Sustainable Highways Initiative

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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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Webinar Recording: Meaningful Community Engagement (12-2017)
AASHTO’s Environmental Justice Community of Practice held a webinar on November 17 centered on meaningful community engagement. The webinar discussed examples of resources, case studies, and successful processes used to increase the quantity and quality of community engagement from DOTs, MPOs, and FHWA.

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Reimagining the State DOT (12-2017)
This article highlights the strategies that the former Colorado DOT Executive Director, Shailen Bhatt, used to encourage innovation within the State DOT. He describes how all State DOTs should use these approaches to adapt to the needs of the future, with more resilient transportation networks and new technologies to create more sustainable and efficient means of transporting people and goods.

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Wisconsin Highway Culvert Reimagined to Improve Aquatic Habitat (12-2017)
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently approved a Box Culvert project on State Route 67 in the town of Osceola, WI to restore an aquatic habitat which historically had much higher aquatic-life populations. This project will restore the spawning grounds of local fish species, allowing their populations to increase.

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Bus Lane Pilot Project Launched in the Boston Area (12-2017)
Communities in the Greater Boston area (Cambridge, Arlington, Watertown and Everett) are partnering with the MBTA in a pilot project for dedicated bus lanes that seek to improve speed and reliability for 30,000 bus riders. Dedicated bus lanes can improve traffic congestion, thereby reducing idling times and their associated emissions, and provide space for future electrification of bus routes.

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Ohio DOT Tests Autonomous Vehicle Truck Platooning on Smart Mobility Corridor (12-2017)
The Ohio DOT will continue their Smart Mobility Initiative work by testing truck platooning applications of autonomous vehicle technology on US Route 33, Ohio’s designated Smart Mobility Corridor. This technology will yield improvements to the safety of freight activity, and increase the fuel efficiency of the trucks.

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Indiana DOT Releases Mobile App (12-2017)
The Indiana DOT has developed their own mobile app, which seeks to help drivers with their commute by improving communication of traffic information, and streamlining communications to the DOT itself. The app includes notifications for weather, construction, and emergency road closures, as well as travel maps, a “Report a Concern” feature, and DOT contact information.

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Baltimore Invests in Relieving Traffic Congestion (12-2017)
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has announced an investment of $461 million in new traffic relief initiatives for the Baltimore region. These initiatives include three innovative design-build projects to provide the greatest possible amount of peak-hour congestion relief. These projects will reduce emissions from idling cars while in traffic, and improve the air quality of the surrounding areas that experience high emissions from the idling traffic.

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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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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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Climate Adaptation Planning Tools Evaluated (10-2017)
A report by the National Center for Sustainable Transportation evaluates best practices and the effectiveness of technical tools for climate resiliency and adaptation planning, while also summarizing a survey from state and local agencies regarding their resiliency planning activities.

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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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Upcoming Events
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There are no events to list at this time.
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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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