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Return to: 2002 Feature Stories


Jan. 21, 2002: Public Works.com



The City of Cypress, CA, population 49,000, is about 30 miles south of Los Angeles. According to Cypress Assistant City Engineer Kamran Dadbeh, the City retained Berryman & Henigar to complete an arterial and collector pavement inventory and condition assessment that would comply with Orange County, CA 'Measure M' standards.

Measure M requires each city in the County to complete an arterial and collector pavement condition survey and report that indicates how the pavement network is performing. A standard pavement condition index (PCI) has been adopted by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) that defines a failed pavement section as a "0" PCI; a new street or reconstruction is shown as a "100" PCI. The project comprised assessing and updating the city's Pavement Management System (PMS) and converting data into a newer PMS software system - CartéGraph's PAVEMENTview Plus.

By building on the success of the first project, the firm recently completed a residential condition survey and conducted a condition assessment of all residential sidewalks, curbs and gutters. A principal task was collecting the standard pavement condition data for 94 centerline miles of residential streets and more than 200 miles of residential right-of-way (ROW) data and deficiencies (sidewalk/curb & gutter).

Dadbeh said the City Council placed a high priority on completing and implementing the results/recommendations of the residential condition survey because a citywide citizens' satisfaction survey indicated this issue was of paramount concern to residents.


A five-person Berryman & Henigar field crew used an innovative approach in collecting the requisite data, utilizing personal digital assistants (Pocket PC) -- Compaq Ipaq's with Windows Visual CE database functionality. In-house staff developed pavement condition survey forms on the Ipaq's to eliminate having to collect pavement data on paper or laptops. By using this methodology, a cost savings of approximately $5,000 or 15 percent of the project total was realized. This is a result of eliminating data entry from the process where instead, each field technician downloads his/her data into the CartéGraph PAVEMENTview Plus software on a daily basis.

Using the Pocket PC has resulted in a number of tangible benefits and advantages for Cypress:

  • Reduces the number of hours needed to compile data: Not only in field collection, but for data entry too. This translated into cost savings for both the City and the consulting firm. Without handhelds, the two-month project would have taken an additional three weeks plus one extra person.
  • Versatility: Laptops are more cumbersome, heavier and aren't practical for field personnel. The Ipaq units are lighter, easy to read and entering data is fast and easy. It synchs easily with basic access programs - asset management software programs like MicroPaver, CartéGraph and any large-scale maintenance management software program that's based on Oracle or SQL.
  • Quality Control: The collected data was downloaded electronically every day, which enabled quality control managers to instantly perform quality control functions more efficiently at day's end because they could quickly assess the electronic data. Rather than flipping through paper survey forms sheet by sheet or printing out reports, staff could instantly review the data by synching the Ipaq to a base station. In addition, each individual record was date/time stamped providing a detailed record that can be used for various liability issues.
  • Project Coordination: Peter Bucknam, project manager for Berryman & Henigar, said, "with the elimination of data entry from our process, we are able to streamline our quality control to only the review and assessment of one set of data. We don't have to allocate time and resources to review the field technicians and data entry person's work. As projects accumulate and workloads increase, having accrued additional staff time is priceless using this process."

With the Ipaq essentially acting as a mobile office for each project technician, communications and the costs savings previously mentioned are helping Berryman & Henigar improve the City's in-house technologies, e.g., linking project data to GIS software for Ipaq's such as Arc PAD from ESRI and wireless communications.


Cypress now has a sophisticated PMS in place that also meets current GASB-34 requirements, fast-tracked by using the Ipaq's. Dadbeh said if funding is available, the City may consider purchasing handhelds in the near future so they can immediately view key infrastructure information gleaned from the data compiled by Berryman & Henigar. The condition survey findings along with corresponding recommendations for implementing a cost-effective maintenance program now provide the City with information on:

  • Current pavement conditions shown in tabular and graphical format for all road classes and surface types.
  • Condition assessments for all residential sidewalks and C&G assisting Public Works and City Council in identifying priority maintenance area in the City.
  • Projected annual repair/rehabilitation programs for street maintenance on all streets for a five-year period.
  • Project schedules and associated budgets (adjusted for inflation within the software based on user selected inflation factors) for the entire network, as well as each street segment, for each fiscal year over the given period of time (typically 5-7 years).
  • Priority projects that should be scheduled for immediate maintenance, based on user-defined priorities and existing conditions.
  • An analysis that allows the City to measure and understand the impact on and cost of deferred maintenance for the City street network (showing existing backlog of maintenance).
  • Review and development of recommended funding programs for street related improvements.
  • Net worth of the existing system, replacement cost, and the rate of deterioration of the street network in dollars per year.

Return to: 2002 Feature Stories