Traffic Data Collection Tip: Field Work Bins

Field work bin with all of the hardware used for data collection laid on the floor. hardware includes nails, hammers, drill, tape, padlocks, cable locks, and tube counters

Forgetting stuff. It happens all the time. Whether it be your keys, your sunglasses, or your boxed-up leftovers at a restaurant that you had already mentally told yourself would be your lunch for tomorrow, we’ve all left home (or a restaurant) and forgotten to bring something at some point.

The same thing can happen at work. Specifically, when leaving the office to go out and do field work. At Traffic Data Inc, the data collection business unit of Spack Consulting, we have forgotten to bring many things in the field over the years. Whether we are setting up road tubes and don’t bring enough accessories such as pavement nails or are setting up traffic video recorders and forgetting to bring a drill to use on hose clamps, forgetting things happens.

That is why, after more times than we would care to admit that field work days were interrupted by coming back to the office to grab something or running to a hardware store, we implemented field work bins. Our most common types of field work are putting out traffic video recorders and putting out road tube counters. So, for that reason, we made two video recorder bins and two road tube bins. Each of these large plastic tubs has all of the accessories we would need to set up a reasonable amount of either type of equipment.

Now our fieldwork team just grabs the appropriate bin and the corresponding countCAM video recorders or count PULSE road tube counters and tubes and hit the road. We have two bins for each type of field work so multiple people can be doing field set-ups or pick-ups at the same time. Each bin has enough equipment to accommodate approximately ten setups. If there is a particularly large project, both bins can be taken by the same person if needed and additional gear can be grabbed from our storage room.

Following is a list of what we keep stored in our bins.

Traffic Video Recorder Bin

  • Small, medium, and large hose clamps
  • Hose clamp lock brackets
  • Locks and keys
  • Hose clamp drill
  • Extra battery and charger for the hose clamp drill
  • Small blowtorch (for frozen locks)
  • Bolt cutters (for locks that are even more frozen)
  • A checklist making sure we have everything, including grabbing COUNTcam video recorders and poles

Road Tube Counter Bin

  • Pavement nails, concrete pins and eight-inch spikes
  • Small sledge hammer
  • Road tape and nylon straps
  • Rope loops to anchor tubes
  • Drill for pavement nails
  • Extra battery and charger for the drill (Extra batteries are kept on a charger so they are always ready for use.)
  • Locks, chains and keys
  • Small blowtorch (for frozen locks)
  • Bolt cutters (for locks that are even more frozen)
  • A checklist making sure we have everything, including grabbing tubes and countPULSE road tube counters

There is one last step we take to make sure the bins work for us. We review the bin when it comes back from the field to ensure all of the equipment is returned and the bin is ready for its next assignment. This simple process of using bins has saved us from countless hours of wasted time returning to the office for forgotten items.