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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH DIGEST

ARIZONA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

e-mail jsemmens@cox.net

NOVEMBER 2005

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There are a series of spatial and mapping technologies and tools available to support the development and enhancement of PMS. These include automatic mapping tools, traditional GIS packages, data management systems with enabled spatial capabilities, and middleware applications developed to support highway and asset management.

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Implementation of the spatial or GIS-based tools has been approached as an individual effort by the PMS group or as an agency-wide cooperative effort. Approximately one-half of the state DOTs approached the GIS implementation as an agency-wide effort.

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The main problems identified with the development and use of spatial (e.g., GIS-based) PMS applications are related to the use of different referencing methods, the level of effort required to develop and maintain the spatial-enabled databases, and the handling of temporal issues.

The main improvements that were identified for using GIS and other spatial techniques to develop PMS tools include (1) better automatic techniques and procedures to facilitate the integration and resolution of data collected and stored using different linear referencing methods; (2) enhanced map-matching techniques; and (3) incorporation of temporal dimensions to handle changes in the roadway geometry and alignment, pavement condition and structure capacity, and maintenance treatments and costs. Enhanced dynamic segmentation capabilities and

database management capabilities to facilitate system integration are also important. These enhancements will not only improve PMS but will also help advance data quality and accessibility throughout the organization and, hence, streamline the work processes.

GIS and other spatial analysis tools provide effective alternatives for developing PMS tools. Current state of the practice includes the use of GIS and other spatial tools for map generation and database integration. GIS can be useful for preparing colored maps and graphic displays of information. Spatial database management systems, such as those included in GIS and other tools, are very useful for facilitating the integration of data with graphic information and with different data sets.

Spatial analysis tools and technologies may allow for more advanced analysis. Examples include performance prediction by jurisdiction, geographic integration of sections into projects, and resource allocation among districts or regions. Many GIS packages and highway management spatial tools have incorporated the spatial modeling capabilities and functionality necessary for conducting these types of analyses. Only a very limited number of states are currently using spatial analysis tools as part of the PMS decision-making process.

Although the use of GPS has many potential advantages in terms of location accuracy and data integration, it also creates a significant challenge regarding compatibility with historical data and interoperability with existing systems. These are the main problems reported with the use of spatial tools for pavement and asset management systems.

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