AASHTO, Mississippi DOT Partner on Software to Help States Manage Billboards

AASHTO Journal, 10 June 2016

The American Association of Highway Transportation Officials has adopted the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s software system on “Outdoor Advertising Control” for efficient management of billboards.

The two organizations formed a partnership, under which software developed in Mississippi is licensed and distributed by AASHTO to other states around the country.

capitol040116.jpgTheir announcement said MDOT developed and implemented the system that allows the agency to manage billboard locations along state-maintained roads.

Melinda McGrath, executive director of the Mississippi agency, said: “MDOT’s goal was to develop an interactive system to electronically permit, manage and research all outdoor billboards in Mississippi.”

Her agency uses its ODA system to view exact locations of billboards using global positioning system coordinates and Google Maps. The system also gives MDOT the ability to communicate and coordinate with sign owners.

And MDOT uses the system to track the status of new sign construction, to update sign locations and land owner information. The billboard owners can use it to view and verify accuracy of sign details that are recorded by MDOT in real time and to follow new sign construction progress as determined by MDOT.

In 2011, MDOT said, the Federal Highway Administration became aware of the state agency’s new software package and requested an online demonstration of it for other state DOTs that did not have such a system. In 2012, MDOT granted usage rights to the New Mexico DOT.

In 2014, MDOT entered into an agreement with AASHTO to adopt MDOT’s system and make it widely available as part of the association’s AASHTOWare national cooperative software development program.

“We very much appreciate Mississippi working with us on the Outdoor Advertising Control software,” said Jan Edwards, project director for AASHTOWare. “Mississippi built a very solid foundation that we are continuing to foster.”

Edwards also said AASHTOWare will invest as much as $900,000 in development through the end of next year “so that what Mississippi started can benefit transportation departments and taxpayers throughout the country.”

MDOT said it will continue to enhance its billboard software in Mississippi. In addition, it said that key MDOT personnel serve on an AASHTO committee overseeing the association’s software development.

“We are proud of this partnership with AASHTO,” McGrath said. “We hope that other states will benefit from the hard work of MDOT employees.”

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