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Sustainable Highways Initiative

Archives: FHWA Initiatives – News

This page contains archived items from the FHWA Initiatives - News page. To view the most recent items, click here.


2021

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FHWA Awards $18.7 Million to Eight Projects to Explore New Highway Funding Methods (3-2021)
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded $18.7 million in Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) grants to test new user-based funding methods for highways and bridges using innovative new ways to provide long-term support for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). New potential user fee structures can compliment traditional funding sources and provide for a more sustainable income to the HTF.

2020

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FHWA issues Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) for the 11th edition of the MUTCD (12-2020)
The Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) for the 11th edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) is available for public comment in the Federal Register. The NPA represents a comprehensive update to the MUTCD. Public comments may be submitted to the public docket. Comments may be submitted through March 15, 2021.

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FHWA Advances Research on Micromobility (11-2020)
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is advancing research on the rapidly evolving field of micromobility. FHWA is the lead convener on the topic, engaging offices across USDOT to coordinate on the numerous projects and initiatives and developing a prioritized research agenda for micromobility. FHWA’s efforts are designed to further the state of the practice, and promote collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. Recently FHWA posted a fact sheet on micromobility, and two handouts, which highlight FHWA and USDOT micromobility activities, resources, and research.

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Request for Nominations for Round 5 of Alternative Fuel Corridors Designations (11-2020)
Section 1413 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act requires the Secretary of Transportation to designate national electric vehicle (EV) charging, hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling corridors. FHWA is working with other Federal, State, and local officials, as well as private industry, to help plan and promote an Interstate network of stations that will fuel vehicles powered by clean and domestically produced alternative fuels, so commercial and passenger vehicles can reliably travel between cities, regions, and across the entire nation. FHWA announced that nominations for Round 5 designations are due by Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

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Changes to FHWA’s CMAQ Emission Reductions Calculator Toolkit (10-2020)
FHWA is continuing to develop a series of tools to provide technical support for the implementation of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) Program. Most recently, the Managed Lane Facilities and Conversions tool was updated, and FHWA hosted a webinar to demonstrate the Alternative Fuels and Vehicles and the Dust Mitigation tools.

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FHWA Offers Trainings on Traffic Noise Model 3.0 (10-2020)
FHWA’s Traffic Noise Model (TNM 3.0) was released in February 2020 and FHWA has been offering trainings for potential and existing users including a web-based course, videos, and webinars. These trainings supplement the written frequently asked questions (FAQs) and Getting Started documents and provide focused information related to the Installation and Project Setup processes in the model.

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Webinar on Truck Freight Sustainability Initiatives (9-2020)
FHWA held a webinar on three truck freight sustainability initiatives, focused on renewable fuels, enhanced truck operations, and improved truck construction, that are taking steps to reduce truck emissions and improve truck efficiency.

2019

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Call for Presentations: Transportation Resilience 2019 (3-2019)
FHWA is soliciting presentations for the International Conference on Resilience to Natural Hazards and Extreme Weather Events to be held in November 2019. The conference will focus on emerging best practices and research results on how to adapt surface transportation networks to the potential impacts of natural disasters and extreme weather events.

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INVEST Used in Florida Regional Transportation Planning (2-2019)
MetroPlan Orlando utilized FHWA’s Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST) to evaluate health and sustainability in the agency’s regional transportation plan. The results of the evaluation informed a summit that gathered 60 community leaders and led to the development of three white papers.
Health & Sustainability White Paper Series
MetroPlan Orlando - Integrating Health and Sustainability Principles into Transportation Planning

2018

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Nominations for New Alternative Fuel Corridor Designations Opened by FHWA (10-2018)
FHWA announced the opening of nominations for the third round of Alternative Fuel Corridor designations. The process seeks to add to the 58 designated Interstate corridors in 44 states that were included under the first two rounds of the program. Nominations are due on Jan. 31, 2019.

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Nature-Based Resilience Projects in Maine and New Hampshire (10-2018)
Green infrastructure solutions for coastal highway resilience in Maine and New Hampshire are detailed in a report by FHWA. The study analyzes the potential of a range of green infrastructure techniques to protect two highways (one in each State) from coastal flooding. The ecological and financial costs and benefits were evaluated, and the report provided options for each State to consider.

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Nebraska Undergoes NEPA Assignment (9-2018)
FHWA has announced that the Nebraska Department of Transportation will be assigned federal environmental review responsibilities related to highway projects that fall under categorical exclusions. The memorandum of understanding describes how the program will be implemented under the National Environmental Policy Act.

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FHWA Releases Tool for Sharing State Public Involvement Resources (5-2018)
A new tool developed by FHWA compiles public involvement resources from State transportation agencies. The tool links to resources from each State agency, such as NEPA public involvement resources, environmental justice policy statements, and Native American tribal consultation resources.

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Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool Updated (4-2018)
FHWA has announced the release of Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST) Version 1.3. This update includes minor edits, criteria clarifications, and fixes to broken resource hyperlinks.

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How Truck Platooning Works (1-2018) ‐ Content is no longer available
This article explains how onboard computers are used to connect trucks and allow vehicle-to-vehicle communications, and enable management of traffic by clustering trucks together. Tests show that platooning allows trucks to adjust to better follow the lead vehicle at a desired distance. Truck platooning can improve the flow of both freight traffic, and regular vehicle traffic, thereby reducing the emissions from idling engines.

2017

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FHWA Pilot Program for Resilience and Durability to Extreme Weather (12-2017)
FHWA has launched a pilot program that will partner with State DOTs, MPOs, Tribal governments, and Federal Lands Management Agencies to deploy one of the following three resiliency solutions: 1. Integration of resilience and durability into agency practices; 2. Utilizing current tools and resources to perform vulnerability and risk assessments of transportation systems and projects; or 3. Deploying and monitoring the performance of aa resilience solution.

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Call for Alternative Fuel Corridor (AFC) Nominations (10-2017)
The Federal Highway Administration has called for nominations for the 2017 Alternative Fuels Corridor. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act requires that the Secretary of Transportation must identify short- and long-term need, and location for, electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, propane fueling infrastructure, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along national highways to improve the mobility of passenger and commercial vehicles that employ renewable and low-carbon fuels across the country. Nominations are due by close of business on November 30, 2017. Contact Diane Turchetta at 202-493-0158 or Diane.Turchetta@dot.gov for more information.

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Series of FHWA Webinars on Climate Resiliency (9-2017)
A series of webinars focused on FHWA’s climate resiliency-focused projects. Topics include the impacts of climate conditions and extreme weather events on transportation projects, green infrastructure, and FHWA’s climate change and extreme weather vulnerability assessment framework. The webinars run from September 28 through November 16, 2017.

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New Vehicle-To-Vehicle Technologies Demonstrated by FHWA (9-2017)
FHWA conducted a test of emerging vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology. Three-truck platoons used the new Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control technology, which allows trucks to follow each other more closely and travel more efficiently.

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Health Considerations Integrated in North Central Texas’ Long-Range Planning (7-2017)
FHWA details how health considerations are being integrated into the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ (NCTCOG) Long Range Planning efforts. NCTCOG is using resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify health indicators, data for transportation-related public health measures, and strategies for public health.

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Webinar Recording: Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool (7-2017)
A webinar recording is now available for FHWA’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool, which analyzes and forecasts transportation energy consumption and related emissions, and addresses demand-side transportation strategies for climate policy.

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Winners of the 2017 Environmental Excellence Award Announced (5-2017)
The 2017 Environmental Excellence Award recipients were announced by FHWA in late May. Projects that received awards included the Massachusetts DOT’s Impaired Waters Program, Atlanta’s Roadside Emissions Exposure Study, and Colorado’s I-70 Eastbound Peak Period Shoulder Lane.

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Integrating Extreme Weather & Asset Management (5-22-2017)
FHWA is taking applications for developing 4-6 pilot case studies on extreme weather and climate risk in asset management. This program is for States that have begun to study the risks of extreme weather events and climate change. The application deadline is June 30, 2017.

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Transportation Planning Excellence Awards for 2017 Announced (5-2017)
The winners of FHWA’s 2017 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards were announced. The San Diego Association of Governments took “best of the best” award for its San Diego Forward Regional Plan. Winning initiatives/projects were focused on sustainable communities, transit systems, multimodal planning, community outreach, bicycle and pedestrian planning, and streetscapes.

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FHWA Newsletter On Air Quality and Climate Change (2-2017)
FHWA has published the December 2016/January 2017 newsletter, which includes information concerning the EPA’s final rule for air quality models, the proposed 2015 Ozone Standard Implementation Rule, and updates to the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator 2014a. The newsletter also provides information on the 6th Transportation Research Board annual meeting and lists upcoming meetings, conferences, workshops, and training opportunities.

2016

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Florida DOT and FHWA’s Environmental Review Agreement (12-2016)
Federally funded highway projects in Florida will save time and money under the new environmental review agreement between Florida DOT and FHWA. Under NEPA assignment, FDOT will be legally responsible for ensuring that all federally funded highway projects continue to comply with all aspects of NEPA prior to approving any related NEPA documents.

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FHWA Announces Third Round of Funding for INVEST (11-2016)
The Federal Highway Administration has announced a new round of funding for pilot projects that use the Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST). The INVEST tool is a collection of voluntary best practices designed to help transportation agencies conduct self-assessments. The Round 3 solicitation is open to state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and federal land management agencies.

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FHWA Releases Factsheet on Road Weather Management Framework (10-2016)
The Federal Highway Administration has released a factsheet highlighting the capability maturity framework (CMF) for road weather management (RWM). The RWM CMF assesses the institutional capacity of an agency or region to respond to adverse weather conditions from both a maintenance and operations perspective.

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FHWA Provides New Resources for ‘It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air’ Initiative (10-2016)
The Federal Highway Administration has added new resources to its “It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air” website, including new ideas and marketing materials to help communities reduce traffic congestion and pollution. The initiative provides tools to help mitigate congestion and promote alternative modes of transportation.

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Federal Register Notice: Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act—Designation of Alternative Fuel Corridors (7-2016)
The FHWA has issued a Federal Register Notice to invite nominations for Alternative Fuel Corridor Designations from State and local officials. Section 1413 of the FAST Act requires USDOT to establish electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, propane and natural gas fueling corridors.

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FHWA Selects Green Infrastructure Research Projects (7-2016)
The FHWA announced the selection of five State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and a Federal Lands Management Agency to conduct pilot projects to analyze the potential for nature-based solutions to protect coastal roads from climate change impacts such as sea level rise and storm surge flooding. The diverse set of projects covers the Gulf, Atlantic, and West Coasts. The pilots form part of a larger FHWA Strategic Initiatives project to provide transportation professionals with guidance on designing and implementing nature-based solutions to climate change impacts as part of transportation project planning, design, construction, and maintenance. The project will produce an implementation guide and sponsor peer exchanges.

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FHWA Rule Could Let DOTs Streamline More Projects With Limited Environmental Impact (6-2016)
A new FHWA rule going into effect June 30, 2016 enables state DOTs to negotiate more project maintenance or upgrade activities to count as potential “categorical exclusions” (CEs) from environmental review requirements. The FAST Act allows the FHWA to expand the number of CEs so that states could proceed with construction, maintenance, and infrastructure replacement projects in more areas without first going through detailed reviews, if that work would not have significant environmental impacts.

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FHWA Releases NPRM to Propose National Performance Management Measure Regulations (5-2016)
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) to propose national performance management measure regulations as required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”). The performance management measures will assess the performance of the National Highway System, Freight Movement on the Interstate System, and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

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Memo on Improving Pollinator Habitat (3-2016)
On March 25, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Gregory Nadeau released a memorandum providing updated information on improving pollinator habitat, as outlined in the recently enacted Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The memorandum is available on FHWA’s dedicated website to ecosystem and vegetation management.

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Federal Highway Administration Announces $60 Million in Grants for Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies (3-2016)
FHWA’s new program, Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment Program (ATCMTD), provides $60 million in grants to fund cutting-edge transportation improvement technologies that will improve safety, efficiency, system performance, and infrastructure return on investment. The Notice of Funding Opportunity for the program was released March 22, 2016.

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SHRP2 Anticipated Round 7 Implementation Assistance Program Products Announced (1-2016)
The FHWA/AASHTO Implementation Assistance Program (IAP) under SHRP2 has announced anticipated Round 7 funding opportunities. Informational sessions will be held in February and March. The application period will be April 1-29, 2016.

2015

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Sensors that could harvest clean energy from traffic on Texas roads (12-2015)
Researchers from the University of Texas San Antonio and Texas Transportation Institute have been awarded funding by the Texas DOT (that is jointly provided by FHWA) to develop piezoelectric sensors that can be placed under asphalt layers. Those sensors will use the energy generated from moving vehicles to power roadside lights, traffic signals, billboards, charging stations for electric cars and roadway monitoring sensors.

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DOT Releases New Online Tool to Help Promote Health through Transportation (11-2015)
The USDOT and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) jointly launched a new online tool that provides profiles of how transportation may be affecting human health in each State and region. The tool establishes a single site for State and local transportation decision-makers and health officials to understand how their transportation system may affect health and includes comparisons to other similar communities and strategies to improve health outcomes through transportation investments.

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Study Underway to Evaluate Alternative Cement Materials to Improve Sustainability (11-2015)
The Federal Highway Administration’s Exploratory Advanced Research Program is assessing alternative cementitious materials (ACMs) for applications in sustainable transportation infrastructure. These cement materials may provide potential advantages over traditional portland cement through reductions in embodied energy and greenhouse gases, as well as enhanced performance, which contributes to sustainability.

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FHWA Releases INVEST 1.2 (9-2015)
FHWA released version 1.2 of the Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST) on September 15, 2015. The tool update includes additional criteria, new user guides among other features.

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Recordings Available for Advancing a Sustainable Highway System Webinar Series (9-2015)
The Sustainable Transport and Climate Change Team within FHWA’s Office of Natural Environment recently posted webinar recordings related to the FHWA report Advancing a Sustainable Highway System: Highlights of FHWA Sustainability Activities. The aforementioned report illustrates how sustainability has been incorporated into a wide variety of FHWA programs, projects, policies, processes, and partnerships. Thus far, the Office of Natural Environment has hosted three webinars as part of the Advancing a Sustainable Highway System Webinar Series, focusing on Access and Affordability, Linking Asset Management and Planning, and Sustainable Pavements respectively.

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INVEST Implementation Sites (9-2015)

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FHWA E-tool for Business Processes to Improve Travel Time Reliability (8-2015)
The second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) Reliability Project developed the software titled E-tool for Business Processes to Improve Travel Time Reliability (SHRP-2 LE-34 e-Tool). The Federal Highway Administration supports this E-Tool to assist transportation agencies when evaluating their key business processes to improve travel time reliability.

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USDOT Launches New "Pollinator" Website (7-2015)
The U.S. Department of Transportation launched a new pollinator content page to the Environmental Review Toolkit. This page provides links to resources related to promoting the health of pollinators and their habitat in roadside rights-of way. It is part of FHWA’s ongoing efforts to address goals for U.S. government agencies to protect and restore domestic populations of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies – critical contributors to our nation’s economy, food system, and environmental health.

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FHWA Launches Updated Planning Web Resource, PlanWorks (5-2015)
FHWA created a web resource called PlanWorks that supports collaborative decisionmaking in transportation planning and project development. PlanWorks was built around key decision points in long-range planning, programming, corridor planning, and environmental review.

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2015 FHWA Environmental Excellence Awards (4-2015)
The Federal Highway Administration recently announced the 2015 Environmental Excellence Award recipients. The projects recognized span a wide range of professional disciplines, from historic preservation and water quality improvements to wetlands and habitat restoration.

2014

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FHWA Order 5520 - Transportation System Preparedness and Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events (12-2014)
FHWA Order 5520, Transportation System Preparedness and Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events, was signed on December 15, 2014 and states that it is FHWA policy to integrate consideration of climate and extreme weather risks into its planning, operations, policies and programs. This new Order formalizes FHWA’s commitment to assist transportation agencies in assessing the vulnerabilities and risks of their transportation systems to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, guides the agencies’ implementation of relevant MAP-21 provisions and recent Executive Orders, and identifies how the agency intends to continue to lead the transportation industry in making the nation’s highways more resilient.

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New Tool Estimates Infrastructure Carbon Emissions (9-2014)
FHWA has developed a sketch tool to estimate the lifecycle energy use and GHG emissions associated with the construction and maintenance of transportation facilities. The spreadsheet-based tool supports planning-level analysis, allowing transportation planners to evaluate the impacts of long range plans, project alternatives, and mitigation strategies. It is unique in requiring limited input data on lane and track miles of construction and maintenance projects, rather than detailed engineering information about construction activities, equipment, and materials.

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FHWA Releases Advancing a Sustainable Highway System: Highlights of FHWA Sustainability Activities (6-2014)
FHWA is committed to improving the sustainability triple bottom line—social, economic, and environmental outcomes—of its activities. FHWA has spearheaded numerous efforts to address and advance sustainability ranging from projects to mitigate climate change impacts, to initiatives that promote sustainable pavements and improve safety, to tools to better assess the benefits and costs of transportation investments. Advancing a Sustainable Highway System: Highlights of FHWA Sustainability Activities illustrates how sustainability has been incorporated into a wide variety of FHWA programs, projects, policies, processes, and partnerships. It is intended to be used by a diverse audience of transportation agency professionals at the Federal, State, and local level as well as the general public.

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INVEST Case Studies (5-2014)
FHWA has posted new case studies showing how transportation agencies are using FHWA’s sustainability self-assessment tool, INVEST, to improve the sustainability of their projects and programs. For example, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) used the INVEST System Planning module to score three corridor planning studies and then integrated the recommendations that came out of the INVEST evaluation into WSDOT’s updated Practical Planning Guidelines, which planners statewide use to develop corridor planning studies. In Ohio, the state department of transportation included a requirement that contractors use INVEST to gauge sustainability in its request for proposals for the design-build of the phase II Cleveland Innerbelt bridge project. That provided a strong incentive for bidders to incorporate sustainability while keeping costs competitive. In Springfield, Illinois, the MPO developed a conceptual design showing locations for specific sustainability improvements along a historic corridor.

2013

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FHWA Selects Albuquerque to Conduct Climate Change and Scenario Planning Pilot Project (9-2013)

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Survey Finds Significant Savings with Recycled Asphalt (6-2013)
The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) and FHWA have released a survey of sustainable construction practices in the asphalt pavement industry. The survey, which covers the 2011 construction season, studies the usage of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) and warm-mix asphalt (WMA). The two groups note that the use of recycled materials in asphalt pavements saved taxpayers more than $2.2 billion dollars during the 2011 paving season.

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FHWA Newsletter Features Uses of Cloud Service in Environmental Streamlining (5-2013)

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2013-2014 Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Pilot Projects (4-2013)
FHWA has awarded grants to 19 transportation agencies to assess the vulnerability of their transportation infrastructure to impacts of climate change and extreme weather. This represents the second round of funding provided by FHWA to help transportation agencies conduct vulnerability assessments. The pilots also are intended to provide input to FHWA to refine its Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework.

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FHWA Newsletter Highlights Programs To Restore Fish Passage (4-2013)


2012

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FHWA Demonstrates Potential for “Intelligent Intersections” to Reduce Fuel Consumption, Emissions (12-2012)

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Environmental Research Highlights from FHWA (11-2012)

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FHWA launches INVEST 1.0 (10-2012)

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Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program Increases Biking and Walking (6-2012)

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Greenhouse Gas Framework Added to Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) Decision Support System for Transportation (5-2012)


2011

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Public Roads Magazine Profiles FHWA’s Sustainable Highways Program (12-2011)

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Pilot Test Version of INVEST Self-evaluation Tool Criteria is Now Available Online (11-2011)

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The INVEST Self-evaluation Tool Featured in an Article Posted on the Sustainable City Network (9-2011)

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FHWA Recognizes Seven States for Environmental Excellence (8-2011)