Semantic Representation of Road Infrastructure Information

Dissertation Date: June 30, 2022

     A successful transportation infrastructure project is completed by a multi-sectoral
collaboration. Its entire lifecycle involves the cooperation of designers, contractors, suppliers,
operators, users, government agencies, and maintenance staff. Throughout the life cycle of the
project, a huge amount from different fields is generated and stored. Therefore, an efficient
information exchange approach among sectors is critical to ensure the success of the project.
Additionally, the World Wide Web is ubiquitous, and it is enmeshed with various business
processes. Therefore, it is imperative to represent business information in a format that improves
information exchange and sharing, as well as automated processing of business data. Ideally,
transportation feature lifecycle data that is scattered across different sources of information, such
as requirement documents, design documents and software, geographic information systems
(GIS), sensor-generated data, and maintenance and repair databases, all can be exchanged and
shared across the Internet. However, the reality is the information in each transportation sector is
created and updated separately. Moreover, the transportation project data is stored in different
formats, such as text document, pdf, XML, and relational database. Different systems, file
formats, technologies, and semantics hinder the smooth exchange of information and
interoperability of systems throughout the lifecycle of transportation features (van Nederveen et
al. 2015). Therefore, a new approach is required to model data to facilitate the automatic
integration of the distributed sources of data generated through the lifecycle of a transportation
     This dissertation proposes a novel approach to transportation infrastructure projects that
makes use of the Semantic Web (SW) technology. The SW technology is presented as a
modeling framework for representing various sources of transportation feature information, such
as the design documents, geographic information system (GIS), and pavement distress analysis
report. A vocabulary is developed in this study to represent all the information involved in this
modeling framework. The data structured by SW technology creates a knowledge base. This
kind of knowledge base can take advantage of machine processing, facilitate interoperability
among distributed systems, and allow domain users to loosely and on-demand integrate several
geographically, organizationally, or temporally distributed sources of information. For each
road-related domain, this extendable data model allows domain engineers to easily and
independently complete a domain knowledge base and keep it up to date through the lifecycle of
the project. This study focuses on streamlining the integration of distributed road infrastructure
information provided by road designers, estimators, schedulers, and GIS. The information stored
in the knowledge bases can be queried with Simple Protocol and Resource Description
Framework Query Language (SPARQL) endpoints or semantic web service.