Topeka, KS Closes Pavement Funding Gap with Capital PredictorTM
City of Topeka
- 126,808 population
- 61.5 square miles
City of Topeka’s Public Works department was tasked with using a 50-cent retail sales tax to fund a pavement renewal project, as well as improving their average Pavement Condition Index (PCI) from 55 to 60 over the next 10 years.
- They spent $0 on new data by leveraging existing pavement condition data and existing pavement work order data
- Clearly demonstrated that an annual budget of $24 million, along with treatment strategy improvements, would meet the outlined goals and preserve high-traffic streets, with only 4.7% of roads reaching end of life
- Revealed that an increase to $31 million per year budget would yield only a 3-point overall improvement in condition score
- Achieved actionable insights within eight weeks of launching their pilot
- Produced a street forecasting Esri Story Map to illustrate the decision-making process to their City Council and taxpayers
Roads are often a top priority for taxpayers. When roads are in poor condition, they negatively impact motorists, cyclists and pedestrians because they play an essential role in the overall productivity of the city.
That’s why, when the City of Topeka, Kansas informed its Public Works department that the 50-cent retail sales tax used to fund its pavement renewal projects was up for re-evaluation, in-house experts recognized the importance of proving its future financial requirements.
Adding to their challenge, Public Works was tasked with improving their average PCI (Pavement Condition Index) from 55 to 60 over the next 10 years. They were also asked to demonstrate what PCI could be achieved with an annual budget increase to $31 million.
Success through data modeling
Jason Peek, Director of Public Works, and his staff engaged Dude Solutions to better understand their long-range pavement condition and funding scenarios. Leveraging existing pavement inventory and condition data, the team used Capital Predictor to model several different funding scenarios and their resulting PCI ratings and levels of service over a 15-year time period.
Through the Capital Predictor modeling process, city leaders found:
- If the 50-cent sales tax expired, roads would rapidly deteriorate, resulting in 19.4% (304 lane miles) nearing end of life condition by 2033
- At a minimum, the city must maintain the existing funding level of $24 million in order to reach target average PCI goals
- While the $24 million achieves the target average PCI, existing treatment strategies will result in over 10% of city streets at end of life condition by 2033
- Strategic modifications to the treatment strategies modeled within Capital Predictor revealed that the PCI target could be surpassed while reducing the percentage of roads at end of life to 4.7%, all within the existing $24 million annual budget
- Lastly, the models uncovered that an annual investment of $31 million would only yield a 3-point improvement in average PCI
The team then decided to improve their treatment strategies within the same budget constraints ($24 million per year) and arrived at the optimal combination of investment and PCI. The City of Topeka’s GIS staff produced an Esri Story Map to quickly and powerfully communicate each simulation to the City Council and the public.
“The software gave us quick, actionable insights and a robust, evidence-based forecast of our future actions and spend to achieve pavement condition goals,” Jason says. “Importantly, this was done leveraging existing data, efficiently and affordably.”