What is Esri Roads and Highways?

Esri Roads and Highways is a data management application suite that provides an integrated framework for maintaining highway data with linear referencing systems (LRS) on an enterprise level. It simplifies many aspects of LRS management and streamlines the workflow, resulting in significant time savings for any implementation.

Esri Roads and Highways provides tools for communicating the changes in highway alignments from business systems to the geographic information system (GIS) and from the GIS to the business systems in a way that promotes data integrity and reduces duplication of effort. Maintenance tasks are managed through targeted workflows which ensure that the right individuals are doing the right work at the right time.

Roads and Highways handles complex geodatabase tasks behind the scenes by automating the synchronization between highway changes and the impact they have on event layers. Roads and Highways integrates with ArcMap and ArcGIS Server to provide a robust editing experience which is feature rich with tools for editing and querying LRS and related data.

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Distribute business data throughout the enterprise

Roads and Highways is designed to leverage LRS data across the enterprise. This means providing access to the LRS from various business systems and integrating business data through GIS. Roads and Highways promotes the concept that GIS is the logical integration platform for joining data across disparate systems. While each business system may reference the highway in different ways using different systems of measure, understanding all implemented linear referencing methods (LRM) allows Roads and Highways to integrate data that is traditionally considered nonspatial in a spatial way. This provides decision makers with access to more data across the enterprise so they can make more informed decisions.

Communicate LRS updates through redlining

A common challenge in GIS-based enterprise LRS systems is that business systems become unsynchronized with GIS because the business unit must continue adding records to their databases even when the GIS is not up-to-date. Roads and Highways provides a mechanism for communicating updates to the LRS so that business units can continue working without waiting for the GIS to clear its edit queue. The redline is a markup feature in the geodatabase that stores information about changes in the LRS. It contains measure values so it can be used as a substitute route feature until the actual LRS Network has been updated in the GIS. When you become aware of an error, omission, or planned change in the LRS, you can create a redline feature that GIS editors use to update the LRS.

Standardize your business process

Roads and Highways leverages ArcGIS Workflow Manager, which lets you define your business process using the available workflow tools. These workflows represent blueprints for the steps required to accomplish a set of defined tasks for highway projects. Since your business process might change over time, Workflow Manager allows you to make changes to your blueprints throughout their existence. These workflows are associated to activity types for a discrete set of updates that can be made to the highway. The following highway management activity types are available in Roads and Highways:

These activities can be configured and extended using Workflow Manager to support your specific workflows.

Manage event locations

Another major challenge with any LRS is figuring out what to do with event data when the underlying route network changes. Because event locations are based on the length of the route, changes to the route will likely incur changes to the event measures. Many LRS implementations attempt to manage these potential changes through complex offset equations that restrict the location of events to a fixed point on the ground by translating the measure values to updated route locations on the fly. Two key issues with this approach are that they apply to all event layers unilaterally, and they don't adequately communicate the changes in the highway back to the business unit that requires the location information.

Roads and Highways helps you control event locations at the event layer level rather than the route layer. When you register event data with the LRS, you are asked to specify a behavior rule based on the type of activity being performed on the highway. Event layers can have different behaviors depending on the type of work being performed. Roads and Highways provides the following event behavior rules:

Manage time

Roads and Highways is time aware. This means that users have the ability to view the highway in past, present, and future states. When an existing highway alignment is changed, the original alignment is preserved so that users can roll back the LRS to see the state of the highway and its associated events at any point in time. Planned routes can be added with an effective time in the future so that they automatically become active when the plan date is reached. This helps prevent problems associated with the time gap between a road being opened to traffic and actually being entered in the GIS. You can add the road to the GIS as soon as you are aware that it is intended to be built and update it throughout its construction and maintenance life cycle. Assets and incidents can be tracked against the new alignment even before it is opened to traffic.

Integrate with GIS and other applications

Roads and Highways allows you to integrate with all of your business systems regardless of whether they contain any GIS data. Business data is registered with the LRS using a read-only connection without actually being loaded into the GIS. When changes are made to the LRS, the impact of these changes is written to staging tables within the GIS and communicated to the business system through ArcGIS Server web services.

Roads and Highways provides a rich suite of LRS query methods through the Roads and Highways REST API. Developers can create rich Internet applications (RIA) or extend existing web and desktop products to identify and translate LRM values, query routes, and evaluate event measures. The full suite of Roads and Highways Server functionality is available through REST and compliments existing ArcGIS Server REST and SOAP APIs.


Because Roads and Highways spatially enables business data from non-GIS systems and integrates it through the LRS, you can create a wide variety of reports through event overlay geoprocessing. Core ArcGIS geoprocessing tools allow you to leverage Roads and Highways event layers to create data products that represent the intersection of events along highways. The output of a line overlay process can include a route reference, from measure, to measure, and values for each unique combination of linear events that are overlaid in the reporting criteria. Point outputs can include a single measure value for each record with the values for all target line events that intersect with that point. You can then use these data products with ArcGIS reporting tools to create a variety of custom reports.