National Road Network

Consultation objectives

Having recently taken over responsibility for maintaining the National Road Network (NRN), Statistics Canada has been reviewing the NRN's data model.

The NRN contains trusted geospatial data on Canadian road characteristics, and forms a foundational layer of the GeoBase initiative. GeoBase is a federal, provincial and territorial government initiative that is overseen by the Canadian Council on Geomatics. It ensures that access is provided to an up-to-date and maintained base of high-quality geospatial data for all of Canada. Through the GeoBase portal, users can access this information at no cost and with unrestricted use.

In an ongoing effort to improve products and services, Statistics Canada has opened a dialogue with users and partners of this product. As part of this initiative, a consultation was organized to seek input on the NRN's data model, and to ensure that it meets users' needs.

Consultation methodology

Statistics Canada conducted an online consultation from May to August 2019. Participants were asked a series of questions pertaining to the current quality and future development of the NRN data model.

How participants got involved

This consultation is now closed.

Individuals who wished to obtain more information or to take part in a consultation were requested to contact Statistics Canada by sending an email to

Statistics Canada is committed to respecting the privacy of consultation participants. All personal information created, held or collected by the agency is protected by the Privacy Act. For more information on Statistics Canada's privacy policies, please consult the Privacy notice.


Seven questions were presented to participants, pertaining to both the current state and the future of the NRN.

  • The majority of participants are satisfied with the current annual release interval, with quarterly releases being the next most popular.
  • Most participants see sufficient value in adding attributes for divided highways and National Highway System (NHS) association, but not for direction of digitization and truck prohibition.
  • Participants see a need for higher completion rates for address ranges, speed limits and road types.
  • The majority of participants are satisfied with the current list of road classifications. The most desired expansions include railways, bridges and culverts.
  • Participants are evenly split on the idea of retiring the junctions point layer.
  • The majority of participants are satisfied with the current list of structures. The most desired expansion is railway crossings.
  • Most participants are satisfied with the currently available positional accuracy of 10 metres. However, many participants desire sub-metre accuracy.

After our analysis, our recommendations include the following:

  • Move toward more timely processing updates, which will improve temporal accuracy.
  • Identify roads that are a part of the NHS; do not include direction of digitization or indicators of where trucks are prohibited.
  • Maintain the existing road class list. However, include additional classes that are not currently part of the NRN specification, but that can be found in the released data.
  • Retire the road junctions as a part of the NRN dataset, but provide ad hoc support as needed.
  • Maintain the current list of structures where a road may cross, but monitor the number of crossings against other datasets. If there is a significant change in occurrences of roads crossing unaccounted-for structures, then revisit the list.
  • Adopt a five-metre accuracy standard across the NRN.