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It’s True! We Have Fully Automated Feature Extraction

Access to high-quality data is essential to maintaining the integrity of your transportation assets, but ensuring your data is ready to use can be time-consuming and frustrating.  PILLAR’s proprietary automated feature extraction system (AFES™) delivers a truly automated solution. When you work with us, you’ll never have to spend countless hours formatting data, scrolling through overlapping pictures on your point cloud identifying, clicking, and linking assets. 

Fully Automated Feature Extraction

Maybe you’ve worked with a tool that promised automated extraction only to be disappointed with the results. While many companies claim to offer highly automated products, PILLAR is the only company to offer a true, fully automated feature extraction solution by employing mobile LiDAR to gather and AFES™ to process data.

Gather Data Faster

Our imagery scanning technology powers data collection at highway speeds to give you an impressive and detailed understanding at the street level. Our technology includes:

  • 360-degree spherical
  • 6 – 5MP cameras – 30MP
  • Drone aerial collection
  • Faster data collection: laser collection at posted speed limits enables the ability to scale.
  • Street-level imagery: snapshots of roadways during data collection.
  • Global view of infrastructure assets

Extract Features Instantly

We use machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computer vision to process your data as it is gathered. Our technology extracts more than 20 asset types from mobile LiDAR data, including but not limited to:

  • Signs
  • Bridge Clearances
  • Ditches
  • Guardrails
  • Mowing Acreage
  • Overhead Utilities
  • Trees
  • Striping

Your data is delivered in standard GIS formats, shape files, and geodatabases, but we’ve got system-specific formats covered too. You can easily convert data into system-specific formats through data integration and conversion. We also export data visualizations using a colorized point cloud, JPG, video files, and more so you have everything you need at your fingertips.

Contact Us Today

With fully automatic feature extraction of our mobile LiDAR, you’ll save time, money, and stress. If you’re ready to reduce cost and time up to tenfold, contact us today and set up your demonstration. 

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Virginia’s Tie to National Work Zone Awareness Week

This year, PILLAR is celebrating 20 years of ethical commitment to the well-being and safety of the public through transportation asset management.  During our two decades of work, we’ve partnered with transportation departments and roadside workers at both the state and national level and witnessed their tremendous dedication firsthand.  To celebrate PILLAR’s 20th anniversary, recognize our excellent partners, and remember those who lost their lives in work zones, PILLAR made a donation to the National Work Zone Traveling Memorial.  

The Work Zone Traveling Memorial is an integral part of the National Work Zone Awareness Week and is inscribed with more than 1,600 names of individuals who lost their lives in America’s roadside work zones.  Our donation will support memorial visits in locations all over the country and bring awareness to the importance of safety for roadside workers.

Because safety is an integral part of PILLAR’s mission, we observe National Work Zone Awareness every year.  We’re proud to partner with the national leader in work zone safety awareness, VDOT’s Bristol District.  In 1997, VDOT’s Bristol District spearheaded the country’s first Work Zone Awareness Week.  Bristol’s idea quickly gained traction and by the next year, VDOT launched a statewide campaign to encourage both employees and the public to reduce safety hazards to roadside workers.  Thanks to the hard work and dedication of leaders in Virginia’s transportation sector, a national campaign was launched just two years later in 2000. 

Virginia’s leadership toward work zone safety has made America’s work zones safer.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the number of work zone fatalities has decreased in the United States every year since 2002.

The Work Zone Traveling Memorial will stop in Virginia during National Work Zone Awareness Week April 11-15, 2022.  This year and every year, PILLAR is proud to support respect and safety in America’s roadside work zones. Please follow these 8 tips on navigating highway work zones.

8 Points to Follow When Navigating Highway Work Zones

  1. Expect the unexpected
  2. Follow the signs
  3. Don’t tailgate
  4. Don’t speed
  5. Never change lanes in a work zone
  6. Focus and minimize distractions
  7. Be patient
  8. Know before you go by dialing 511 for traffic information

For additional information on work zone safety and distracted driving please visit these links:

Virginia DMV General Distracted Driving

National Safety Council Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Drive Smart Virginia’s Distracted Driving Outreach and Education Toolkit

National Work Zone Awareness Safety Week Information

Handheld Personal Communication Devices Policy Information

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PILLAR Talk Save Lives Save Money Save Time

Early Spring is for Waterway Pipe Assessments

Out of sight, out of mind can be a costly error when it comes to your transportation assets. The health of your infrastructure is dependent on more than the condition of your visible assets. It relies on the functionality of an entire below-ground network of pipes and waterways that manage stormwater required to keep roadways safe.

The spring season is optimal to access and inventory underground systems and confined spaces due to the reduced vegetation. Known for its practical and innovative approach to data collection of above-ground assets, PILLAR leverages technology and staff expertise to make inventory and assessment of underground assets more efficient and complete.

Taking inventory

PILLAR’s Pipe Crawler robot safely and efficiently identifies pipe conditions and possible flaws. It’s portable, submersible, and can access areas, helping the operator see potential issues beyond human reach.

A complete inventory of underground assets makes digging associated with maintenance and construction safer and more efficient for municipalities and departments of transportation.

How to use the data

Once an underground assessment has been made, PILLAR can help you build out a project plan that takes pipe collection and management into account.

With pipe inventory and conditions stored in your geospatial software, you’ll be able to assess future project plans. The condition of drainage pipes and structures can help with resiliency plans, understand potential flaws in new sewer lines, and help map stormwater management.

Contact PILLAR today to find out how you can utilize the Pipe Crawler for your next project assessment.

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Meet the PILLAR Team Online and In-Person at Upcoming Events

Over the next few months, members of the PILLAR team will be on the road at various tradeshows and conferences. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn more about the company’s approach to infrastructure asset management and how it can help organizations save time, save money, and save lives.

Our unique approach merges technology with specialist expertise to maximize efforts, justify budgets, and reduce risk, thereby delivering greater sustainability and longevity of your transportation assets.

The PILLAR team would love to share more information with you. Make sure to say hello if you see us in person or online at one of these upcoming events.

If you’d like to discuss ways to save time, money, lives, and face (by preventing public outcry in the case of a disaster), contact us to schedule a meeting during one of these events at info@pillaroma.com or (276) 223-0500.

13th Annual AMOTIA Conference

Association for the Management and Operations of Transportation Infrastructure Assets
November 15-17, 2022
The Westin Sarasota
Sarasota, FL

Over 20 companies are now leading the way to advance the private sector’s role in managing transportation infrastructure assets.
https://www.amotia.org/13th-annual-conference

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Virginia State Highway Performance Ranking Leaps to #2 Nationally

The PILLAR Team congratulates the Virginia Department of Transportation for earning the nation’s #2 best highway performance ranking. Virginia operates the third-largest DOT network in the nation and handed in an impressive 19-position improvement in the 26th Annual Highway Report from the Reason Foundation.

Virginia moved up the ranks in several areas, including improving 24 positions for capital and bridge disbursements, improving 15 positions for maintenance disbursements, and improving 17 positions for urbanized area congestion.

Cost-effective Maintenance & Operations

Virginia’s highway system is considered one of the most cost-effective highway systems in the country.

“States with high ratings typically have better-than-average system conditions (good for road users) along with relatively low per-mile expenditures (good for taxpayers),” according to the Reason Foundation annual report.

PILLAR has been a trusted partner of VDOT for nearly 10 years, serving as its contractor for Statewide Maintenance Consulting Services.

“The PILLAR Team is proud to support VDOT in its continuous quest for excellence through best management practices and innovative transportation management solutions,” said PILLAR President Mark Boenke.

How PILLAR partners with VDOT

PILLAR supports VDOT in several ways, providing information that will save time, money, lives, and credibility.

A Penny Saved is A Penny Earned

PILLAR utilized its mobile LiDAR and conventional and traditional survey methods to gather dimensions on overhead signage that needed replacing in VDOT District 1. By defining accurate dimensions, PILLAR determined the existing support structure could be utilized for the new sign, saving significant time and money for VDOT.

Creating Efficiency from Field to Office

PILLAR georeferenced plan sheets to locate the position of pipes along the I-95 corridor in Caroline, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties for VODT’s Fredericksburg District Office. This enabled VDOT field personnel to easily locate pipes when performing inspections. Ultimately, saving time and money.

Environmentally Friendly Asset Management Solutions 

PILLAR helped the VDOT Staunton District save $12.9 million in mitigation projects and nitrogen-credit purchases, also earning the district the Environmental Stewardship award. The efforts allowed VDOT to reallocate money to other critical needs throughout the district.

The project used an innovative approach. It took PILLAR’s LiDAR-based mapping for mowing management and helped save the district millions annually in converting interstate rights-of-way into pollinator habitats.

What PILLAR can do for you

What sets PILLAR apart is our CAPE approach.

That’s our Collection, Assessment, Planning, and Execution (CAPE) approach that intersects technology with our expertise to tailor asset management plans for program funding, public outcry, and improved services.

We advise state agencies and provide plans that avoid potential pitfalls and save money.

“Our staff augmentation helps improve knowledge and experience to achieve a high maintenance rating program (MRP) with average scores in the low-to-mid 90s,” Boenke said.

Contact PILLAR today to get started on improving your maintenance and performance rating.

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Endangered Bat Species and LiDAR: PILLAR Technology is Mapping Conservation Efforts

PILLAR works with departments of transportation, environmental, and engineering firms to better understand the condition of infrastructure in challenging environments. LiDAR (mobile light detection and ranging) is an advanced technology that goes beyond just providing detailed maps: the data can be used to influence critical decisions to protect critical wildlife habitats.

PILLAR’s recent project at a bridge in southwestern Virginia highlights the effectiveness of LiDAR for mapping conservation efforts and managing transportation infrastructure.

LiDAR Applied to Wildlife Conservation: A Case Study

Scientists learned that the endangered gray bat and the more common big brown bat, were using this man-made structure for roosting purposes, yet engineers needed to assess the bridge’s operating conditions and schedule routine maintenance. Gray bats are listed by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and the US Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) as endangered, and upwards of 10,000 gray bats find refuge in the bridge from April through October as a maternity roosting site.

A cluster of gray bats roosting under a southwestern Virginia bridge.

The Virginia Department of Transportation along with biologists from Stantec Consulting Services, entrusted PILLAR to accurately survey the bridge with noninvasive LiDAR technology and collect data on the structure, while also preserving the bats’ habitat and wellbeing. In approximately one hour, PILLAR engineers had safely completed their survey, and biologists studied about 200 gray bats in their natural habitat.   

Experts from PILLAR teamed with biologists from Stantec to survey the bridge accurately and quickly without disrupting the roosting areas of the gray and big brown bats.

A Positive Impact

Noninvasive and accurate, PILLAR’s approach using LiDAR and its proprietary Automated Feature Extraction System (AFES) safeguards sensitive ecosystems and wildlife habitats while collecting the required data. This data then helps officials develop environmentally sensitive approaches to infrastructure maintenance planning.

Contact us at info@pillaroma.com or (276) 223-0500 to discuss PILLAR’s mobile LiDAR solutions and how next-generation asset management technology can enhance your next survey project.

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A New Tool for PILLAR Infrastructure Asset Management’s Services

For years, PILLAR has been helping municipalities and departments of transportation manage and inventory infrastructure assets like signs, guardrail footage, mowing acreage, trees, striping, ditches, sewers, overhead utilities, and more.

Now we’ve added a new tool that will enable our clients to manage, visualize and assess underground pipes, sewers and waterways safely and efficiently.

The DeepTrekker 340 L Pipe Crawler is the latest tool in PILLAR’s arsenal, adding another layer of geospatial detail that we are able to capture in addition to Mobile LiDAR and our other capabilities.

Rugged and mobile

The Pipe Crawler is a robotic, remotely guided platform submersible up to 164-feet with tether options up to over 1,300-feet. It is extremely portable, breaking down into two cases, and easily deployed and operated.

A video camera with tilt, pan, and zoom capabilities can be attached to the body of the Pipe Crawler, allowing up-close, internal inspection of pipes to assess their condition and look for potential flaws. PILLAR can integrate the data collected with your organization’s asset management database, and recorded video can be directly uploaded to the asset management software.

The Pipe Crawler runs on batteries, as does the hand-held controller, making it a truly portable option for inspecting underground pipes almost anywhere.

A safer option

With the Pipe Crawler, we can help you get places that wouldn’t be safe or accessible for humans, and we can deploy quickly in emergency situations. We can save you money because you don’t have to wait for contractors or multiple people to inspect a pipe. And we can save you time by starting data collection instantly rather than waiting for jet or pump trucks or dealing with unexpected terrain disruptions.

The Pipe Crawler is a rugged modular system that allows us to customize it for your particular application, with a variety of options for wheels, elevating arms and cameras.

Contact PILLAR today to find out how we can put the Pipe Crawler to work for you.

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Mobile LiDAR Improves Safety By Reducing Need for Work Zones

Transportation surveyors are frequently exposed to significant danger from traffic as they work to collect the asset data required to maintain, build, or repair infrastructure.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that transportation incidents accounted for 76% of roadway work zone fatal occupational injuries between 2011 and 2017. In 60% of these transportation events, the worker was struck by a vehicle in the work zone.

Clearly, roadway operations and maintenance require a safer, accurate, and efficient way to collect infrastructure asset data.

Reducing Traffic Exposure with Mobile LiDAR

A Mobile LiDAR scanning system is the efficient way to inventory transportation assets and their condition at highway speed, eliminating the need for a static work zone that impedes traffic flow as surveying staff conduct their work. Instead, Mobile LiDAR collects data from a vehicle driven at posted speed limits and creates a digital 3-D representation of existing road conditions within the right-of-way.

Mobile LiDAR scans the conditions of infrastructure assets like pavements, guardrails, mowing acreages, bridges, highway signs, and more. Mobile LiDAR takes transportation asset management to the next level, collecting massive amounts of data with speed, precision, and cost-efficiency. Complete surveys in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional survey methods and yield higher quality data for optimal operations and maintenance plans.

Advantages of Mobile LiDAR

  • Easily identify the location of all your transportation assets.
  • Gather robust data while mitigating exposure to dangerous working conditions for employees.
  • Avoid the extra cost and man-hours that come with work zones.
  • Reduced exposure to road accidents and other roadway related injuries.
  • Advanced collection methods ensure accurate asset data and rapid data extraction.
  • Integrate asset data with existing databases and workflows.

Minimize Employee Risk and Maximize Productivity With PILLAR

With advances in surveying technology, the transportation industry is investing in innovative asset management solutions to improve operational efficiencies, optimize budgets, and ensure employee safety in the field.  

As a transportation asset management firm, PILLAR houses advanced technological solutions like Mobile LiDAR, drone aerial collection, street level imagery, and geospatial inventory to locate your assets and identify their condition. Our robust approach to asset management merges technology with specialist expertise to optimize, develop, and execute tailored asset management plans to secure O&M funding and improve the service level of all infrastructure assets.

Partner with PILLAR today and discuss with our experts to figure out the best way to augment your staff safely, reduce traffic interference in your communities, and collect transportation asset data quicker and more accurately than ever before.  

Contact us at info@pillaroma.com or (276) 223-0500 to discuss our Mobile LiDAR solutions and more.

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Drive Safe, Work Safe, Save Lives

National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week is April 26 – 30

National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 26-30, is a timely reminder for motorists to stay alert for DOT and other workers. In 2020, work zone crashes and fatalities increased, despite lower traffic volumes due to COVID-19.

Distracted Driving Costs Lives

Even a small mistake by a driver or worker can be disastrous in and around a highway work zone. Highway workers are in a high-risk category, but statistically, motorists are even more at risk. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), most fatalities in work zones are motorists, not highway workers. The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse – which collects federal data – reported that in 2019, there were over 760 work zone fatal crashes that resulted in 842 deaths.

National Efforts to Increase Work Zone Safety

To combat this significant public safety issue, 48 states have banned text messaging for all drivers, while 25 states, including Virginia, prohibit all drivers from using handheld cellphones while driving. Using a handheld cell phone while driving, and especially in a work zone, can be a deadly choice.

Defensive Driving Tips for Work Zones

  1. Stay focused and alert in a work zone: DO NOT use a cell phone, change the radio, eat, apply makeup, or create a distraction from the road.
  2. Research your route. When possible, try to avoid work zones altogether and use detours when available. 
  3. Lane closures and reduced speeds are common in work zones. Slow down when entering a work zone and pay careful attention to the presence of workers and machinery.
  4. Move into an open lane as soon as possible when approaching a lane closure. Remember to pay close attention to other vehicles around you, particularly in your blind spot.
  5. Avoid trucks of all types when possible. They usually have limited visibility and cannot maneuver as well as smaller vehicles. Give them a lot of room in all driving situations.
  6. Because rear-end crashes are the most common types of collision in work zones, always maintain extra following distance between vehicles. Four seconds is the recommended following distance.
  7. Turn on your headlights, even if it is not required by law. It is good ‘driving practice’. Headlights ‘on’ is the equivalent of wearing a high visibility vest on your vehicle. This helps other drivers identify your presence.

Be Alert. Risks Abound Outside Work Zones

The risks and challenges associated with highway travel are not confined to defined work zones. There are numerous other activities on a road that can easily create impairment to safe travel, such as mowing, litter pick up, snow & ice control, law enforcement activity, animal hazard, standing water, pavement defect (i.e., pothole), etc.

While work zones are usually well marked with signage and devices, most of these other impairments offer minimal advance warning to motorists. The combination of ‘Boots on the Ground’ (that would be Pillar!), a distracted or impaired driver, failure to reduce speed or any of the other risks noted above can prove to be costly, if not deadly, if you aren’t paying attention.

When transiting work zones, remember to be patient and stay focused.

PILLAR employees and other work zone crew members across the nation diligently strive to improve our infrastructure and make the roads safer for everyone. Join PILLAR next week as we raise awareness for work zone safety.

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Transportation Asset Management: A Vital Tool In Community Resiliency Efforts

In recent years, local municipalities and the federal government have invested millions to make their cities more resilient and prepare for natural disasters, along with mitigating the imposing threats of climate change. Local and federal governments are realizing the critical role transportation infrastructure plays in assisting in disaster and climate adaption efforts and are searching for ways to increase community resilience, improve aging infrastructure, and decrease flood risks with transportation asset management.

Investing in Resilience and Sustainability

In 2017, the City of Miami passed a $400 million general obligation bond, with half of the investment funding community resilience, disaster, and climate relief efforts. This includes reducing flooding risks, mitigating rising sea levels, enhancing public safety, and improving infrastructure. As of March 2021, there are 7 on-going projects in the city to assess transportation assets and improve infrastructure.

In February 2021, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded a $1.1 million grant to the Miami Conversancy District in Dayton, Ohio to protect communities from flooding and upgrade Dayton’s levee system. The grant is matched with a $276,254 local investment, all focused on supporting key infrastructure improvements in the Miami Valley.

Challenges of Resiliency Planning and Disaster Management

From mitigating flooded roadways to effectively planning emergency routes, community resiliency plans start with a comprehensive and accurate assessment of all transportation assets, including pavement condition, stormwater management systems, bridges, tunnels, signage, medians, and guardrails—just to name a few. 

A significant challenge for most asset management and disaster prevention systems is the lack of a reliable infrastructure asset collection, leading to delays in response time. In terms of the cost to human lives and properties, delays can be hazardous for disaster management agencies. A robust asset management and analysis system is required to ensure that the asset condition is properly assessed, so accurate insights for improving the asset are found.  

With lives at stake, effective transportation asset management requires industry expertise and next generation technology to make informed decisions based on data.

PILLAR’s Mobile LiDAR collects massive amounts of data with speed, precision, and cost-efficiency. This system helps us complete surveys in a fraction of the time compared to traditional survey methods. As a result, higher quality data is collected to develop effective emergency response and community resiliency plans and secure appropriate budgets for repair and ongoing maintenance.

With Mobile LiDAR’s fully Automatic Feature Extraction System (AFES), data can be instantly extracted and integrated with existing databases – increasing efficiency, transparency, and better planning.

BE PREPARED WITH PILLAR

Municipalities across the nation are using transportation asset management data to better prepare and protect their communities against natural disasters and the imposing threats of climate change. This is where PILLAR comes in. Equipped with the best asset management experts and advanced technology, PILLAR efficiently collects transportation asset data, accurately assess asset conditions, develops, and executes asset management plans to maintain and optimize their performance against climate change and natural disasters.

As a transportation asset management firm, we help organizations save time, money, and face (by preventing public outcry in the case of a disaster). Partner with us today and help the communities that you serve be more resilient.

Contact us at info@pillaroma.com or (276) 223-0500 to discuss your asset management plans with a PILLAR expert.