Sustainable Highways Initiative

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Minnesota DOT Changes Roadside Grass Mowing Procedures to Encourage Conservation (3-2018)
MnDOT has developed new procedures to govern the mowing of roadside grass for the upcoming haying season. This solution gives farmers access to quality hay by allowing for flexible mowing dates and preserves corridors of habitat for wildlife movement patterns.

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FTA Selects Projects for Low or No Emissions Grants (3-2018)
51 projects from various State and local governments have been selected by FTA for the Low or No Emissions Grant Program. A total of $55 million in grants will be used to purchase battery electric buses and energy storage solutions, and charging equipment. Projects also address procurement, training, and facility maintenance.

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Agencies Show Increased Interest in Utilizing Recycled Concrete Pavements (2-2018)
A report has been published by Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation on a 2016 survey of state highway agencies and paving contractors. The report seeks to better understand applications, challenges, and opportunities for increasing the use of recycled concrete aggregate. The report found that agencies and contractors are interested in increasing their use of recycled concrete, but lack the expertise in its application.

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Maryland DOT Plans to Utilize Solar Power (2-2018)
The Maryland DOT has created a plan for a public-private partnership to convert their facilities to run on solar power. The plan calls for solar panels to be installed at up to 35 sites within 18 months, and private contractors will operate the system under terms that supply energy to Maryland DOT below their current bills, saving taxpayer money and reducing emissions.

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Smart Cities Grant Program Launched in Georgia (2-2018)
The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, created by Georgia Tech University, will award grants of up to $50,000 to governments exploring smart/connected city projects around themes such as mobility, equity, or resilience. Webinars will be held throughout March and April to help communities prepare their proposals, which are due May 1st.

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EPA Awards Millions in Grants to Cut Diesel Emissions (2-2018)
Millions of dollars in EPA grants were awarded to ports, transit operators, and other agencies across the country to aid in retrofitting older heavy trucks, buses, ferries, and transportation equipment with cleaner, more efficient engine models. These grants were used by a variety of governments to replace short-haul trucks of model year 2006 or older with newer vehicles, electrifying public transit vehicles, and rebuilding roads.

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Low-Carbon Transportation Plan Created by California Air Resources Board (1-2018)
The California Air Resources Board recently approved a $663 million low-carbon transportation plan to increase the use of clean cars, heavy-duty trucks, buses, and freight equipment in the state. The funding will help the state cut emissions while promoting technologies that reduce harmful diesel emissions, particularly in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

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Cameras On Underpasses Film Passing Wildlife (1-2018)
Cameras that sense movement are capturing a wide variety of wildlife using two wildlife tunnels under Montana Highway 200 near Lincoln including birds, bears, bull elk, and bighorn sheep not to mention moose, mountain lions, and deer. These cameras can help DOTs learn movement patterns of these species, and how best to construct projects to not interfere with their migrations.

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Supercomputers To Improve Transportation Energy Efficiency (1-2018)
The Vehicle Technologies Office within the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories will utilize its supercomputers as part of the Energy Efficiency Mobility Systems Program, which will create solutions to increase mobility while improving energy efficiency in all modes of transportation. These computers can predict the energy impacts of emerging mobility solutions (such as autonomous vehicles), reducing fuel costs and associated emissions of inefficiencies.

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New Sustainability Tools for Transit Agencies (12-2017)
A report by TRB describes the development of two new tools for sustainability managers at transit agencies. The Sustainability Routemap is an interactive document which guides users to improve the agency’s sustainability through various strategies, including change management principles, best practices, and online tools. The “S+ROI Calculator” is an Excel workbook that quantitatively evaluates the economical, social, and environmental return of potential sustainability projects. These tools are available for download courtesy of TRB.

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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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Sea Level “Report Cards” Forecast Changes Along U.S. Coastline Through 2050 (3-2018)
The William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science have developed a web-based “report card” system that will track and project variance in sea level at 32 locations along U.S. coastlines. Researchers will update these report cards annually in January of each year going forward, and forecast sea level rise through the year 2050. These report cards are envisioned to be more accurate than similar efforts by other scientific bodies, as they will be updated more frequently and show specific locales. Transportation and government officials can use these report cards in long range scenario planning.

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MetroPlan Orlando’s Transportation Think-In Summary Report (3-2018)
A summary of MetroPlan Orlando’s event “Transportation Think-In: Making 2045 Healthy, Sustainable, and Resilient” is now available. The event brought together approximately 60 community leaders from across Central Florida to discuss their shared transportation-related challenges, and sought to encourage safety, accessibility, increased physical mobility options, sustainable land use, and the utilization of Complete Streets policies. The Central Florida 2045 transportation plan will be informed by the findings of this event.

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Integrating Climate Policies with Transportation Planning in California (1-2018)
UC Davis’s National Center for Sustainable Transportation has published a report to help California integrate its transportation funding plans with its climate change and resiliency policies. The report includes an overview of California’s climate action commitments, the State’s Global Warming Solutions Act, and how sustainability principles can be applied to California’s transportation investments. The report explores funding mechanisms, such as the excise tax on gasoline, fuel tax swap, and the zero-emission vehicle registration fee, and provides recommendations, such as increasing funding for MPOs to support the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, and a requirement that revenue by new local sales taxes must be spent on projects that reduce greenhouse gases.

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TRB Research Record Illustrates Resilience (1-2018)
There are 16 research papers focused on resilience included in this TRB Journal. Some of these topics are: risk and resilience analysis for highway assets, sociotechnical approaches, security resiliency, community-based planning, rapid damage and response strategies, and the effects of tsunami damage on passenger and forestry transportation.

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Environmental Justice Analyses for Toll Implementation (1-2018)
TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program has released a report that contains case studies and resources for Environmental Justice analysis of roadway tolls.

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EPA Report Finds Car Makers Increasing Fuel Economy, Meeting GHG Standards (1-2018)
Two reports by the EPA have found that US automakers continue to increase fuel economy, innovate, and reduce pollution. One report shows the increasing consumer demand for improved fuel economy/low carbon vehicle choices, and shows that vehicles in model year 2016 had an average fuel economy of 24.7 mpg, which is slightly higher than 2015. The second report indicates that all manufacturers are in compliance with light-duty vehicle GHG emission standards.

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Report on AASHTO’s Resiliency Peer Exchange on Climate Change (12-2017)
A summary report on AASHTO’s November climate resilience peer exchange is now available. The exchange brought key DOT stakeholders together to discuss and share resiliency strategies and challenges for transportation systems.

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Guidance on Climate Resiliency for California Agencies (12-2017)
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in California has released resiliency decision-making principles for State agencies which details how to plan for resiliency and analyzes California’s climate conditions. The guidance includes a report on integrating climate change into infrastructure investments, and a four-step guide for resilience risk management.

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TRB Releases Circular on Transportation Systems Resilience (11-2017)
TRB published a circular that includes a variety of articles addressing research issues related to implementing resilient transportation systems.

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Upcoming Events
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AASHTO Announces “2018 Transportation Resilience Innovations Summit and Exchange (RISE)”
October 9-10, 2018
A meeting in October 2018, hosted by AASHTO, will focus on best practices for the integration of resilience in transportation systems. The meeting will feature discussions on risk-based planning, asset management, stakeholder engagement and cooperation initiatives from States, and perspectives from FHWA related to resiliency policies and guidance. The meeting will be held October 9-10, 2018, in Denver, Colorado.

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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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