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GCN : March 2014
program, for $525,000. With the Mobile Local Roads and Bridg- es Data Collection System (mLRBCS) in place, the tablets were distributed to the 23 planning partner agencies that would be assisting with the bridge hunt. Once all the people and technology were in place, Long still had to figure out how to best locate the bridges, especially the small ones that had dropped off anything resembling an elec- tronic record. To solve that problem, Long overlaid to- pography maps with the known road net- work. Every time a road crossed a stream or a depression, another database was checked to see if there was a known bridge in that location. If not, the planning part- ners were sent out to discover what, if any- thing, was actually there. If a bridge was found, the field workers would use the tablets to record information about it, such as its overall length, the num- ber of lanes and any special particulars. The tablets were able to stream collected data back to state headquarters for record- ing, but they could also store data until a connection is available, a feature that had to be added to account for the many rural areas of Pennsylvania where bridge hunt- ers wouldn t have a wireless signal. Security on the mLRBCS system was also added. Users going into the system through the Web portal need to provide their names and passwords. Tablet users go through a token-based identification process. In the process of surveying bridges, it was discovered that some roads had also started to disappear from the state s radar. Local or privately owned roads are not the responsibility of the state Department of Transportation. Even so, the state needed to maintain a record of the roads within its borders and report that information to federal officials. For that task, the state is using a program known as the Road Con- dition Survey Application, which uses the same technology as the app for bridges. The mLRBCS app has been running for about a year and half. Because the proj- ect has not yet been completed, the cost savings to the state are not fully known. However, Long estimates that for the two mobile efforts, the Local Road and Bridges Application and the Road Con- dition Survey Application, the state has saved about $4 million. More important, the state has now identified and can prop- erly monitor the heath and condition of 4,500 rediscovered bridges and 65,000 segments of local and private roads. And with mLRBCS now solidly in place, find- ing all the lost bridges and roads of Penn- sylvania is only a matter of time. • GCN MARCH 2014 • GCN.COM 23 Go to gcn.com/tablet and download the tablet app today! GCN MOBILE. HAS GONE Your mobile gcn.com experience --- optimized. Visit gcn.com from your smartphone and enjoy the easier navigation and new sharing options