Cutting Red Tape and Pollution from Unpaved Roads by Using a Geographic Information System

Steven M. Bloser, Woodrow J. Colbert

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A case study in the implementation and use of a customized geographic information system (GIS) as an administrative tool is described. A modified GIS is being used to provide full administrative support for a $4 million/year transportation grant program with a single part-time support staff person in the central office. Pennsylvania's Dirt and Gravel Road Pollution Prevention Program was enacted into law as Section 9106 of the State Vehicle Code in 1997 and is administered locally through county-based soil conservation districts. The program uses a simplified and customized GIS that enables personnel at 65 county conservation districts to use the system with minimal training. The customized GIS enabled a statewide assessment of more than 17,000 mi of unpaved roads to be conducted in 6 months. That assessment geographically identified and evaluated more than 11,000 pollution sites at which unpaved road runoff adversely affects stream quality. Pollution site assessments, record keeping, and reporting have been incorporated into the modified GIS to provide paperless, centralized reporting in keeping with the program's core values - streamlined administrative structure, emphasis on local control, and effective prevention of stream pollution from dust and sediment generated by unpaved roads. The value that a customized GIS can have for similar applications is illustrated by providing a walk-through of how the system works, why it has been accepted, and what it accomplishes for this innovative non-point-source pollution prevention effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1819
StatePublished - 2003
EventEight International Conference on Low-Volume Roads 2003 - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2003Jun 25 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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