Sustainable Highways Initiative

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Florida DOT (FDOT) To Use Award For Advanced Congestion Management Technologies (10-2017)
FDOT will be using a $12 million grant from FHWA’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment program to implement four intelligent transportation technologies (PedSafe, SmartCommunity, SunStore, and Greenway) that aim to reduce congestion and improve safety. PedSafe develops pedestrian and bicycle collision avoidance by connecting vehicles, people, and traffic lights. SmartCommunity creates a one-stop shop for trip planning by combining data from different transportation options. SunStore will be FDOT’s central data storage system. GreenWay uses new traffic signal technology to help the transportation system adapt to real-time traffic conditions.

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Environmental Justice Webinar Series (9-2017)
A series of six webinars on environmental justice in transportation were launched by AASHTO’s Environmental Justice Community of Practice. The first webinar included a review of past environmental justice work, as well as a discussion on analysis and planning. As part of the series, DOTs and MPOs will share lessons learned and best practices.

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Arizona DOT Report On Wildlife Crossings (9-2017)
The Arizona DOT created a report focused on the need for elk and deer crossings along a rural highway. The report provides details on the information collected and evaluated to determine ways in which ADOT could reduce the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions. The report is a joint research project conducted by ADOT and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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Case Study on Renewable Natural Gas for Vehicles (9-2017)
A case study by the Department of Energy details the closed-loop process of transforming food waste into renewable, compressed natural gas for the use of vehicle fuel. The report covers the economic, energy security, and climate benefits, as well as the existing infrastructure for natural gas vehicles.

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Department of Energy (DOE) Awards $22 Million For Production of Macroalgae (9-2017)
$22 million has been awarded by the Department of Energy to 18 projects under the Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) Program. Macroalgae can be used for transportation fuels without competing with food crops for land and water.

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Report on Trend of GHG Emissions in the U.S (9-2017)
A report by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions studies reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S and details GHG emission trends since 2005. The trends show that improved vehicle fuel efficiency and associated policy have contributed to emissions reductions.

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New Report on Nature-Based Solutions for Protecting the Oregon Coast Highway (9-2017)
The Oregon Department of Transportation (DOT) released a final report, Green Infrastructure Techniques for Resilience of the Oregon Coast Highway, documenting the results of an FHWA-sponsored pilot project. Oregon DOT developed conceptual designs for three locations along coastal highway US 101 vulnerable to storms and coastal bluff erosion. These designs include cobble beaches, artificial dunes, sand tubes, mechanically stabilized earth, rip rap, and planted terraces. Oregon DOT analyzed the coastal protection potential of these designs using wave runup analysis. Oregon DOT also engaged land use and permitting agencies on design options. The Oregon project was one of five green infrastructure pilots sponsored by FHWA to assess the potential for nature-based solutions to protect coastal roads and bridges from flooding.

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Registration for TRB Annual Meeting (8-2017)
Registration is now open for TRB’s 97th Annual Meeting on January 7-11, 2018, in Washington, D.C

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The Ray: Sustainable Highway of the Future (6-2017)
An 18-mile stretch of Interstate 85 in Georgia is where a new sustainable, highway of the future, called “The Ray,” is being tested. The goal is to create a highway that can produce its own renewable energy, sell power to utility companies, produce no stormwater runoff or emissions, and eliminate traffic fatalities. This project is a collaboration between the state of Georgia, private companies, and a family foundation.

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Sustainable Transportation Grants Awarded by Caltrans (5-2017)
Caltrans awarded $9.2 million in sustainable transportation planning grants. The grants were used to encourage regional agencies to partner with Caltrans to improve the state highways, and to address mobility issues in environmental justice in disadvantaged communities. The awards also support local governments in planning and studying for complete streets, connectivity, multimodal transportation, corridors and transit hubs.

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Publications
Photograph of a rural, divided, four-lane highway on a sunny day. Each lane pair has orange and white striped barrels along the middle lane stripe. Two trucks are traveling in the left lane of the farthest road.
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Report Assesses Electric Vehicles for Commercial, Nonroad Uses (10-2017)
A report by the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory discusses the potential for using electric vehicles (EVs) for commercial, industrial, and government purposes. The report found that EVs are not suited for long-haul trucking purposes, but have potential where fuel costs savings could be significant, such as transit buses, school buses, and regional/local delivery trucks. It was also found that the low supply and low demand is hindering the development of options for commercial fleets. Successful development will require more investment in research and development, manufacturing, purchasing, and new regulatory measures.

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Report Analyzes Use of Zero-Emission Heavy-Duty Vehicle Technology (10-2017)
A report by the International Council on Clean Transportation explores the use of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle technology in the freight sector. The report provides an overview of heavy-duty vehicle policies in the U.S., as well as Canada, China, and Japan. The report also includes an analysis of costs associated with vehicle use, efficiency, cost of ownership, and emission impacts of various tractor-trailer technologies.

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NCHRP Report Details Use of Biochar to Reduce Stormwater Runoff (10-2017)
A report by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program describes the use of a kind of biochar in soils on highway greenways to reduce stormwater runoff. Biochar is a porous charcoal-like material created by the combustion of organic matter in an oxygen-limited environment. Biochar is a cost-effective, readily-used material that can be used to enhance retention of stormwater in soils. The study includes assessments in a laboratory, a pilot project, and in the field, as well as an engineering and construction cost analysis.

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Eight Papers on Social, Economic, Sustainability, and Human Factors in Tranportation (7-2017)
TRB’s Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2671, contains 8 papers on the economic, social, sustainability, and human factors in transit. Examples of papers include: Accessibility Scenario Analysis of a Hypothetical Future Transit Network: Social Equity Implications of a General Transit Feed Specification-Based Sketch Planning Tool; Transit Corridor Livability: Realizing the Potential of Transportation and Land Use Integration; and Global Urban Passenger Travel Demand and CO2 Emissions to 2050: New Model

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100 Resilient Cities Report on City Efforts to Address Climate Change (7-2017)
100 Resilient Cities has released a report on municipal resiliency planning to address urbanization, globalization, and climate change. Examples of efforts are Boston implementing equity goals for its transit systems and New Orleans developing new flood protection systems.

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Illinois Tollway Saves Millions with Sustainability Policies (6-2017)
The Illinois Tollway has implemented findings from sustainability research, creating new standards and policies for materials, pavements, and recycling. The tollway found that the adoption of innovative and sustainable material specifications saved approximately $218.5 million from 2004-2016.

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11 Papers Released by Transportation Research Board (TRB) on Planning Applications (6-2017)
TRB’s Journal of the Transportation Research Board contains 11 papers that on transportation planning over a broad range of topics, including the Sprawl Index, Measuring Regional Accessibility with an Integrated Pedestrian and Transit Network, Impact of Sea Level Rise in Boston, and Incorporating Equity and Resilience in Municipal Transportation Planning.

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Case Study of Louisiana’s Weather Resiliency Efforts (5-2017)
A case study was recently published by FHWA on the resiliency projects by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) during extreme rainfall events in 2016. FHWA granted LADOTD $2 million under the Emergency Relief Program to repair and rebuild transportation infrastructure in a manner that prevents damage from future weather events.

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Georgetown Climate Center’s Report on Urban Climate Resiliency (5-2017)
The Georgetown Climate Center’s recent report on an urban climate preparedness framework includes interviews/feedback from city officials, a review of city adaptation plans, and a literature review on how cities can thrive will encountering climate disruptions. The report highlights seven adaptation strategies and reviews the first steps in urban resiliency and infrastructure development.

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Greater Rochester Region Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessment (5-2017)
FHWA has released a study assessing transportation infrastructure vulnerabilities to natural and human-caused hazards in the Greater Rochester area. The region’s MPO has worked to identify vulnerabilities of their transportation systems, and the report creates profiles for each hazard and affected asset.

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Photograph of a male, dressed for work, riding a bike in a bike lane next to a moving car. The bike rider is wearing a safety helmet and a backpack.
Upcoming Events
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World Road Association’s Seminar on Climate Adaptation in Cuba
November 8-10, 2017
An international seminar on climate adaptation, disaster, and risk management for road organizations will be hosted in Havana, Cuba on November 8-10, 2017 by the World Road Association.

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American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Annual Meeting
Nov 12-15, 2016
The AASHTO annual meeting will be held in Boston, MA in November. The meeting provides an opportunity for transportation executives to network and share the latest in industry policies and innovations. Registration coming soon.

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Websites

Federal Government Links

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) NEPAssist web-based application

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Federal Facilities Environmental Stewardship and Compliance Assistance Center Transportation Program Area

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Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Livable and Sustainable Communities Webpage

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