X Marks the Road Infrastructure

drone image overhead of road with blue car and trees
drone image overhead of road with blue car and trees
Roads are the lifeblood of modern society and upkeep is no easy feat.

There’s a method to my road infrastructure management.

Developed and maintained by the Center for Technology and Training (CTT) at Michigan Technological University, Roadsoft is a roadway asset management system used by Michigan road agencies. The software allows agencies to easily track data on transportation infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and culverts, through specialized modules. Roadsoft is supported by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) as part of the statewide road asset management initiative, which means the software is available to Michigan road agencies for free and it can be licensed to out-of-state agencies.

Each Roadsoft module provides critical information on different infrastructure that help road agencies plan and manage maintenance activities — such as historical conditions and materials — as well as track previous reports, which is important to keep them safe for public use. If Roadsoft’s process could be visualized, it would look like a road under construction and you’d be able to see what the road needs.

infographic of a road with a pothole, bridge, and culvert
Roadsoft features multiple modules to represent all kinds of road infrastructure. Road agencies can use the data in these modules to get information about the state of Michigan’s roads and plan maintenance accordingly.

The foundation of every road agency’s asset management system is Roadsoft’s extensive Road module, and it comes pre-populated with each agency’s individual map database from the Michigan Framework Basemap. This information includes road names, legal classes and functional classes and is updated annually. Through this module, users can track all necessary data on roads from physical characteristics to historical pavement conditions. The Road module also features a pavement deterioration model which uses maintenance data in order to predict potential future conditions as well as a project planning utility to help plan maintenance activities.

Similarly, the Bridge module uses National Bridge Inspection reports from an MDOT database that agencies can use to plan inspections and maintenance. The module provides agencies with location and identification numbers, materials, load and dimension information, inspection history and scheduled maintenance activities entered by users.

Furthermore, Roadsoft makes it easy for users to access a lot of data at once. Through the filter, network and reporting tools built into the Culvert module, users can select a series of culverts along a waterway to generate lists of maintenance needs, work orders and general inventory information.

Users can even use the Culvert module to determine whether a culvert’s hydraulic capacity will be able to withstand an expected weather event. Roadsoft data revealed that Michigan has 196,000 culverts, and local agencies hold 1,789 miles worth of culvert assets — the distance between Houghton, Michigan and Miami, Florida.

Roadsoft’s database doesn’t end there. The software even tracks information on driveways, sidewalks, traffic signals and much more, making Roadsoft a valuable tool for road agencies to track and access considerable amounts of data on road infrastructures throughout the state of Michigan.

With the vital information stored in Roadsoft, agencies are able to plan and track maintenance activities to keep the roads consistently safe and accessible for the public. 

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.