Highway Alignment Optimization: An Integrated BIM and GIS Approach

Linlin Zhao, Zhansheng Liu*, Jasper Mbachu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
327 Downloads (Pure)


Highway infrastructure plays an important role in assuring the proper function of the nation's transportation. Highway alignment is an essential part of the highway planning and design phase, which has significant effects on the surroundings. Identifying optimal highway routes while using traditional methods requires significant time, cost, and effort, since it requires a comprehensive assessment of multiple factors, such as cost and environmental impacts. This study proposes an approach for managing highway alignment in the context of a larger landscape that integrates building information modelling (BIM) and geographic information system (GIS) capabilities. To support this integration, semantic web technologies are used to integrate data on a semantic level. Moreover, the approach also uses genetic algorithms (GAs) for optimizing highway alignments. A fully automated model is developed that enables data interoperability between BIM and GIS systems and also allows for data exchange between the integration model and the optimization algorithm. The model enables the full exploitation of features of the project and its surroundings for highway alignment planning. The proposed model is also applied to a real highway project to validate its effectiveness. The visualization model of the highway project and its surroundings provides a realistic three-dimensional image that produces a comprehensive virtual environment, where the project could be effectively planned and designed. That can help to reduce design errors and miscommunication, which, in turn, reduces project risks. Moreover, geological and geographical analyses help to identify geohazards and environmentally sensitive regions. The proposed model facilitates highway alignment planning by providing a cross-disciplinary approach to close the gap between the infrastructural and geotechnical planning processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172
Number of pages28
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


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