Utah Finds Unexpected Benefits from Statewide Road Data Project

Government Technology: How many stop signs do you pass on your way to work? How long is each guardrail on your local highway? Most people don’t know, but Utah, however, is able to figure out the answers.

Thanks to a program initiated in 2011 to begin surveys of state-owned roadways using light detection and ranging (lidar), the state now has a comprehensive list of all major roadway assets. Lidar uses 40 sensors strapped to a vehicle to collect 2,000 points of data per second, creating a visual representation of the streets. “It is a lot of data fast and furious,” said Utah CIO Mike Hussey. Lidar provides data sets in the form of a collection of points or point clouds that record the location and condition of everything within the instrument’s field of view.

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