The GIS in Transportation team publishes quarterly newsletters to share information about significant geospatial transportation news, events, and applications. Each issue highlights a specific transportation agency's application of GIS or geospatial data and technology.

FHWA encourages planners at State Departments of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and other transportation agencies to take advantage of these resources. The GIS applications described in the newsletters can also be found on the GIS Practices page.

Edition Article Editorial

Winter 2024


Spotlight: Collecting Field Data: A Better Way

Kimberly Zeer, the GIS and Transportation Data Manager for the South Dakota Department of transportation (SDDOT) writes about a better method to gather, store, and analyze railroad crossing data, using Collector for ArcGIS and Field Maps.

Feature: CDOT’s Mobile Development Program: Field Applications for Asset and Environmental Data Collection

Roberta Avila, the GIS Applications & Data Services Unit Manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) describes how asset data collection is being addressed by the Division of Management Operations asset group and the Division of Transportation Development as the Information Technology support group. They had a need to automate and integrate asset data collection to become more efficient, which has been accomplished using ESRI mobile applications.

Spring 2023


Spotlight: Equity in Transportation

William Swiatek talks about the Wilmington Area Planning Council’s efforts in building a robust transportation equity initiative.

Feature: Equity in Transportation at Corpus Christi MPO

Craig T. Casper shares his MPO’s work in producing a single Community Profile document and a two-part discrimination analysis process with the help of GIS.

Winter 2023


Spotlight: Linear Referencing Systems

The GIS in Transportation team coordinated with the North Carolina Department of Information Technology - Transportation to summarize their work with Linear Referencing Systems (LRS) through ArcGIS Roads and Highways. They work closely with Arizona DOT and other States through the Roads and Highways User Group to benefit from the use of GIS-based LRS tools.

Feature: National Road Network Webinar Summary

Justin Clarke, Transportation Specialist, and Thomas Roff, Transportation Specialist, of FHWA, presented on FHWA efforts to develop a National Road Network Project (NRNP). As defined by Congress, NRNP incorporates requirements and a process framework to improve the quality of the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) road network.

February 2022


Supply Chain Resilience and GIS Analysis

Suchi Gopal, a Professor at Boston University and Joshua Pitts the CTO of ESG Analytics AI write about ways to improve resilience through the application of GIS.

Translating Real-Time Data Streams into Location Intelligence

Nell Conti, GIS Section Manager at the Colorado DOT shares experiences with the CDOT Real Time Data Hub, a source for geospatial data and the impacts it has had on decision-makers.

May 2021


Spotlight: Upcoming Case Study Reports from FHWA’s GIS in Transportation Program

The GIS in Transportation team is developing two case study reports on crowdsourced data and asset and performance management. This spotlight provides a preview of the reports, which will both be available later this year.

Field Data Collection for Damage Assessment

Sarah Linn, Maintenance GIS Coordinator at the Vermont Agency of Transportation, describes how the Vermont Agency of Transportation created a mobile application to assess damage to roadway infrastructure following a storm event.

Fall 2020


Creating the Michigan DOT COVID-19 Hub

This article describes the Michigan Department of Transportation’s efforts to create a COVID-19 Hub to provide up-to-date information to State agencies and the traveling public.

COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery: A Geospatial Approach

Amy Nelson of U.S. DOT presents several geospatial datasets that can assist in planning for vaccine delivery.

July 2020


Data Portals for Emergency Management

In this interview, John Farley and Marc Clifford of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology—Transportation share their experience creating storm data portals to prepare for and respond to major hurricanes.

The Future of Transportation is Data

Robert O. Vos, a professor at the University of Southern California, describes emerging trends in geospatial transportation data and the implications for transportation agencies.

May 2020


The Road to a National Routable Network

This article by Mark Sarmiento of FHWA’s Office of Planning traces the development of national routable road networks at FHWA from the early 1990s to the present day.

November 2019


Tennessee LiDAR Program

This article by Dennis Pederson, Director of GIS Services at the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, describes the process Tennessee went through to work with the United States Geological Survey and advance a goal of statewide LiDAR data collection.

TDOT’s Story: Collaborating on the 3DEP Initiative

This article by Kim McDonough, Senior IT Manager in TDOT’s GIS Information Technology Department, discusses the benefits of collaborating with the State of Tennessee on a LiDAR data collection project.

August 2019


A GIS Tool For All

This article by Andrew Breck, Environmental Protection Specialist at the U.S. DOT Volpe National Transportation Center, describes a Tableau-based tool designed to allow transportation agencies to integrate social equity considerations into transportation planning and operations. The article includes access to this tool online.

Using GIS to Examine Social Equity Impacts in Transportation Systems

This editorial by Dr. Alex Karner, Assistant Professor of Community and Regional Planning at The University of Texas at Austin, discusses the impact of using GIS tools for equity analysis in transportation, and the importance of using triangulation and mixed methods analysis to understand the full equity implications of transportation decision making.

Equity Analysis and TIP Creation from the MPO Perspective

This editorial by Joseph Mueller, Senior Transportation Planner at St. Cloud APO, discusses spatial analysis techniques used in the creation of St. Cloud APO’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

November 2018


Hurricane Maria: A Challenge for GIS and Transportation

This article by Miguel Martinez-Yordan, the GIS Administrator and FEMA GIS Liaison for Puerto Rico DOT, describes post-hurricane uses of GIS, and lessons learned through coping with the storm using mapping technology for rescues, supply distribution, and repair efforts.

The Internet of Things (IoT) for GIS in Transportation

This editorial by Suchi Gopal, professor at Boston University, discusses the changing technological advancements which will impact spatial data sets and tools in the future.

August 2018


A Grassroots Effort:
MIT Mapathon aid to Puerto Rico post Hurricane Maria

This article by Lily Bui, PhD candidate at MIT, illustrates how MIT students crowdsourced mapping skills to aid Puerto Rico recovery efforts post Hurricane Maria.

Get Healthy with CMM

This editorial by Paul Giroux, MS in GIS, explains how to use Capability Maturity Modules (CMMs) to gauge agency GIS skills and make plans for improvements.

July 2018


DDOT Using Centerlines for Safety and Beyond

This article by James Graham, GIS and Applications Manager at District Department of Transportation (DDOT), illustrates how DDOT is leveraging LRS and MIRE data.

Bird’s-eye Views to Birding: Pairing Remote Collaboration with Field Work to Design Better Tools

This editorial by Anders Kosnett, Operations Research Analyst at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, explains how the Fish and Wildlife Service collaborate on inputting data via a web app and ground-truth that data with field observations.

Fall 2017


SDDOT’s Top 3 Reasons for a Migration to Microsoft SQL 2014

This article by Kimberly Zerr, GIS Coordinator at South Dakota DOT, provides readers with her top three reasons to upgrade your database software to Microsoft SQL 2014.

Research Grant Helps Intermountain West Prepare for Success

This editorial by the mayor of Buckeye, Arizona, and Chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments, Jackie Meck, explains the ways in which Mayor Meck was able to leverage a research grant to better serve the Intermountain West region.

Summer 2017


Geospatial Data and Tools for Assessing Current & Future Flood Risk in Florida

This article by Crystal Goodison, Associate Director and Associate Scholar at the GeoPlan Center of University of Florida, illustrates the work done in conjunction with Florida DOT on using GIS technology to assess risks to transportation infrastructure due to sea-level rise.

INDOT Damage to State Property

This editorial by Joel Bump, MIS Director at Indiana Department of Transportation, on a system using Indiana DOT’s data warehouse to track damage to transportation infrastructure due to automobile crashes.

Spring 2017


Using Aerial LiDAR Technology to Update Highway Feature Inventory

This interview of Jason Richins, Research Project Manager for Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) focuses on UDOT’s use of mobile LiDAR and airborne mapping to provide effective information about road assets.

GeoWomen Invites Your Participation

This editorial by Molly Schar, Executive Director of National States Geographic Information Council speaks the formation of GeoWomen and their goal of creating a national network of GIS women’s groups, including local user groups as well as social media-based groups.

Winter 2016-2017


Open Data Portal: Databases, Policy, and a New Technology

This article by Eric Abrams reviews Iowa Department of Transportation’s process for developing their open data portal, beginning with the development of foundational databases, to policy changes and, ultimately, the development the current portal.

Datasharing with Waze

MaineDOT illustrates the ways in which they leverage data from the Waze Connected Citizens program to keep travel corridors moving.

Fall 2016


Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission’s Open Map Portal Initiative

The FHWA GIS in Transportation Program interviews two of the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission’s Planning Specialists, Nick Kroncke and Malcolm Meyer, on one of their GIS initiatives: the Open Map Portal.

Addressing GIS Needs for Public Agencies: Looking Ahead for the GIS in Transportation Program

The FHWA discusses the benefits of maintaining open communication with GIS specialists across public agencies as well as other ways in which information pertinent to state DOTs and MPOs can be shared.

Spring 2016


A New GIS User Group: The Geospatial Online Transportation User Group (GOTUG)

The Geospatial Online Transportation User Group (GOTUG), created in September of 2015, describes its background, goals, and accomplishments so far.

Using GIS to Map the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) at the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB)

The MATPB discusses how the Planning Board TIP development evolved from pen plotter maps to detailed interactive web applications and the continuing effort to automate tools to incorporate GIS data into the scoring process of TIP projects.

Winter 2015-2016


Using ROIs to Implement GIS Technologies

Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) discusses the utilization of a new GIS software and its validation through a Return on Investment (ROI) study.

Regional Coordination: Creating Connections and a Common Vision with GIS

The Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS) explains how the association has used GIS to develop a regional plan through engaging local stakeholders and developing a regional data center.

August 2015


Solving Clean Water Act Requirements by Leveraging the ArcGIS Online Platform

John Olenik and Robbie Prezioso of Virginia DOT discuss VDOT's development of a custom, cloud-based field data solution to support VDOT's stormwater runoff responsibilities.

GIS and Transportation Asset Management

Frances D. Harrison, Spy Pond Partners, LLC, and Connie Gurchiek, Transcend Spatial Solutions, discuss findings from NCHRP Report 800 and the top practices in implementing GIS-based asset management.

March 2015


Long-Range Transportation Plan for the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization: Interactive Web Mapping Tools for Needs Assessment

Mary McShane of the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) describes CTPS' development of an interactive web mapping tool to support the Boston Region MPO's latest Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).

A Retrospective Look at Tools & Technology

Thomas Martin, Minnesota DOT, examines how geospatial tools can maintain relevance over time as technology and requirements change.

January 2015


Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Snow Routes and Planning Process with GIS

Sandra Tosca, P.E., of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) describes PennDOT's GIS-based Snow Route Planning Application and how the agency is using the application to assess its winter operation policies and practices.

Emergency Response in Larimer County, CO: Rapid Development When Disaster Hits

Will Allender and Drew Davis of Larimer County, CO, discuss the process and implications of developing a public-facing website in under 5 hours when flooding hit the region in 2013.

Spring 2014


Illinois' Department of Transportation Automated Over-Dimension and Oversize Permit System

Geno Koehler and Jim Conlon of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) describe their Illinois Transportation Automated Permit (ITAP), a web-enabled over-dimension and overweight permitting system. In addition, Gary Baker of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center considers how the transportation field can realize the full potential of GIS technologies.

Revolutionizing Transportation: Realizing the Full Potential of GIS

Gary Baker of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center considers how the transportation field can realize the full potential of GIS technologies.

Winter 2014


Washington DOT's Community Planning Portal

Kyle Miller and Julie Fogde of the Washington Department of Transportation (WDOT) discuss their agency's Community Planning Portal, a browser-based, interactive web mapping application that makes state transportation data available to local agencies.

Nevada Department of Transportation's (NDOT) Planning and Needs System

Rebecca Kapuler of the Nevada Department of Transportation highlights the agency's development of a new project tracking database called Planning and Needs System (PLANS), which will allow more efficient planning and report on transportation projects.

Fall 2013


Baton Rouge, Louisiana Road Network Management

Warren Kron, GISP, and Justin Priola, GISP, of the City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge (City-Parish), LA, describe the conversion of the City-Parish's GIS road network to a linear referencing system (LRS).

Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Roadway Information Database

Charles Fay of the Transportation Research Board, and Omar Smadi of the Iowa State University, highlight the importance of using GIS as a tool to integrate, analyze, and visualize data from the second Strategic Highway Research Program naturalistic driving study.

Summer 2013


Iowa DOT's Tablet Asset Data Collection

Shawn Blaesing-Thompson, GISP of the Iowa Department of Transportation (IA DOT) discusses IA DOT maintenance and construction staff's ongoing transition to the use of tablet computers to improve asset data collection and management, and the related initiatives this effort has inspired.

GIS Supports Road Roughness Research

Michelle Barnes and Steve Karamihas of the Engineering Systems Group at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute highlight the importance of GIS in supporting road roughness research.

Spring 2013


Wisconsin DOT's Use of Statewide Crash Mapping Capabilities

Xiao Qin, Ph.D., PE, of South Dakota State University, and Kelly Schieldt of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) describe their use of the Crash-Mapping Automation Tool (C-MAT) and the Wisconsin Information System for Local Roads (WISLR) to develop a statewide crash map.

Optimization of Police Presence Using An Automated GIS Tool

Allen Parrish, PhD, of University of Alabama, and Dana Steil, PhD, of Harding University discuss the use of algorithms to position police resources in order to reduce automobile injury and fatal crashes.

Winter 2013


Oregon DOT's Work Zone Traffic Analysis Tool

Eric Leaming and Brett Juul of Oregon DOT (ODOT), and Robert Kirkman of HDR, Inc. discuss how upgrading ODOT's Excel-based Work Zone Traffic Analysis (WZTA) tool to a GIS-focused, web-based tool has delivered long-term organizational benefits.

The Cloud Revolution

Ryan Buck of the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) examines how cloud technologies are revolutionizing the data creation and sharing process.

Fall 2012


The National Park Service's (NPS) Park Transportation Investment Needs Analysis (PaTINA)

Nell Conti of the National Park Service (NPS) Denver Service Center Planning Division describes the NPS's PaTINA, a spatial analysis approach for national park long-range transportation planning.

The Addition of GIS Improves Traffic Modeling

Eric Leaming of Oregon DOT (ODOT) highlights the benefits of adding GIS and web-based capabilities to the agency's Work Zone Traffic Analysis tool.

Summer 2012


Maryland State Highway Administration's Environmental Planning GIS Tools

Charlie Gischlar of Maryland State Highway Administration discusses the GIS-based Environmental Planning GIS Tools that the agency is jointly promoting with Texas DOT.

Adopting Appropriate GIS/IT Technologies for GIS-T Integration

Jake Payne of Utah DOT (UDOT) considers UDOT's valuable lessons learned related to implementing GIS technologies.

Spring 2012


Ohio DOT's Asset Management GIS Tools

Andrew Williams of Ohio DOT (ODOT) explains ODOT's use of several geospatial tools to support asset management.

A Better Tool for Managing Infrastructure

Staff from Dewberry, a consulting firm, discuss using GIS to support infrastructure management.

Winter 2012


Michigan DOT's Lane Mile Inventory

Cory Johnson and Kevin McKnight of Michigan DOT (MDOT) explain MDOT's development of a GIS-centric Lane Mile Inventory to collect and maintain MDOT's lane mile assets.

A GIS-Based Road Vulnerability Index (RVI)

Greg Ferrara and Jeremy Scott of the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at North Carolina State University highlight the benefits of a using a GIS-Based Road Vulnerability Index.

Fall 2011


National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Transportation Secure Data Center

Jeff Gonder and Evan Burton of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Center for Transportation Technologies and Systems discuss their development of the Transportation Secure Data Center (TSDC) to securely archive and access detailed transportation data.

Using GIS to Identify Location Efficient Neighborhoods

Albert Benedict at the Center for Neighborhood Technology explains how GIS can be used to identify “location efficient” neighborhoods.

Summer 2011


New Jersey DOT's Traffic Monitoring System

Chris Zajac of New Jersey DOT (NJDOT), and Bud Luo, Ph.D. and James Yeager, P.E., PTP, both of Michael Baker Jr., Inc., discuss the development of NJDOT's Traffic Monitoring System, which helps NJDOT and system users to monitor and manage traffic conditions.

How Enterprise-Wide Asset Management Helped Allegheny County Improve its Transportation Network

Craig Schorling of the Transmap Corporation examines how enterprise-wide asset management helped Allegheny County improve its transportation network.

Spring 2011


Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Billboard Application

Andrew McKinney, Chris Lambert, and Will Holmes of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) focus on KYTC's development of a mobile billboard application.

The GIS for Strategic Asset Management (GSAM) Group

Shawn Blaesing-Thompson of Iowa DOT and Fred Judson of Ohio DOT discuss the GIS for Strategic Asset Management (GSAM) Group, a collaborative discussion and idea-sharing forum that addresses the use of GIS for asset management.

Winter 2011


Buncombe County's (North Carolina) Multi-Hazard Risk Tool

Todd Pierce, a Research Scientist at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, writes about RENCI's development of Buncombe County's Multi-Hazard Risk Tool, an online mapping and reporting application.

Editorial from Ed Arabas, Senior Operations and Policy Analyst, State of Oregon Department of Administrative Services

Ed Arabas suggests that agencies work together across boundaries to simplify data storage and access issues associated with image acquisition and use.

Fall 2010


Appalachian Regional Commission's Appalachian Development Highway System

Jason Wang of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and Sang Yoo, Brad Cains, and Greg Dudding, all of the Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute, discuss the development of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) GIS, an integrated, comprehensive web-based GIS system that allows State employees to update and query ADHS information across the Appalachian region.

Why Can't We Get on One Map?

James E. Mitchell, Ph.D., of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, examines the benefits and challenges of creating a national GIS database.

Summer 2010


Ohio DOT's Asset Management Applications

Fred Judson of Ohio DOT (ODOT) focuses on ODOT District 2's use of GIS to build several asset management applications.

Enterprise Geospatial Web Services - Avoid Silos of Excellence

Eric Abrams of Iowa DOT suggests that geospatial web services can help GIS systems move from what he describes as an application-centric silo of excellence to a process-based environment.

Spring 2010


South Carolina DOT's Project Screening Tool

Nick Vakili-Rad of South Carolina DOT (SCDOT) discusses SCDOT's use of GIS to build a Project Screening Tool.

Where Should the North Carolina State Highway Patrol's (NCSHP) Motor Carrier Enforcement Focus Limited Resources?

Greg Ferrara at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at North Carolina State University writes about ITRE's development of analysis and decision-support tools. These tools allow administrative staff and field troopers at the North Carolina State Highway Patrol to more effectively target areas of priority safety and infrastructure preservation concerns.

Winter 2010


Nebraska DOR's Right of Way Geospatial Application

Rose Braun of Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) focuses on the development and use of NDOR's Right of Way GIS-based application.

Editorial from Kevin Hunt, GIS Manager at the New York State DOT (NYSDOT)

Kevin Hunt explains NYSDOT's development and deployment of a Road Status and Damage Assessment application, which enables the agency to meet data collection requirements associated with emergency management.

Fall 2009


Washington DOT's Winter Operations Application

Alan Smith and Tom Clay of Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) write about WSDOT's development of a GIS-based Winter Operations system.

Editorial from Dan Ross and Susan Bousquet, Mn/DOT Office of Information and Technology

Dan Ross and Susan Bousquet discuss their GIS Portal, which allows Mn/DOT employees to search for spatial information and services.

Summer 2009


Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority's Use of Geospatial Technologies

Miguel Martínez Yordán of Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) examines the ways in which the agency uses geospatial technologies to meet its transportation needs.

Get Ready for GIS-T 2.0

Dave Fletcher from Geographic Paradigm Computing, Inc. explores the potential of GIS-T 2.0, the next generation of GIS-T.

Spring 2009


Maine DOT's Stimulus Viewer

Nancy Armentrout of Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) examines MaineDOT's Stimulus Viewer. This application assists planners in determining which candidate projects across the State should be submitted for stimulus funding.

A Database Central Software Neutral Approach

Eric Abrams of Iowa DOT highlights the benefits of using a database central software neutral approach to GIS, which allows users to store geometry and business data in an enterprise database that can be viewed and maintained in multiple ways.

Winter 2009


Pennsylvania DOT's Road Condition Reporting System

Frank DeSendi of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) discusses the Department's Road Condition Reporting System, which offers consistent and accurate road condition information for planning and reporting purposes.

FHWA Guest Editorial

Welcome to the first issue of the GIS in Transportation Newsletter!
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