GPS Trackers Used for Portable Traffic Safety Signs

How many times have you been behind the wheel and needed to change your plans to accommodate an accident, unexpected detour, or other alteration to the usual traffic pattern? It happens every day somewhere in your town or on the highway. Information about these changes and more is typically communicated to motorists via portable road signs who then use GPS navigation in their dashboards or on their phones to determine a new route.

GPS isn’t just used by the drivers in this scenario. It’s used by the sign owners as well. Typically, drivers are focused on their travel and don’t give much thought to how portable signs are installed or what they cost, but they are actually valuable items worth as much as tens of thousands of dollars each. Monitoring their whereabouts with GPS trackers is good business practice for their owners.

How much do traffic control devices cost?

There are numerous kinds of signs on the road, ranging in size, weight and complexity.  Large orange or white flat signs with arrows or words such as “FLAGGER,” “WORKERS AHEAD,” or “DETOUR” are known as placards. Available in engineer grade or high intensity versions, these are relatively low-cost. They can be purchased for a few hundred dollars or rented for a minimal weekly fee.

Lighted message boards, portable traffic lights, and radar signs require a more significant investment. A single solar-powered message board with remote access might cost up to $20,000. Price factors include:

  • power source (AC/battery/solar)
  • durability
  • remote operability
  • ease of portability

As is the case with so many things, the supply chain crisis is affecting access to many of the components of these signs. Repair or replacement can be challenging right now. 

Rather than absorb the costs and inconvenience of purchasing, owning, maintaining, and warehousing them, many municipalities opt to rent portable traffic signs from vendors who have inventory readily available. For these businesses, knowing the whereabouts of their assets at all times is critical. GPS trackers make it easy.

Do they put GPS trackers on road signs?

State of the art GPS trackers are essential tools in the kits of portable traffic sign business owners and managers. Mike Davis is the Asset and Purchasing Manager of Stay Alert Safety Services. 10 years ago, when his company had an inventory of approximately 250 portable signs, Mike says, “At the time, we were tracking all of our equipment with magnets. A job was written on a white board and a magnet was made with the asset number. We’d record a lane closure sign for this company, another rental for that company, whatever. That’s how the equipment was tracked.”

Mike and his team realized that they needed to do a better job of protecting their assets. They made inquiries of colleagues. “The technology was available, and this was what we needed to do,” he continued. “We said to ourselves, ‘Let’s look for something that can help us keep our assets safe and then we’ll know where they’re at. 

One of our sister companies was experimenting with GPS. They made a recommendation and, after some research, we decided to move forward.” Based on reputation and word of mouth, Stay Alert chose GPS Trackit to meet their needs. Now they are able to easily track over 1,100 units.

What is an advantage of GPS tracking devices?

When elaborating on his old way of tracking assets with a white board and magnets, Mike Davis says, “We had lost equipment using that system. We would tell our guys where to find a sign based on where the contractor had told us it was two days ago, and they would have to drive up and down the road looking for it. Now, they can call us or look on their app to see just where it is. Then they push ‘shortest distance’ or ‘drive to’ and it will guide them right to it. This saves us time and money.”

Are you ready to learn more? Talk to a Fleet Advisor today.

Can stolen traffic signs be tracked?

When it comes to the recovery of stolen items, GPS tracking can prove invaluable. This is as true for portable traffic signs as it is for anything else. GPS tracking has helped Mike Davis retrieve Stay Alert’s lost gear. “We’ve had things stolen and GPS tracking has helped in recovery. One time a truck was stolen, another time a trailer was stolen. Once we found a truck on a rural dirt road with the hood stripped because it had been stolen for parts. We were able to use the system to find the equipment and go get it.”

What happens once the missing asset is located? Davis says, “We meet the police out there where it is and go get it if they’ll release it. Which they usually do because they don’t want it and have nowhere to put it. Then we prosecute.” 

Of the value of GPS tracking in the process of recovering a $20,000 message board or a $50,000 truck, Davis says, “It’s all about the dollar, let’s face it. Any time somebody steals something from you and you can recover it, that’s money well spent. It’s doing a good job for us, it works, we’re happy with it.”

If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.


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