Case Study

Colorado Springs, Colorado Asset Management System Data Drives Multi-year Road Improvements Plan

With 5,688 lane miles of paved roads, Colorado Springs boasts the largest roadway infrastructure in the State of Colorado. The infrastructure is a source of pride for the City, but it also poses challenges thanks to Mother Nature. The City’s location on Colorado’s Front Range causes a continuous freeze-thaw cycle during the winter, wreaking havoc on roadways. The weather pattern, coupled with heavy traffic, leaves streets cracked and dotted with potholes.

In 2015, the City set out to make a big change, asking voters to approve a 4-year sales and use tax that would fund road maintenance. Voters agreed, and the 2C Road Improvements plan was born. Residents renewed the plan through a vote in 2019. The third renewal will be up for a vote on the November 2024 ballot.

“OpenGov and ArcGIS have been such a success story across the organization. I never thought in my wildest dreams how it would just go across the entire enterprise as it has with different departments using it.”
Andy Richter, Public Works Asset Manager

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Population
486,248

Agency Type
City

Annual Budget
USD 1,500,000,000.00

Role
Public Works

Region
West

Solution
Asset Management

Customer Results

Reduced Data-collection Time by Hundreds of Hours

Simplified Project Prioritization

Increased Transparency to the Public

Enhanced Customer Service

The Challenge

To ensure roadways didn’t deteriorate beyond repair, the City needed a comprehensive maintenance plan. The plan’s success relied on assessing the health of every mile of streets and roads. The City was tasked not only with rating the overall quality of every roadway but also the severity of 10 types of distresses.

With thousands of miles of roads, the time and effort needed to manually capture road conditions and curb and gutter system data was a high mountain to climb.

The City implemented OpenGov’s Cartegraph Asset Management system in 2005, moving away from a paper-based, manual environment. Staff knew Cartegraph would again come to the rescue. Getting the data easily and quickly was key.

“We tried to do it in-house many years ago, and we’re just so large, we can’t do it,” said Andy Richter, Public Works Asset Manager. “It would take us probably four years to do it on our own.”

The Solution

To cut detailed data capture from years to weeks, the City contracted with a data collection firm, which drove City streets, gathering street condition data using cameras and laser technology. In addition to assessing pavement, the City also opted to conduct a concrete health assessment, gathering data on curb, gutter, and sidewalk conditions.

Finally, the City is collecting data on alleys and partnered with smaller communities, including Woodland Park, to capture their data. The data will be exported into Cartegraph and ArcGIS, and be ready for use this fall.

Once projects are prioritized, their timing will be based on pavement rating, resources, other planned or current projects, and weather conditions.

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The Results

Customizable Maps with GIS Integration

Tracking infrastructure conditions would not be possible without the integration of ArcGIS and Cartegraph Asset Management. The City not only tracks its assets’ conditions and locations, along with the retired status of assets, but it also has integrated a couple dozen ArcGIS maps into Cartegraph.

Cartegraph Asset Management, a gold partner of ESRI, has bi-directional integration with ESRI, meaning data can be entered into either platform and automatically flow into the other.

Through this integration, staff can create customized maps that provide baseline data for a variety of uses. 

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Without OpenGov, analyzing road condition data would have taken hundreds of hours, which would have considerably reduced the number of road projects completed in each 2C four-year period. With OpenGov, the City centralized its data, making tremendous strides in its plan.

Since voters first approved the 2C Road Improvements plan, the City repaved 1,665 miles of road, installed 9,300 pedestrian ramps, and replaced 306 miles of curb and gutter and 3.6 million square feet of sidewalk. Claims from vehicles damaged by potholes and poor road conditions have decreased nearly 80% since 2C’s inception.

Greater Public Transparency

The City is an open book when it comes to sharing data.

“We’re on an open data portal initiative across the entire City,” Richter said. “We want to be able to share our data to be more transparent.”

For example, residents don’t have to wait for a notification to know their street is up next on the paving plan. Rather, they can visit the City’s online 2C Proposed Paving map to see whether and when Public Works projects will affect their neighborhood or their commute.

Data related to the 2C Road Improvement plan is just a small fraction of what is accessible to the public through an online portal. The City’s popular Cone Zones site lets travelers know if they’ll be slowed by lane or road closures en route to their destination. The site is updated daily.

The City also shares traffic counts and volumes and median maintenance, as well as all Public Works projects planned for the year ahead, along with their costs.

Richter says the City has opened more doors to transparency by using visualization software to create story maps.

“Dashboards are great, but you can sometimes overlook or misinterpret what it’s showing you,” he said. “With a story map, you can have a full picture.”

Better Customer Service

Easy data access is especially useful for City Council members and the Mayor’s office as they field questions from the public. The online portals help elected officials provide a high level of customer service.

“It’s more self-service to where they can actually answer ‘What is the project? How long is it going to be there? Who’s doing it? What is it costing us?’ They can look up that type of information on their own and answer questions of their constituents,” Richter said.

What’s Next

The City launched a public dashboard and story map for its Keep It Clean COS program on Earth Day 2024. The program is a citywide effort to remove trash and weeds from medians and public rights of way.

Data from OpenGov and ArcGIS, along with story visualizations, tell the story of the City’s efforts. The story map not only provides live updates on the City’s progress, it also shares information on how residents can get involved in adopting and cleaning public spaces, including area waterways.

Another feather in this program’s cap: The City partners with local non-profits to offer work opportunities to those experiencing homelessness. Since its inception, three participants have become full-time City employees, while 14 others earned temporary full-time City positions.

“OpenGov and ArcGIS have been such a success story across the organization,” Richter said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams how it would just go across the entire enterprise as it has with different departments using it. Seeing how much we depend on it and how we can take it even further each year to showcase data and how we make our decisions … with story maps and dashboards is exciting.”

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