust business processes, communicate with contractors, and calculate expected savings. With approximately 8,000 street cut permits issued each year for more than 6,100 lane-miles of roadway, Denver expects RoadTag to play an important role in the city’s efforts to maintain roads and improve safety.
“We are excited about testing the RoadTag technology and being able to act on real time field-based data to address problem street cuts,” says James Barwick, Denver Public Works engineering manager. “We expect that our use of this state-of-the-art technology will result in new operational efficiencies for our staff and faster response times.”
Denver Public Works has purchased rugged RFID tags that can be programmed with specific information about a street cut — such as contractor name and permit number — and placed beneath the final layer of pavement. Typically, the tags are programmed during the permitting process with city contractors such as utilities and cable companies. When a cut defect occurs, engineers utilize CDO’s RoadTag software to access the road cut information and take immediate action.
In the case of Dayton, city officials would spend hours looking through files to determine which contractors were responsible for road failures. Many times, the contractor would deny responsibility, leaving the city liable to repair the road.
“CDO RoadTag was born two years ago in Dayton, Ohio, when city engineers there communicated a need to access real-time information regarding street cuts while they were on the road,” says Robert Zielinski, CDO Technologies director of commercial marketing. “Dayton saved $60,000 in labor that was repurposed due to efficiencies in the first year of implementation, and engineering efficiencies are now being recognized.”
Zielinski says that instead of taking hours or days to locate the firm responsible, highway workers now simply scan the pavement tag with an RFID reader are on the phone with the contractor before they even leave the site. He says that at least two dozen other cities are in various stages of evaluating the technology.
The RoadTag bundle lists for $28,500. It consists of an Alien 9650 smart antenna RFID reader, which is linked to a desktop computer to program the passive RFID tags, which have been tested to withstand high heat and the pressure of vehicles. City engineers carry Motorola MC9190 handheld readers to read the tags.