Create a route using the Make Route tool

There are two primary ways for creating routes from existing lines. You can create routes using either of the following:

  • The Create Routes geoprocessing tool
  • The Make Route editing tool
This topic will focus on using the Make Route tool Make Route, which is located in the Modify Features pane and creates a route from selected line features. To learn more about creating routes from existing lines, see Create routes using the Create Routes geoprocessing tool.

Selecting the features

When you create routes from existing lines using the Make Route tool, you must select the line or lines whose geometry you want to copy to create the route. The selected features can be from one or more of the linear feature layers already in your map or any supported data format. You can use any method available to select the linear feature.

Setting the parameters

Once the linear features are selected, use the Make Route tool to set the parameters for how your new route will be created.

The first parameter you set is the Template setting. If no templates appear, check to see if the route layer is in the Contents pane. Next, you will set the start point. The start point is where the route measure values begin. There are two ways to set the start point:

  • First, you can click a point on the map. When you choose this option, you will note that as you move your pointer around the map, the start point automatically snaps to one of the selected feature's endpoints.
  • Second, you can use a coordinate priority of lower left, lower right, upper left, or upper right. These coordinate priorities are determined using a bounding rectangle around the selected set of linear features. Measure values start based on the endpoint from the selected feature closet to the selected coordinate priority.

The next parameter you set determines how the measure values are obtained. When selecting Geometric Length, it is important to realize the target layer's coordinate system units determine each selected feature's geometric length, not the feature's native coordinate system. This occurs because, within a single map frame, features with different coordinate systems can be projected on the fly.

The Measure Field option takes measure values from the selected measure field and accumulates the values.

Use the From/To option when you know the start and end measure values for the new route. ArcGIS Pro interpolates measure values between the start and end.

Multiplying measures is useful when you want to convert between measure units. For example, your stored route feature class data has a coordinate system unit in feet. You want the measures on your routes to be in miles. You would multiply your measures by 0.0001893994 to convert from feet to miles. The measure multiplication factor is applied before the selected lines are merged to create a route.

The Start measure option is useful when you want your new route to have a start measure other than 0.

The last parameter you set indicates whether you want the measures to be continuous on disjointed routes. If you choose noncontinuous measures, the calculated gap distance uses the target layer's coordinate system units. This may cause unexpected measure values; for example, you will get unexpected measure values if the target layer's coordinate system units are meters and you are using a field that stores mileage values to accumulate the measure.


This check box is not available when using the From/To option to set the measures.

See Create a route from line features for a step-by-step guide to complete this workflow.

Setting the attributes

Creating the new route in the target feature class clears the selected input linear features, and selects the newly created route. This is so you can set the attributes, such as the route identifier.

Complex routes

The process of creating a complex route is similar to that of creating a simple route. The only difference is that you must build a complex route in pieces. After creating the pieces, the routes are ready to be merged. See Create a complex route by merging for a step-by-step guide to complete this workflow.