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Case Studies of Select Transportation Agencies

September 2016

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February 2016
Uses of Geospatial Applications for Transportation Performance Management
Andrew Reovan, Amy Sheridan, Alisa Fine
U.S. Department of Transportation
John A Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142-1093
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.
13. ABSTRACT (Maximum 200 words)

To explore how State DOTs are developing programs around transportation performance management (TPM), particularly as they prepare for requirements introduced by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) legislation, FHWA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Volpe National Transportation Systems Center interviewed four State DOTs and developed a series of case studies focusing on their experiences:

  • South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT)
  • Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)
  • Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans)
  • Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration (MDOT-SHA)
This case study report was developed in response to the requests of participants at an FHWA-sponsored peer exchange on the same topic, held June 30-July 2, 2015 in Spokane, WA. The report supports GIS practitioners and decision-makers by identifying examples of noteworthy practices, considering the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches in using GIS solutions for TPM and related efforts, and determining how to best use GIS to communicate the impacts of performance-based operations and planning at the State DOT level.
Geographic information systems (GIS), GIS databases, transportation performance management (TPM), transportation asset management (TAM), performance-based planning, GIS projects.

Standard Form 298 (Rev. 2-89)
Prescribed by ANSI Std. 239-18


List of Figures

List of Tables

Executive Summary

In recent years, transportation agencies have increasingly adopted data-driven management tools and performance management approaches to make more informed and effective investments in the transportation system. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) sought to formalize these processes and institute transportation performance management (TPM) as a core component of all surface transportation management, including but not limited to investment decision-making. MAP-21 outlines national performance goals relating to the National Highway Performance Program, the Highway Safety Improvement Program, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, and freight movement. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, signed into law in December 2015, reinforces these TPM requirements and seeks to continue the efforts initiated under MAP-21. Based on the requirements introduced by MAP-21 and FAST, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of TPM will issue final regulations on performance management for Federal-aid recipients, conduct training and education on the new regulations, and share best practices.1

To explore how State DOTs are developing programs around TPM, particularly as they prepare for requirements introduced by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) legislation, FHWA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Volpe National Transportation Systems Center interviewed four State DOTs and developed a series of case studies focusing on their experiences:

This report supports GIS practitioners and decision-makers by identifying examples of noteworthy practices, considering the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches in using GIS solutions for TPM and related efforts, and determining how to best use GIS to communicate the impacts of performance-based operations and planning at the State DOT level. Highlights of the findings presented here include:

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1.1 Purpose and Methodology

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) promotes geographic information systems (GIS) as a technology that can help transportation agencies save time, improve transportation decision-making, and improve outcomes related to safety, congestion, and sustainability. GIS investments can also reduce transportation project delivery timelines, leading to cost savings for transportation agencies. GIS applications help agencies monitor and address congestion, resulting in increased economic productivity for the general public.

This set of case studies and its companion peer exchange are part of FHWA's GIS in Transportation program.2 Through technical support, resources, and capacity-building opportunities, the program aims to assist transportation agencies more effectively use GIS and geospatial applications.

Peer exchanges sponsored by the GIS in Transportation program have focused on various applications of GIS to transportation, e.g., geospatial data-sharing, uses of cloud-based GIS applications, and the business case for geospatial technologies. The companion peer exchange to this report was held on June 30-July 2, 2015 in Spokane, WA, and was hosted by the Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC). Peers from State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and local transportation agencies discussed the role of geospatial and GIS tools in developing transportation performance management (TPM) programs and initiatives. The peer exchange report, available from the FHWA GIS in Transportation website, provides key findings from roundtable discussions, as well as a list of participants.3

Participants at the peer exchange requested that FHWA develop further case studies to highlight how agencies are approaching the use of GIS for TPM programs and initiatives. To explore how State DOTs are harnessing GIS tools for TPM—particularly as they prepare for requirements under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) legislation—four State DOTs were interviewed by FHWA and the U.S. DOT’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) regarding their experiences with GIS in this context. Volpe developed the case studies below from information obtained during those interviews.

Together, the case studies and peer exchange gave participating agencies the opportunity to:

FHWA and Volpe selected agencies for case studies based on a review of their online materials and on their participation in recent discussions about TPM at industry conferences. The participating agencies were Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Maryland State Highway Administration (MD-SHA), South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), and Vermont Department of Transportation (VTrans). Appendix A provides details on agency participants. An interview guide, included as Appendix B, provided a framework for two telephone discussions with each agency, held for 30-60 minutes each in September and November 2015. Case studies were drafted based on participant responses during the two discussions. Findings from the case studies are included in the Observations section of this report.

1.2 Transportation Performance Management (TPM)

TPM is a strategic approach that uses transportation system information to help make investment and policy decisions to achieve national performance goals. TPM is a systematic, ongoing approach to transportation decision-making that involves:

In recent years, transportation agencies have increasingly adopted data-driven management tools and performance management approaches to make more informed and effective investments in the transportation system. MAP-21 legislation sought to formalize these processes and institute TPM as a core component of all surface transportation management, including but not limited to investment decision-making. MAP-21 established a number of areas in which U.S. DOT modal agencies, including FHWA, would need to establish measures to assess performance and to carry out the respective apportioned programs. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, signed into law in December 2015, reinforces these TPM requirements and seeks to continue the efforts initiated under MAP-21. Based on the requirements introduced by MAP-21 and FAST, FHWA will issue final regulations and guidance on performance management, conduct training and education on the new regulations, share best practices, and provide technical assistance.4

FHWA considers TPM to be a comprehensive approach for managing the entire transportation system. However, FHWA recognizes that TPM has links to other performance management approaches such as asset management—which focuses on managing physical assets based on their useful life and replacement requirements5—and transportation performance-based planning and programming (PBPP). According to FHWA, PBPP shares many of TPM’s core principles but focuses more on incorporating performance goals specifically into the planning and programming phases of transportation decision-making.6 FHWA will issue final regulations for asset management and PBPP concurrent with the rollout of TPM regulations.7

FHWA believes that geospatial/GIS tools and applications can support a wide range of performance management goals. However, there have been few opportunities for transportation agencies to share information on how geospatial/GIS tools and applications can best support new Federal performance provisions (due, in part, to the fact that MAP-21 TPM rulemakings are still forthcoming). This case study report and the companion peer exchange report fill this gap by providing a forum for State DOTs and local transportation agencies to share noteworthy practices, success factors, and challenges encountered in using, developing, and maintaining geospatial/GIS applications and tools that support performance management approaches (e.g., asset management, PBPP, maintenance management) as well as TPM specifically.

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2. Observations

Approaches to TPM vary widely among the four peer agencies interviewed. They have all focused on the use of geospatial/GIS tools and applications to support a limited range of performance management approaches, in particular asset management, performance-based planning and programming (PBPP), and maintenance activities. However, of the four agencies, only MD SHA has begun to monitor performance of the roadway system in terms of mobility, freight movement, or similar measures. Given that final rules for system performance TPM have not yet been published, most agencies reported hesitancy in developing—or considering how to develop—geospatial/GIS tools that support these goals prior to seeing clear guidance from FHWA. However, the agencies expected to build upon existing initiatives and efforts to refine, tailor, or adopt current GIS tools for TPM-related goals over the next few years.

Table 1 provides an overview and summary points about each of the case study examples. The examples are sorted by their self-assessed level of preparedness to implement TPM practices in their agency. The three levels of readiness from the case study participants were: early stage, moderately prepared, or well prepared.

Table 1. Summary of Case Study Agencies’ TPM and TAM Efforts using GIS

Agency GIS or Geospatial Solution(s) TAM Efforts TPM Efforts TPM Readiness
  • Integrated Transportation Management System (ITMS)
  • Project Programming System (P2S)
Developing initial Asset Management Plan (TAMP), based on MAP-21 requirements (not integrated with GIS tools) Reviewing viability of existing geospatial tools for TPM reporting; awaiting FHWA rulemakings Early stage
ODOT Transportation Information Mapping System (TIMS) Developing automated asset reporting capabilities using TIMS Using TIMS to communicate PBPP efforts; evaluating appropriate internal performance measures Moderately prepared
VTrans VTransparency VTransparency maps data on pavement, bridges, projects, and maintenance. VTrans is currently developing an automated report using this data to meet MAP-21 TAMP requirements. Testing initial dashboards for individual departments (project delivery time, adherence to engineer’s budget estimate) Moderately prepared
  • Enterprise GIS (eGIS)
  • SHA Data Hub
Piloting an internal asset management dashboard, currently in use with multiple teams. Developing a MAP-21 dashboard as well as dashboards for freight and mobility. SHA anticipates that existing data within the eGIS will support reporting for MAP-21, with small changes. Well prepared

2.1 Motivations for Pursuing Transportation Performance Management

Case study participants were all focused on pursuing TPM not only because of the requirements introduced by MAP-21, but also as part of a broader effort to move their agencies toward a more performance-driven decision-making approach. Within that overarching goal, the agencies were motivated to pursue TPM for one or more of these reasons:

2.2 Benefits

Transportation agencies reported a number of benefits related to using GIS systems and databases as part of a TPM and PBPP program, especially as they prepare for the TPM requirements of MAP-21. Agencies highlighted the following benefits in the discussions:

2.3 Challenges

Agencies noted several challenges associated with developing business cases:

2.4 Lessons Learned

The case study agencies offered the following lessons learned based on their experiences:

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3. Case Studies

This section presents in-depth case studies on the transportation agencies that participated in the report interviews. Each case study starts with a high-level summary of the efforts underway. The background section provides a more in-depth review of these efforts, specifically: 1) the GIS or geospatial tool each State DOT is using; 2) how this contributes to the State DOT’s transportation asset management (TAM) efforts; 3) how it contributes to the State DOT’s TPM; and 4) any related efforts (if applicable). Following the background section, each case study concludes with a summary of the benefits of the State’s chosen solution, any challenges to implementing the solution, and a review of lessons learned and next steps (as applicable).

3.1 South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT)


SCDOT believes that that it is still in the early stages of applying geospatial/GIS tools or resources to support a performance management approach, but SCDOT anticipates that forthcoming MAP-21 TPM rulemakings will inform its future efforts in this area.

SCDOT is exploring how to refine or adapt current GIS tools for performance management and is assessing what resources (e.g., data, staff) might be required. SCDOT has completed the development process for two valuable GIS-based tools, which are already showing benefits for the agency. The tools are the Integrated Transportation Management System (ITMS), which provides an enterprise-level asset management and inventory for the agency, and the Project Programming System (P2S), which provides project management support in a geospatial database. SCDOT hopes to build on the early successes of these two systems to move toward an integrated system for managing TPM reporting, PBPP, and other efforts and, hopefully, moving the agency toward a culture of performance-based decision-making.


In the past, SCDOT has used a number of different geospatial/GIS tools and resources to support asset management and project management efforts. While SCDOT is still exploring how best to use GIS resources for TPM-specific goals, the agency anticipates drawing on past and current efforts as foundations for any future work in this area. These past and current efforts are described below.

Geospatial or GIS Solution: Integrated Transportation Management System (ITMS)

screenshot of the ITMS which shows a map, a table of Sign Inventory Query Results, and a Map Options user interface

Figure 1. SCDOT’s ITMS Solution

In anticipation of Federally-mandated performance management requirements, SCDOT has focused foremost on implementing a centralized data management solution, known as the Integrated Transportation Management System (ITMS). ITMS is a web-based, geospatial tool that integrates with different SCDOT systems including roadway inventory, construction management, maintenance management, safety, bridge, pavement, traffic, and financial systems. Essentially, ITMS provides an enterprise-level view of a range of SCDOT data, helping staff in SCDOT’s headquarters and district offices to visualize, assess, and manage transportation projects. For example, ITMS helps SCDOT identify which roadways require pavement resurfacing, thus helping the agency as a whole better plan resource allocations.

ITMS offers staff the ability to see the same set of data, supporting overall communication and coordination. ITMS also offers reporting capabilities for SCDOT users to easily package information and communicate it to internal or external stakeholders, including the public. In particular, SCDOT noted that ITMS’ visualization capabilities are particularly helpful when developing reports, maps, or materials that respond to legislative requests. SCDOT mentioned that “showing visuals helps make our case more effectively than showing spreadsheets.”

SCDOT continues to work on improving ITMS functionality and including additional capabilities to ensure that it is an effective resource for overall agency project management. For example, SCDOT has added a videolog that permits virtual “drive-bys” along roadways, eliminating or reducing the time that field personnel or other staff need to spend in the field to evaluate asset conditions or evaluate proposed projects. It has also added asset inventories for culverts, signs, and signals. Pavement and bridge dashboards are being developed to help staff see, at a glance, a range of performance information for these assets.

Project Programming System (P2S)
In addition to focusing on ITMS, SCDOT is considering whether the Project Programming System (P2S), a tool developed to manage and track project spending and progress, could be adapted or refined to support broader asset management efforts. P2S currently provides geospatial database support only to project management tasks. For example, P2S helps staff identify overlap of planned transportation projects. P2S was developed over the course of several years, beginning with initial planning in 2009 by a committee tasked with documenting project management needs. The committee suggested that a system to prevent project overlap was most critical, since projects often originated from different areas of SCDOT without overall coordination. Ultimately the P2S became the solution, using location referencing via a linear referencing system (LRS) and visualization as a primary means of documenting project overlap. P2S was launched internally in 2013.

P2S is a web-based tool accessible to internal SCDOT users, although access for editing information is limited to staff with direct project management responsibilities. P2S uses a variety of SCDOT roadway data to show information about projects across SCDOT. For asset management efforts, SCDOT is looking at P2S data—especially road resurfacing information—to identify where such information could help feed into the pavement management system for life cycle analysis.

screenshot from the P2S tool which shows a map of the area around Fairfax and Allendale, South Carolina marked with color-coded circles

Figure 2. Screenshot of P2S

Transportation Asset Management (TAM)
SCDOT is in the early stages of creating a risk-based Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP), as required under MAP-21 legislation. Under the FHWA’s proposed asset management rulemaking, this TAMP will need to include several elements, including: asset inventories; bridge and highway condition data; lifecycle cost analysis; performance gap analysis; and a financial plan that evaluates various investment options. To meet these requirements, SCDOT has identified several types of data it will need to acquire, including Inventory and condition data on pavement, bridges, and other assets. SCDOT is looking at examples from peer States to identify how best to collect, compile, and analyze inventory and condition information to support development of the TAMP. The agency anticipates using data from ITMS for this purpose.

The agency is assessing its current state of practice in terms of what asset data is available, where data gaps exist, and how these gaps can be addressed. SCDOT is also exploring the possibility of acquiring new geospatial software to support asset management efforts. Currently it is evaluating internal requirements to assess the need for such a system, which would complement the data contained in ITMS.

Transportation Performance Management (TPM)
SCDOT believes that its past and current efforts, such as developing ITMS and P2S, have established a good foundation with regard to performance management, particularly asset management. In the future, the agency anticipates placing more of a focus on prioritizing transportation projects based on a corridor-level approach. This type of approach would allow SCDOT to plan for and implement projects more strategically and efficiently. GIS will be an integral component of adopting such an approach, since it provides the ability to visualize an array of information and see interactions between individual projects. For example, instead of replacing only one bridge on an interstate that carries significant amount of freight within and through South Carolina, SCDOT could analyze the pavement, bridge, and safety needs of the entire corridor to allow freight to move more reliably and efficiently. The ability to make more strategic decisions aligns closely with the overall goals of performance management approaches, including (but not limited to) TPM.

SCDOT’s planning office is actively discussing the forthcoming MAP-21 TPM rulemakings to better anticipate and plan for an agency-wide response. However, the agency has not yet established formal performance management measures in areas where FHWA rulemakings have not been finalized, as it feels that the final rulemakings are necessary to help guide efforts in this area.


SCDOT lists the following benefits from its use of ITMS and P2S:


SCDOT faced the following challenges in its TPM project and efforts:

Recommendations and Lessons Learned

Next Steps

Moving forward, the biggest hurdle for SCDOT is creating and maintaining open communication throughout the organization. However, as the agency looks toward the TPM reporting requirements, it hopes to use ITMS, P2S or an enhanced system to improve its reporting capabilities. Specifically, SCDOT hopes to:

3.2 Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)


ODOT has been using a centralized GIS-based data management application to support decision-making and performance plans for five years. The capability of GIS to show interconnections between data sets has helped transform the internal culture of ODOT from data and asset silos to one of engagement with all available information.


In 2010, the Office of Technical Services (OTS), within ODOT’s Office of Planning, was interested in centralizing data from disparate systems, hoping to use GIS to bring information from these disparate systems together. OTS recommended a plan that included data collection, data distribution, and data consumption. They developed a work plan, gained support of executive management, and stayed with their plan. They developed data standards and recognized that the single biggest challenge was changing the culture so that departmental silos saw the benefit in having access to each other’s data. The result was ODOT’s centralized information application, TIMS—the Transportation Mapping Information System.

screenshot of the TIMS homepage

Figure 3. Landing page for ODOT’s Transportation Information Mapping System (TIMS)

Geospatial or GIS Solution: Transportation Information Mapping System (TIMS)
TIMS is a cloud-based, collaborative, public-facing tool used by local transportation departments, MPOs, and State agencies. ODOT maintains the road inventory file as a base for other network data. TIMS integrates data from all divisions’ records, providing an enterprise-level view both inside and outside the agency. TIMS is also able to receive data from outside organizations, primarily MPOs.

OTS provides, maintains, and upgrades TIMS on behalf of all of ODOT units. Developed over the last five years from several separate applications, TIMS has recently been made accessible to anyone via laptop9 or smartphone, using the ArcGIS Collector application. ODOT has developed a series of lively YouTube videos 10 explaining in detail what TIMS can be used for and how to use it.

TIMS development has been a long process of building internal support, demonstrating results, and slowly changing the culture around data management. Previously, data was collected and maintained in divisional silos. The movement to unify ODOT’s data began with asset management. A GIS platform was recognized as the ideal means for aggregating and unifying data. Executive management was recruited and approved a series of projects to move forward. Early success helped division staff to recognize the power of combined data and to buy in to the system.

Transportation Asset Management (TAM)
OTS plans to streamline ODOT’s TAM capabilities and reporting processes by enabling TIMS to render the results of asset queries and analysis. For example, OTS hopes to show all locations in the State with pavement cracking at a certain level and then turn on the capital improvement plan to see if it matches the need. They would also like managers to be able to use TIMS to show how close conditions are to target index levels, e.g., set a goal of no more than 10 percent of the pavement having a score below 85 and show how close (or far) conditions are from that goal and where the problem spots are.

As a next step, OTS is working on capabilities to automatically generate a report on asset return on investment (ROI), based on existing asset condition and project funding data in the TIMS system.

Transportation Performance Management (TPM)
ODOT’s use of performance management is primarily focused around asset condition at this time. Currently, asset performance plans are built into the asset management system. TIMS is used to define the performance plan, identify what metrics are useful, aggregate information needed for investment decisions, and ultimately to inform stakeholders.

TIMS has enabled ODOT to better pinpoint problem areas and to target investment and improvements in a more strategic and less piecemeal manner. For example, comparing pavement condition (using the International Roughness Index, IRI) to other mapped attributes via TIMS allowed ODOT to ultimately identify certain sources of aggregate as a possible cause of poor pavement performance.

TIMS also helps reveal and target key areas where improvements will have the greatest impact, helping to prioritize investments and funding requests. For example, overlaying crash locations with traffic volumes can help identify the most important locations for mitigating safety risks—in essence, identifying the intersections and roadways with the greatest problems. Likewise, TIMS enables the organization to analyze the types of location, asset, and design element that contribute to accident occurrence, improving roadway safety practices and operations overall.

Finally, ODOT uses TIMS to communicate performance-based planning initiatives to and from localities, which are responsible for maintaining their own mileage (due to the decentralized nature of ODOT operations). TPM is a new idea for many localities, and MPOs often serve as intermediaries between ODOT and the localities. As MPOs and local agencies begin to use TIMS as a data source for performance and asset management, ODOT hopes that it can serve as a vital communications tool to engage stakeholders and customers in efforts to improve transportation system performance.

Related Efforts

Data Governance Initiative
Now that TIMS is accessible to the public, MPOs, and other agencies, ODOT is promoting a formal data governance system, to increase successful integration with additional datasets. OTS would like to expand TIMS to include additional enterprise data sets, including the TAM audit. The initial step in this process is educating users about how existing data sets will be cleaned, stored, and managed, ultimately enhancing the use of other business owners data sets.


ODOT cited the following benefits that it has obtained to date, thanks to its investment in TIMS as a centralized data system for managing performance management and asset management efforts:


In spite of the substantial benefits, ODOT has faced a few challenges to a smooth TIMS implementation and to using the database for TPM efforts. A few examples are:

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

ODOT shares the following lessons learned and recommendations based on its experiences implementing TIMS:

Next Steps

Ohio DOT lists the following as next steps in its TPM and asset management efforts:

3.3 Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans)


VTrans is in the middle stages of developing a software solution to support its TPM goals and objectives, using a GIS database to support a web-based platform. It released the current form of its public-facing, web-based GIS tool called VTransparency in 2014, with a focus on keeping information simple and clear for public users who spend very little time on the site. VTransparency provides simple visual data on pavement, bridges, projects, and maintenance efforts, as well as links to data sources. VTrans is now working on an internal version of VTransparency that will provide more detailed data and connect to other tools used by the agency, in support of its asset management and performance management efforts.


The concept for VTransparency was derived from an internal customer survey (of VTrans employees) by the Office of Planning, which sought to identify the types and frequency of questions that different offices receive related to data needs. The actual tool was initiated by the collaboration of multiple divisions pulling together data and developing tools to ensure highly accessible and consumable data.

Recognizing that there was significant overlap in data coverage and, in some cases, different ways of representing similar data, data owners from multiple divisions proposed a web-based, geospatial tool to improve consistency of data presentation and ease of use for the data tool. Based on initial discussions at a meeting with multiple functional divisions, VTrans’ Office of Planning worked with support from IT and senior leadership to streamline data and develop an initial, public-facing tool.

Geospatial or GIS Solution: VTransparency
VTransparency packages and rebrands some of the agency’s available data for public consumption. The team has made a concerted effort to discover what the public wants to know and to display the data in a way that answers their questions simply and directly. It allows the agency to provide quick answers to specific customer questions, but it also allows agency staff to point customers toward self-service locations for project schedules and asset conditions.

Once the tool was released the public, offices across VTrans became increasingly interested in sharing their data via VTransparency and in ensuring high-quality data made it into the system. In addition, centralized project staff now use VTransparency to share project and asset related data with regional Maintenance and Operations staff. As a result, regional offices have started training employees and seeking to hire new employees with GIS skills, to support the communication of data.

screenshot of the VTransparency homepage

Figure 4. Landing page for VTransparency

Transportation Asset Management (TAM)
The current asset management effort at VTrans began in earnest in 2002. An initial policy at that time, called “Road to Affordability,” focused attention on maintaining existing infrastructure, rather than building new infrastructure, to reign in transportation spending and move toward sustainability for the State’s transportation system. In 2014, VTrans re-situated the asset management program within a newly-created Asset Management and Performance Bureau inside the Highway Division, which gave it a bigger visibility across the agency.

The asset management bureau has performance management, data, and budget software which can be connected together and can also connect to the strategic plan and goals. They see asset management as the tactical piece to support strategic goals and objectives. They have a huge need to ensure that asset condition and performance levels are tied to financial data. Their process is to identify asset condition levels, develop TAM programs for specific assets, consider funding needed to sustain performance of the assets in the out years, and, finally, look at how it all ties in to transportation values such as safety, mobility, and accountability.

VTrans hopes to connect asset management and investment level data with VTransparency, as they add more asset types (e.g., culverts and rock falls), and to expand the breadth of content to better reflect the conversation about asset lifecycle and sustainable funding. The primary focus of VTransparency, in line with the emphasis on transparency, is really on serving customers, and for that they need a solid understanding of issues in the field. That said, the initial online tools have already assisted with asset management, particularly by increasing visibility over asset condition and work-in-progress for budgeting purposes. For example, the integration of culvert asset data and upcoming capital project data led to the request to designers to evaluate over 200 culverts for inclusion into the scope of work for existing projects.

In preparation for the MAP-21 requirements, VTrans is developing a more comprehensive asset management plan (TAMP) to address what they can afford and sustain, as well as the return period for a given asset. One challenge in developing a new TAMP is that the existing roster of projects—those already underway and funded—includes projects that have been underway for up to 15 years. It will therefore be difficult to re-prioritize projects based on the expected return or other performance metrics until the existing projects are complete and funding for new projects is available.

Transportation Performance Management (TPM)
TPM efforts are currently overseen by the Asset Management and Performance Bureau, the same bureau that oversees asset management efforts. The bureau intends to support each unit within VTrans as they develop their own performance metrics and goals, since those goals ultimately inform the agency’s overall strategic plan and performance measures. Because VTrans links TPM to customer service and public awareness as well, VTransparency is a useful mechanism for displaying data that the public can consume.

VTrans is currently monitoring performance for specific areas, such as project delivery time and adherence to engineer’s budget estimate, which will inform internal dashboards currently in development. The next step is to produce an internal version of VTransparency that provides more engineering data and connects to other tools used by the business units.

Performance is currently managed separately by each division.11 The Finance & Administration division has a Performance, Innovation and Excellence section; the Aviation division has performance measures incorporated in its Airport System Plan. It is VTrans’ intent to continue to support the maturation of performance management culture.


Since implementing VTransparency and other GIS-based tools and applications for performance and asset management, VTrans has recognized the following preliminary benefits:


VTrans noted that its implementation of VTransparency faced several hurdles:

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

VTrans recommends agencies consider the following practices when looking to use a GIS database for TPM and PBPP efforts:

Next Steps

VTrans lists the following as next steps as it seeks to improve the capabilities of VTransparency and use the GIS database for its TPM, asset management, and PBPP reporting:

3.4 Maryland DOT State Highway Administration (MDOT-SHA)


Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), a dedicated business unit within Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), is working to advance performance-based decision making within the agency by increasing access to the data held by different groups. SHA’s Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering (OPPE) has worked to establish data standards and a GIS-based, centralized data repository (the SHA Data Hub) for use in sharing data collected by different offices and groups. With only preliminary work complete, interest in sharing data among different offices has already grown, and the agency is working to develop a series of dashboards in support of its performance management efforts. SHA attributes the success of its data efforts foremost to the internal work done to communicate the role that data and data linkages can play to reduce work effort and increase efficiency throughout the agency.


Geospatial or GIS Solutions: Enterprise GIS
Since 2011, OPPE has led efforts to integrate an Enterprise GIS (eGIS) system as the primary data management system for planning. Over time, a number of additional tools and data sources have been integrated with the eGIS system—such as asset management, mobility, environmental, and freight data—spurring further efforts to develop performance-based programming efforts.

The eGIS has largely been an internal system, for use in sharing limited datasets with an internal audience (for example, providing access to the common linear referencing system, or LRS). More recently, the agency has worked to develop outward-facing dashboards that use JavaScript to connect to the eGIS, providing summary information and easy access to data on particular topics. The dashboards are currently in development but will focus on four key areas: mobility, freight, asset management, and MAP-21 system performance.

At the same time, the GIS services team has sought to make a business case to each SHA office for a central data repository, emphasizing the importance of data sharing. They have encouraged data owners to move their databases to a location accessible by the eGIS system, rather than asking for control of the data. At the leadership level, the team has held meetings with managers of key departments—IT security, operations, maintenance, other business units etc.—to convey the benefits of sharing data throughout the organization. Overall, SHA’s internal staff and leadership have been highly supportive of the GIS initiative and have been more than willing to contribute data. Examples of internal successes supported by the eGIS are:

screenshot of the SHA Mobility and Economy Dashboard

Figure 5. SHA Mobility Dashboard

Transportation Asset Management (TAM)

screenshot of the SHA Asset Data Management Warehouse showing a table of signs, a user interface, and a satellite photo marked to show the locations of signs

Figure 6. SHA’s Asset Data Management Warehouse

SHA is working to develop an asset management dashboard that will serve internal groups seeking information on projects and asset condition, as well as inform the traveling public of planned projects and improvements. SHA has already rolled out the asset management dashboard for use with select internal teams and has found significant success. SHA reported that some of the tools have saved users as much as two weeks in project preparation time. For example, the dashboard can be used to automate project status reports (assuming on-the-ground reporting is consistent), to put placeholders on project site locations and avoid overlap (or coordinate on project schedules), and to project lifecycles and monitor asset performance. The asset management data warehouse has data on eight types of SHA assets, which has helped the asset management team, the OPPE, and other offices with decision-making when planning for future investments and projects. Beyond the eight assets in the data warehouse, other assets are maintained in separate databases that still integrate with eGIS for analysis and display. SHA is working towards having all assets in the asset management data warehouse, but it anticipates that will take several years as it will require significant migration from older, legacy systems.

Transportation Performance Management (TPM)

screenshot of the SHA MAP-21 Dashboard homepage

Figure 7. Landing Page for SHA’s MAP-21 Dashboard

As mentioned above, one of the new dashboards under development at SHA will focus on performance management in accordance with MAP-21, likely to be developed using the Story Map functionality from ArcGIS Online. SHA anticipates that the data structure built for the central data repository will serve well for MAP-21 reporting requirements, as it is already able to toggle data between different levels (i.e., statewide, MPO, municipal, and local).The GIS team has worked to integrate mobility performance metrics with their travel modeling and travel analysis models; thus, as new measures and reporting requirements roll out, SHA will be ready to compile that data for performance management.

According to SHA, “MAP-21 reporting is just one aspect for us. Now that our dashboards and databases are pretty stable, we have much more detailed programs we use for our own operations, strategizing, and planning. We use GIS to port data we already have, to meet the requirements at both local and State levels. For example, our MPO performance metrics would be the same as SHA’s reporting metrics.”

In general, SHA is advancing a performance-driven approach to operations and planning within the organization. This approach includes monitoring mobility performance, identifying freight performance metrics, and monitoring assets within its central eGIS. The challenge for SHA is not about getting the data to report on performance management, but on identifying which metrics and measures matter most to its overall perception of performance—both internally and for the public and State officials.


SHA identified a number of benefits to its use of GIS solutions, particularly its Enterprise GIS, as part of its efforts in TPM and asset management:


SHA lists two key challenges to its overall development of an eGIS system and the dashboards:

Recommendations and Lessons Learned

MDOT-SHA shares the following recommendations and lessons learned for other agencies pursuing enterprise GIS systems for performance management:

Next Steps

SHA has listed a few next steps for these efforts as they eye a more integrated performance management process:

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Appendix A: List of Case Study Participants

Agency Name Title Work Phone Email
South Carolina Department of Transportation Lynsee Gibson Director of Program Controls 803-737-1170
Kevin Gantt Asset Management Engineer 803-737-5808
Todd Anderson Road Data Services Engineer 803-737-1468
Ohio Department of Transportation David Blackstone GIS Manager
Office of Technical Services
Andrew Williams Administrator 614-752-4059
Vermont Department of Transportation Kevin Viani Data Management Supervisor 802-279-4883
Chad Allen Director
Asset Management and Performance Bureau
Maryland State Highway Administration Laurie Goudy eGIS Program Manager
Assistant Division Chief, OPPE
Subrat Mahapatra Transportation Manager 410-545-5649
U.S. DOT FHWA Headquarters Mark Sarmiento GIS Planning Specialist 202-366-4828
Chris Allen Chief
Division of Highway System Performance
Ronald Vaughn Senior Transportation Specialist 202-366-9248
Chris Chang Senior Transportation Specialist 202-366-4657
Michael Nesbitt Senior Transportation Specialist 202-366-1179
U.S. DOT Volpe Center Andrew Reovan Community Planner 617-494-3843
Alisa Fine Community Planner 617-494-2310
Amy Sheridan Senior Analyst 617-494-3563
Anthony Thomas Policy Analyst 617-494-2689

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Appendix B: Interview Guide

Volpe used the following questionnaire to guide discussions with interviewees during a 60-90 minute discussion, held in August and September 2015.

  1. How do GIS/geospatial tools support your agency’s performance management efforts? For example, do you use GIS to:
    • Develop performance plans?
    • Inform investment decisions?
    • Share condition and performance information among stakeholders?

    Can you provide any specific examples of these tools? Who can use/access these tools?

    If your agency has not yet started using any geospatial tools for transportation performance management—when do you anticipate doing so? What are some factors or issues that your agency will consider in developing these tools?

  2. Are you working across disciplines (e.g., with safety, operations, etc.) within your agency on this initiative/initiatives? If so, can you provide more details?
  3. How are you managing performance management data using these tools?
  4. Does your Agency use Federal Funds to support any of its GIS activities. If so, what types of funds?
  5. Has your agency tried to calculate the return on investment of its GIS performance management tools?
  6. What are your future plans for your GIS for performance management efforts?
  7. What have been the biggest successes or challenges relating to efforts to develop GIS-TPM tools or share/collect/maintain GIS-TPM data? Are there any general lessons learned resulting from these efforts that you may want to share with others?

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1 Additional information on FHWA’s Office of TPM and the MAP-21 national performance goals are available at
2 See the FHWA GIS in Transportation website:
3 Uses of Geospatial Applications for Transportation Performance Management: Peer Exchange.
4 Additional information on FHWA’s Office of TPM and the MAP-21 national performance goals are available at
5 See FHWA’s discussion of the difference between TPM and asset management approaches at
6 Additional information on FHWA’s PBPP framework is available at
7 FHWA’s 2012 report on “Best Practices in GIS-Based Transportation Asset Management” provides additional information on using GIS tools to support asset management goals - see Some of the examples included in the 2012 document are also referenced in this peer exchange report.
8 As an example of how to identify strategic goals, VTrans referenced the so-called Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom (DIKW) Pyramid, which helps conceptualize how raw data can lead to deeper understanding of the processes at work. The concept of the DIKW Pyramid is most frequently attributed to Russell Ackoff, see: Ackoff, Russell (1989). “From Data to Wisdom.” Journal of Applied Systems Analysis 16: 3-9.
11 Content no longer available.
12 For an overview of the project development process, see:
13 For historical SHA Mobility Reports from 2012, 2013, and 2014, see the following:
14 Ibid.

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