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Kansas City, Kansas
June 14-15, 2016

logo of the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation

Host Agency
Kansas Department of Transportation

Participating Peer Agencies
California Department of Transportation
Florida Department of Transportation
Indiana Department of Transportation
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Utah Department of Transportation



The U.S. Department of Transportation John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, prepared this report for the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Office of Planning. The Volpe Center project team wishes to thank the participants in the peer exchange, which are listed in Appendix A, for providing their experiences, insights, and editorial review. The time they kindly provided was vital to preparing the exchange and reviewing this final report.



This report provides highlights from a peer exchange held in Kansas City, Kansas, on June 14-15, 2016. The exchange was held as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Transportation program1 and hosted by Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). It focused on a discussion of uses of geospatial/GIS tools and applications in relation to the All Road Network of Linear Referenced Data (ARNOLD).


As GIS technology continued to advance and as adoption became more widespread, demand for standards and efficiency grew. In 2012, a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) critiqued how government offices were handling geospatial data.2 One of the findings of the report was that there were several Departments of Transportation (DOTs) developing methods of data collection and storage, but that these agencies did not have uniform ways of doing so. The report also found that there were duplicative data collection efforts that could be made more efficient if there were a greater level of collaboration and information sharing between agencies.

Building on the GAO report’s findings and new direction from the passage of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), FHWA announced a series of data standardization initiatives in 2012. Specifically, MAP-21 expanded the data reporting requirements for State DOTs by requiring the development of the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS), a national-level highway information system that includes data on the extent, condition, performance, use, and operating characteristics of the Nation’s highways. The new requirements for HPMS, which took effect in 2014, required each State DOT to expand their linear referencing systems (LRS), a statewide geospatial representation of their road system that includes all public roads. This nationwide representation of the road network is known as the All Road Network of Linear Referenced Data (ARNOLD). Before ARNOLD was instituted, FHWA only required that HPMS submission include data on Federal-Aid Highways3 networks.

From its beginning, the goal of ARNOLD has been to develop one standardized, nationwide, and authoritative LRS-based road network. While every State had worked with LRS and GIS extensively in the field of transportation, before 2012 there was no standard for the LRS process, GIS data, or business rules to ensure regular maintenance. Instead, each State DOT maintained a local, internal set of LRS rules, typically only applied to their respective road network. Because the process of adopting a new LRS or expanding on a current one could be onerous, FHWA gave States one to two years before the HPMS expansion took effect. Recognizing that the update can also be resource-intensive, in 2015 FHWA launched a Pooled Fund Study for State DOTs that were challenged by the expanded data-collection effort.

Currently, States submit HPMS data—including the required data submitted for ARNOLD—annually. As State DOTs continue to develop their LRS, FHWA aims to create a more streamlined process for HPMS submissions. Instead of a one-time submission process, the agency believes a transactional system would be a more efficient process for submitting data. Within this type of system, a State DOT would be able to either continually provide updates or only provide year-on-year changes instead of uploading an entire system. Additionally, this type of system can provide a robust validation engine as well.


FHWA’s Office of Planning (HOP) sponsored the peer exchange with support from FHWA’s Office of Highway Policy Information (OHPI). The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) hosted the event in Kansas City, Kansas. Participants included staff from KDOT as well as the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). See Appendix A for a complete participant list.

FHWA opened the peer exchange by presenting an overview of the FHWA GIS in Transportation program, a summary of the All Roads Network of Linear Referenced Data (ARNOLD), and FHWA’s involvement with the program. The introductory session was followed by peer presentations including an overview of each State’s experiences with ARNOLD. Peers also participated in a series of roundtable discussions throughout the exchange that addressed pre-identified topics of interest to both FHWA and the peers. The exchange concluded with a discussion of next steps and final remarks from FHWA that summarized recurring themes. See Appendix A for the peer exchange agenda, including roundtable discussion topics.

Overview of Peer Examples

The examples presented in the peer exchange focused on the use of geospatial/GIS tools and applications to support a range of LRS management approaches, in particular migrating or converting to a new system, local roads, roadway characteristics and categorizations, and education and training. Given the complexity of public roads systems and limited dedicated resources, peers reported that they are still at different stages of fully adopting ARNOLD standards. However, peers anticipated that they could build upon existing initiatives and efforts to refine, tailor, or adapt current GIS tools for ARNOLD goals over the next few years. Table 1 below provides an overview of the examples highlighted during the peer exchange.

Table 1. Overview of Examples

Agency Name Complete LRS with ARNOLD Overview of GIS Tool/Application/Initiative
Caltrans Following the ARNOLD initiative, Caltrans has an LRS that includes all public roads. Caltrans updated its LRS from 15,000 centerline miles to 350,000 centerline miles in order to include all public roads. To do so, Caltrans contracted with a group of consultants, carried out an All Roads LRS Pilot in Sacramento County, and eventually created an Intergraph GeoMedia management environment with an Oracle backend.
FDOT FDOT is currently working on meeting the ARNOLD requirements. FDOT has a contracted a consultant that provides one full-time staff member who helps it work towards the ARNOLD initiative. Using Python scripting, all counties within FDOT District 1 have been processed. Other highly urbanized counties have also been processed and are under review.
INDOT INDOT has incorporated local road systems and all public roads since 1990. INDOT migrated from Exor to Esri’s ArcGIS for collecting data on and maintaining its road network. INDOT updates its LRS through paper and sometimes digital submissions of roads from Local Government Areas but is shifting towards more digital data intakes (shapefiles, geodatabase files).
KDOT KDOT is currently working on meeting the ARNOLD requirements. KDOT has attended peer exchanges, started Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and selected a vendor with the goal of creating an All Roads LRS. KDOT is implementing Esri Roads and Highways and doing a conflation project to combine legacy state data with local NG911 road centerline data.
MnDOT MnDOT has incorporated local road systems and all public roads since the 1970s. MnDOT improved its workflow to reduce technical requirements for data intakes without migrating to a new system. MnDOT updates its LRS through paper and sometimes digital submissions of roads.
PennDOT PennDOT began linking local roads in the Spring of 2012 and completed all liquid fuel roads by 2014. It is currently linking Non-liquid fuel roads. PennDOT decided to distinguish between liquid-fuel and non-liquid-fuel roads. Multiple divisions within PennDOT and a group of summer interns were part of the linking of these roads to the State’s LRS, which is a spatial oracle database. PennDOT is focusing the QA/QC process in addition to linking the remaining roads.
UDOT UDOT has created a working LRS that includes all public roads but is still under development. UDOT is using the ARNOLD initiative to strengthen external partnerships to provide improved tools for local updated of centerline data. In the past, UDOT created an LRS for State and Federal Aid routes but used the centerline to identify local roads. UDOT is exploring the use of Esri Roads and Highways as a tool to meet the ARNOLD requirements and help integrate systems within the agency.

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Discussions held during the exchange centered around five topics:

  1. Migrating or Converting to a New System or LRS Approach;
  2. Local Roads;
  3. Roadway Characteristics and Categorizations;
  4. 911 Integration and Collaboration; and
  5. Education and Training Needs in the present and future.

More detail on each of these topics is provided below.

A. Updating GIS Applications to Address ARNOLD Standards

Peers reported that their agencies use geospatial/GIS tools and applications to submit their HPMS data to FHWA. Over time, many State DOTs have had to update their current GIS application in order to more easily meet HPMS standards. In other cases, many State DOTs have completely revamped their GIS solution, adopting new tools and applications. Peers highlighted experiences in staffing requirements, acquiring software, levels of detail in different GIS applications, and working with different regions to collect data.

B. Local Roads and Data Collection

Peers acknowledged that one of the most challenging aspects of the ARNOLD initiative was the inclusion of local roads within each State LRS. How resource intensive it has been to include local roads, however, has varied by State. Local roads tend to be used significantly less than other roads, and they generally have more complicated geometries. Also, since many local roads are difficult to access, collecting and maintaining data on these roads can be a challenge.

Noting these concerns, FHWA has sought to facilitate the measurement and maintenance of all public roads, including local roads. Overall, FHWA and States in the Pooled Fund Study have aimed to create a system or process that requires less effort to maintain over time. One possible solution to the local roads problem is obtaining road length with GIS software instead of driving length. Ultimately the goal is to explore different approaches to current transportation mapping practices in order to find the most efficient and sustainable solution for mapping and maintaining local roads data.

C. Standardizing and Unifying Roadway Characteristics and Categorizations

As peer agencies continue to explore how to effectively use GIS tools and applications to support the ARNOLD initiative, the design and mechanisms used to measure roadway characteristics and format them so they can be submitted to HPMS varied from State to State. When it comes to collecting the data, measuring different features, and labeling them, there was no clear consensus among the peers as to what the best approaches should be. With minimal technical guidance to make these choices, over time each State has had to come up with its own methodology to collect data and maintain them in its systems. In some cases, States relied on peers’ examples of best practices to determine a methodology. In other cases, States relied on vendors to come up with an appropriate approach for them.

Overall, there were a few common issues or examples related to capturing different types of roadway characteristics that arose throughout the peer exchange. Among them were using street or route IDs for location information, storing road information as single versus dual carriageways versus dual routes, and data submissions formatting.

D. NG911 Integration and Collaboration

The 911 system is a North American system used in the United States that links emergency callers to an appropriate public resource. There are two primary 911 systems—E911, and NG911. E911 is a mixture of technologies involving land-line phone numbers assigned to cell towers, where even though digital voice 911 communications are supported, IP is not supported to the 911 dispatch center. In E911, the system from cell tower to dispatch is an analog system. NG911, on the other hand, uses GIS based call routing and supports Internet Protocol including text messaging, VOIP, and multimedia.

Because 911 service providers are generally not part of a State DOT, they rely on their own GIS resources and data collecting services in order to locate 911 callers, route emergency vehicles, and provide other emergency services. 911 providers can at times have data related to public roads that local counties or State DOTs do not have; or, if they do have it, data likely does not align across systems.

As part of the ARNOLD initiative and other State and Federal guidelines, State DOTs and 911 agencies can work together to ensure that each agency has the most up-to-date and accurate information. In order to reach emergency callers, 911 providers must have accurate address and road names in order to appropriately navigate emergency responders to the location of an emergency. Likewise, in order to accurately create and maintain road networks, State DOTs need the same information.

E. Education and Training Needs - Present and Future

As GIS technologies have evolved since the early 2000s, every State DOT has faced the challenge of keeping up with new technologies and practices. In many instances, State DOTs have had limited resources or encountered unique challenges, with few or no precedents on which to build. Whether it has been digitizing maps or migrating from legacy applications to newer applications such as ArcGIS, many States have had to take on a learn-as-you go approach to meet regulatory and technological demands. With respect to ARNOLD, FHWA’s goal has been to assist all States in meeting the new LRS standards. However, State DOTs are often resource-limited and may rely on small teams of GIS specialists to meet the LRS requirements. Training and education are therefore critical, to build the skillsets of existing teams and to ensure the long-term success of a program.

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Over the course of the peer exchange, participants identified general lessons learned from their efforts to date:

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FHWA Peer Exchange: All Road Network of Linear Referenced Data (ARNOLD)

Residence Inn Kansas City at The Legends
1875 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, KS 66111
June 14-15, 2016


Peer Participants
Agency Name Title Work Phone Email
Kansas Department of Transportation
(GIS Unit & Office of Information Technology Services)
Tina Cramer Applications Developer III 785-291-3947
Kyle Gonterwitz GIS Manager 785-296-4899
Curtis Huffman Applications Developer III 785-296-0337
Kevin Koester Engineering Associate III 785-296-3221
Elsit Mandal Professional Civil Engineer I 785-296-5130
Mary Beth Pfrang GIS Project Manager 785-296-6315
Terri Slater Applications Developer III 785-296-5186
Dirk Talley Applications Developer II 785-296-6316
California Department of Transportation Chad Baker Office Chief, Office of Data Services and Technology 916-651-5720
Florida Department of Transportation Paul O’Rourke GIS Support Section, Transportation Statistics Office 850-414-4732
Indiana Department of Transportation Kevin Munro IT Project Manager 317-234-3861
Minnesota Department of Transportation Peter Morey Director, Data Systems & Coordination 651-366-3872
Pennsylvania Transportation Council Joe Piper Transportation Planning Supervisor, Transportation Planning Division 717-214-8687
Utah Department of Transportation Becky Hjelm GIS Manager 801-386-4162
US DOT Participants
Agency Name Title Work Phone Email
FHWA Mark Sarmiento Office of Planning (HEPP), GIS Planning Specialist 202-366-4828
Thomas Roff Office of Highway Policy Information (OHPI), Transportation Specialist 202-366-5035
Volpe Center Michael Green Economist 617-494-2553
Jared Fijalkowski Community Planner 617-494-2092


Tuesday, June 14
8:30 – 9:00 Welcome and Introductions – Kansas Department of Transportation
9:00 – 9:30 Overview of USDOT GIS and ARNOLD Initiatives – FHWA
9:30 – 10:15 Demonstration/Presentation 1 – Kansas Department of Transportation
10:30 – 11:00 Demonstration/Presentation 2 – Caltrans
11:00 – Noon Roundtable 1: Data Models – All Participants
1:30 – 2:00 Demonstration/Presentation 3 – Florida Department of Transportation
2:00 – 2:30 Demonstration/Presentation 4 – Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
2:45 – 3:15 Demonstration/Presentation 5 – Minnesota Department of Transportation
3:15 – 4:15 Roundtable 2: Incorporating Other Data and Systems – All Participants
4:15 – 4:30 Day 1 Key Points/Wrap-Up – FHWA
Wednesday, June 15
8:00 – 8:15 Day 1 Re-cap – FHWA
8:15 – 9:00 Demonstration/Presentation 6 – Indiana Department of Transportation
9:00 – 10:00 Roundtable 3: Lessons Learned – All Participants
10:15 – 10:45 Demonstration/Presentation 7 – Utah Department of Transportation
10:45 – 11:45 Roundtable 4: Moving Forward with ARNOLD Activities – All Participants
11:45 - Noon Day 2 Key Points/Wrap-Up – FHWA

Roundtable Discussion Questions

Roundtable 1: Data Models
All Participants

Roundtable 2: Incorporating Other Data and Systems
All Participants

Roundtable 3: Lessons Learned
All Participants

Roundtable 4: Moving Forward with ARNOLD Activities
All Participants

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1 Through technical support, resources, and capacity-building opportunities, the FHWA GIS in Transportation program aims to assist transportation agencies to more effectively use GIS and geospatial applications. Additional information is available at
2 United States Government Accountability Office, GEOSPATIAL INFORMATION - OMB and Agencies Need to Make Coordination a Priority to Reduce Duplication, November 2012.
3 The Federal-Aid Highway Program supports State highway systems by providing financial assistance for the construction, maintenance, and operations of the Nation’s 3.9 million-mile highway network, including the Interstate Highway System, primary highways and secondary local roads. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is charged with implementing the Federal-aid Highway Program in cooperation with the States and local government.

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