Transportation planning agencies such as state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are increasingly relying on computer-based tools to help manage and analyze data, and to present study results to decision makers and stakeholders. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) represent a class of computer-based data management tools that have become increasingly useful to transportation agencies in a variety of applications. Among state DOTs, the most common applications of GIS include road inventory management, environmental studies, and dissemination of planning and operations information to the general public.
This overview section provides a general introduction to GIS, including a discussion of why GIS is important in transportation environmental applications, a brief historical review on the adoption of GIS in transportation, and pertinent federal laws and regulations. Additional information related to GIS in transportation can be found at FHWA’s GIS in Transportation website.