Enhancing Electronic Highway Design Standards and Specifications

Within the last decade, highway design standards in electronic format have been developed by many organizations to help engineers and contractors work without piles of design standard books. Since the Iowa Electronic Reference Library (ERL) was developed for the Iowa DOT, designers, inspectors, contractors, and owners have studied the project requirements, specifications, and standard road plans more easily than before. Users can search or query information they need by using the internet-based ERL instead of reading through piles of books, as in the traditional research process. However, to make the ERL more usable, two areas of development are provided in this paper: (1) a framework for future development, and (2) recommendations for enhancing the existing system. The existing ERL can be more powerful and useful if it is always available from desktop computers and cell phones, or if it is used between web browsers and CADD software (e.g., Microstation or AutoCAD). Users would always have data when they need it. A designer could embed a road specification and a standard road plan into a drawing simply by clicking an icon in Microstation, and contractors can then read the drawing and retrieve the specification and standard by clicking another icon. However, ERL is currently a standalone application that is difficult to integrate with other software. An approach to this problem is to develop a new system on top of the existing ERL. The ERL2 model framework will be introduced in this paper under the concepts of reusability, availability, and extensibility with new web standards and technologies based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Resource Description Framework (RDF). The ERL2 architecture is composed of a programming model, a metadata model, and a data model, which are available to be developed separately. The new system will be used for major CADD software and software that implements specifications and standards, such as the Object-Oriented Design and Specification (OODAS) being developed at Iowa State University. The expected benefits of this research include saved work-hours and money. Currently, the ERL only supports the Microsoft Windows operating system with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Widely used mobile computers, such as PDAs or internet-based cellular phones, and Macintosh computers cannot interpret ERL data properly. To support other users and improve usability in the field, the ERL should be standardized. Other enhancements, including improving the search module and user interface, are also discussed.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 11p
  • Monograph Title: Proceedings of the 2005 Mid-Continent Transportation Research Symposium

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01004304
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780965231084
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 21 2005 1:02PM