Best Practices and Toolkit for Location Referencing in Transportation Asset Management

Project Summary


In development

Last Updated

May, 2019

Responsible Council / Committee

Infrastructure & Asset Management Council / Asset Management Committee

Expected Duration

18 months

Total Funding Estimate


Staff Contact


Over the past decade, emerging information technologies such as web-based computing and global positioning systems (GPS) have led to the development of more sophisticated and complex functionality (such as support for linear referencing systems, or LRS) within geographic information systems that support transportation needs (GIS-T). New commercial software solutions have enhanced existing GIS products and provide better support for the management of road network databases, the linear referencing methods (LRMs) associated with them, and the business data (roadway assets, in particular) that are located relative to these networks.

There is a growing need for Canadian transportation agencies at all levels of government to ensure that their underlying GIS technologies and associated business practices provide full support for the creation and maintenance of enterprise-wide integrated databases to support initiatives such as the implementation of advanced asset management frameworks and associated software systems. Unfortunately, information pertaining to current best practices in this area is limited.


This project will address the above issues by reviewing current Canadian and international practices to answer the following questions:

  • What is the maturity level of agencies regarding the implementation of GIS-T to support organizational progress toward advanced AM frameworks?
  • What data standards are needed and in place, in particular those supporting road network databases?
  • How are the road centreline network spatial dataset and its associated LRS defined and synchronized as changes occur over time?
  • To what extent are multi-level linear referencing systems (MLLRS) incorporating multiple LRMs, spatial geometries and network definitions being implemented?
  • What field data collection techniques are being used to collect road network and asset data?
  • What advanced software solutions are being used to facilitate the associated data integration problems?

The proposed project will synthesize best practices, and recommend tools and techniques for agencies of all sizes, resource constraints and GIS implementation maturity. It will show how GIS can support agencies in moving from individual asset management systems to enterprise asset management solutions, supporting their overall asset management frameworks.

The key tasks proposed to achieve the above objectives include:

  • A literature review of relevant Canadian and international GIS-T publications in the indicated subject areas including those of national organizations, user groups and GIS vendors.
  • Review and analysis of the results of practitioner surveys including the TAC and AASHTO annual surveys as well as other similar initiatives to be identified during the project.
  • Review of relevant national and international standards.
  • Review of documentation for existing and proposed vendor GIS-T software solutions.
  • Selected interviews with subject area experts to be identified during the project.
  • Consideration of potential differences in practices between primarily rural agencies and primarily urban agencies.
  • Preparation of a synthesis of best practices and toolkit for TAC member agencies.
  • Presentation of project results and recommendations to the TAC GIS-T Subcommittee, Asset Management Task Force and Chief Engineers’ Council.
  • Preparation of monthly project status reports and interim project committee briefings (GIS-T and AMTF).

The anticipated deliverables are:

  • Best Practices for Location Referencing in Transportation Asset Management
  • Toolkit for Location Referencing in Transportation Asset Management

Download the RFP here