Bentley gets into street signs

Feb 12, 2019 | Hot Topics

I live on a street with the popular girl’s name, Kathleen. Every so often a boy, hoping to impress a girl (likely named Kathleen), steals our street sign. I’ve often wondered how someone monitors those thefts and then causes replacements to be made — and today, I found out.

Bentley announced that it has acquired SignCAD Systems, which says it is the “#1 leader in the traffic sign industry”. What that means is that SignCAD makes software to design, make and monitor street and traffic signs, and serves 43 US state departments of transportation, as well as cities, counties, engineering firms and other entities.

It’s interesting: that Kathleen sign has to match all of the other town signs in size, shape, color, font, etc. and there’s only one street with that name in my town. And it has to match all standards for reflectivity and so on. It’s bespoke, but in a very unfancy way, and far more complicated than I realized.

SignCAD’s offering includes its SignCAD software for sign design, SignCAD/CAM for sign cutting and digital printing. That takes care of designing and making the sign — but there’s also SignTRACK, which manages the inventory of signs and solutions for marking pavement and designing and managing work zones (both of which seem overkill for my street sign problem but crucial for hanging signs and marking highways, for example).

Bentley says that it will add SignCAD’s capabilities to its OpenRoads civil design software but I can see it being used in rail and other disciplines as well.

SignCAD also sells complete hardware/software solutions to design, print and cut signs; I’ve asked Bentley whether that will continue.

According to Bentley’s Dustin Parkman, VP, civil infrastructure design engineering, Bentley has been working recently to increase the level of detail that can be modeled and simulated within OpenRoads. SignCAD adds 3D modeling of signs within the context of a roadway design, which creates a higher fidelity representation of roadway assets. And lets someone make sure there’s always another “KathleenDrive” sign on the to-make list.

Terms of the deal weren’t announced.

Note: That image isn’t of my street sign. It’s from Walmart, where you can actually buy a sign. I’m looking at you, teenage boy!