National Road Network Pilot Project

The Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) is a national level highway information system that includes data on the extent, condition, performance, use and operating characteristics of the nation's highways. The HPMS contains administrative and extent of system information on all public roads, while information on other characteristics is represented in HPMS as a mix of universe and sample data for arterial and collector functional systems. Limited information on travel and paved miles is included in summary form for the lowest functional systems. 
The Department of Transportation Appropriations Act, 2020, H. P.L. 116-94 provided funding for a National Road Network Pilot (NRNP) Program. Additional funding for the NRNP was provided via the Consolidated Appropriations Act in January 2021 (Public Law 116-260).
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The NRNP will gather requirements and the process framework to improve the quality of the HPMS road network in three areas:
  1. Connectivity of networks at intra- and inter-state borders,
  2. Spatial representation of multi-carriageway roadways, and
  3. Spatial accuracy of networks.
These focus areas will be addressed through outreach to select pilot states and coordination with U.S. Department of Transportation agencies.  The project will identify tools for improved network edge matching and standardized reporting of data that are attached to state linear road networks.  Requirements for interagency use will be identified.  A working project timeline is below.


The FHWA maintains the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) to collect state level roadway information. Since its inception in 1978, the HPMS evolved to become a critical data source for system performance assessment and national infrastructure investment models. Following updates during the last decade, the HPMS now includes state level spatial road networks for all public roads.
HPMS spatial networks (referred to as ARNOLD) are now a critical source for several national applications. ARNOLD is updated annually, directly sourced from state departments of transportation, and includes all public roads. FHWA applications using ARNOLD:
  • the National Highway Planning Network (NHPN),
  • the National Highway System (NHS),
  • the Freight Analysis Framework (FAF),
  • the Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS), and
  • the Fatality Analysis Reporting System  (FARS).
Although the networks created from HPMS are extensive, state to state connectivity, complete intersection models, and consistent roadway representation between states would increase their application. Recent attempts to use ARNOLD for natural disaster impact assessment have highlighted the need for these enhancements.
With dedicated funding from Congress, the FHWA embarked on a project to enhance ARNOLD. The project, called the National Road Network Pilot or NRNP, will produce a national route file with improved spatial network connectivity across jurisdiction lines, refined data to network relationships and improved spatial accuracy. It is expected that these enhancements will lead to improved usability of tARNOLD for applications including travel monitoring, safety analysis, freight modeling and emergency response.

Program Timeline

NRN Schedule

Project Activity

The FHWA project team is focusing on the several tasks including the following:
Pilot grant administration:
Grant requests are being distributed to the eight pilot states. States requesting NRN grants in the pilot phase are Alabama, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
State match points:
FHWA developed match points for roads that cross state borders and shared them with Pilot states. These match points will be a critical tool in the development of connected route networks between states. More information on these match points including anticipated used cases will be shared as NRN data sets are developed.
U.S. Road Specification (USRS) development:
The FHWA must produce a unified data standard to improve national network data quality per National Road Network Pilot (NRNP) funding requirements. Work to develop a spatial road network standard is underway via the U.S. Road Specification Working Group (RSWG) under the auspices of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC, A draft of the USRS developed in spring 2022 is being reviewed prior to submission to FGDC.  A copy of the latest draft USRS is available on the Documents site of this page.


GIS-T Presentation
April 20, 2022

This presentation described ongoing work in each of the eight Pilot states to improve route connectivity, spatial representation, and accuracy. Information about FHWA products from state level changes, road specification development, and coordination with other ongoing FHWA projects was also be shared.  The session included review of the US Road Specification and work on to date on the USRS Draft.
Pilot DOT Workshops 
Over the course of the NRNP, several workshops will engage participating states to identify challenges and opportunities to meet the HPMS Pilot objectives. Additional information about these workshops as it becomes available. 
National Outreach Webinars
Webinars to brief state Departments of Transportation will be held to engage the broader HPMS community.  Content from past webinars is available in the Past Events section. 
GIS-T Workshop
April 19, 2021

FHWA staff Justin Clarke and Tom Roff conducted a National Road Network (NRN) workshop at the annual AASHTO GIS-T Conference.  The workshop engaged participants in planning for the new HPMS data model to support the NRN. In addition, an overview of the NRN project, gathered feedback about proposed NRN activities.

National Roads Network Symposium
September 16-17, 2020 
The symposium obtained stakeholder input and perspective from the private sector and research community with regard to the status, goals, needs, and missing pieces of national spatial (GIS based) road networks for transportation use. This feedback will be used to help guide priorities, federal funding and resource allocations during the development of enhanced, national networks derived from the Highway Performance Monitoring System.
Several big picture questions were addressed during the symposium. 
  • What are the goals and key elements of a national spatial roadway network? 
  • How would this data be used?
  • How do we improve the HPMS spatial data to better serve the transportation community’s needs? 
  • How would these improvements impact the core objectives of the HPMS program? 

Documents (click to download)

Based on the NRN Pilot project activities and findings, this report contains several resulting recommendations for moving forward with the NRN.
This draft of the USRS developed in spring 2022 is being reviewed prior to submission to FGDC.

GIS-T Symposium (April 20, 2022)
National Road Network GIS-T Presentation Slides (pdf)

NRNP National Webinar (July 22, 2021)

GIS-T Symposium (April 19, 2021)

National Road Network Symposium Documents (September 16-17, 2020)
This briefing paper is intended to provide background information relating to the need for and status of national road networks. This paper was used as advanced reading for participants in the National Roads Network Symposium.

This white paper documents the discussion that occurred during the symposium. It draws on information contained in materials circulated as part of the symposium as well as inputs received from participants in the event.

Office of Highway Policy Information
The Office of Highway Policy Information serves as the national source of surface transportation data; providing the U.S. DOT, Congress, and transportation community with accurate information products in a timely manner to inform the development and implementation of decisions, policies, legislation, programs, and performance goals, while constantly striving to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of data collection and analysis on travelers and the physical, operational and financial condition of our transportation system.