Chapter 1: Texas Reference Marker System

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Section 1: Introduction to TRM

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What is TRM?

TRM is the acronym for the Texas Reference Marker System. This automated system documents the past, present, and future state-maintained highway network of on-system roadways in the State of Texas. The database contains:

  • Mileage for every segment of the highway network
  • All secondary designations of any roadway segment
  • Administrative responsibilities of any roadway segment
  • Any classifications assigned by federal or state authorities
  • Configuration of all roadbeds for each route
  • Physical properties of each highway and roadbed, including dimensions and materials.
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Development of the TRM System

In 1988, the Highway Systems Functional Review Team identified some critical needs related to highway data:

  • No common reference key for all highway related data
  • A time delay for Roadway Information System (RIS) data input
  • No single source of complete data for roadway data summaries (see Purpose in Transportation Planning Policy Manual, Section 3).

Administrative Order 30-88 (see also Reference in Transportation Planning Policy Manual, Section 3) called for the creation of a department-wide, single location reference key. The Texas Reference Marker project began in March 1989 to comply with this Order. The project fulfilled the following goals:

  • Physically locating reference markers on the highway
  • Providing a unique location reference using reference markers
  • Providing a consecutive numbering scheme from the beginning to the end of the highway
  • Requiring modifications to all current information management systems and other computer software that refer to highway locations, as practical, to the new highway reference marker system. All future software development will employ this new highway reference marking system
  • Automating the Road Inventory 1 (RI-1) road logs (see Summary in Transportation Planning Policy Manual, Section 3).

Transportation Planning and Programming Division (TPP) implemented TRM in May 1995, when the division’s TRM analysts and district Reference Marker coordinators began maintaining TRM.

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Documents Establishing TRM

This table contains summaries of documents that established and provided procedures for the Texas Reference Marker System. This manual replaces these documents:

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Administrative Order 30-88 “Establishment of a Highway Reference Marker Location System”, dated 10/21/88—Designates the TRM Project to develop the automated system and redefines mileposts as reference markers. See Transportation Planning Policy Manual, Chapter 4, Section 3

Administrative Circular 1-90 “Procedure for Initial Installation of Uniform Reference Markers”, dated 2/5/90—Provides verification and installation guidelines, asks the districts to appoint Reference Marker Coordinators, and furnishes Reference Marker sign specifications

Administrative Announcement 3-90 forwarding Minute Order 089979 and Minute Order 089979 designates Business Routes and establishes the statewide policy that all highways shall be signed as they are designated

  • Administrative Circular 4-90 “Highway Designations and Posted Signs”, dated 3/23/90—Explains Minute Order 89979 more thoroughly

Administrative Circular 16-90 “Procedure for Installation and Maintenance of Uniform Reference Markers”, dated 8/20/90—Provides guidelines for assigning reference marker numbers to different highway situations and reviews Highway system hierarchy

Administrative Circular 8-92 “Roadway Information System (RIS) Data Maintenance”, dated 6/11/92—Outlines TRM Data element and attribute (Divisions, Districts, and Joint)

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Benefits of TRM

TRM addresses the critical needs related to highway data:

  • Reference markers are physically located on the road. Some other forms of location (control-section-milepoint, link-node) appear only on special maps
  • Data records are physically located in the field by relationship to posted reference markers
  • The common key allows communication among other databases which employ the reference marker key
  • Data corrections are more timely and more accurate because the district offices are responsible for data entry and validation
  • Concurrent routes and on- and off- system links are defined for the first time in any automated file, creating a consecutive reference numbering scheme and seamless network
  • TRM analysts add a route and most of its roadway-related data to TRM before the route opens to traffic.
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What This Manual Provides

This manual provides TRM users with the necessary information to input data to or extract data from TRM, such as:

  • A complete listing of data elements and their definitions. Terms defined in the TxDOT Glossary appear in red, underlined text; click on these terms to go to the definitions.
  • Complete explanations of procedures necessary to input data and create and maintain the file
  • Thorough explanations of the requirements and restrictions of the TRM database system operating environment
  • Statements of responsibilities, sequencing, and the relationship of all offices involved in maintaining the file
  • Thorough descriptions of the reports available through the TRM system
  • Complete explanations of TRM error messages on data entry screens
  • Appendix that defines values on the traffic query screen.
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