Sustainable Highways Initiative

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Updated Automotive Systems Simulator from the Department of Energy (5-2018)
The Department of Energy has released an updated version of the Future Automotive Systems Technology Simulator. The update adds electric-drive vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles to the simulator, and allows users to compare powertrains and estimate the impact of technology improvements on light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle efficiency, performance, cost, battery life.

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Evidence-Based Transportation Tool to be Developed by ITE and Streetsmart (5-2018)
A joint effort by the Institute of Transportation Engineers and Streetsmart seeks to develop a tool for making data on public health and transportation engineering more accessible. The tool will help integrate environmental and livability concerns into engineering and planning practice.

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New Tool Shows Need for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (5-2018)
A new tool, the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Projection Lite, has been released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The tool was developed to assist states in planning for future electric vehicle demand by identifying existing infrastructure and projects, and analyzing them to see if they will be able to meet demand based on the anticipated numbers of electric vehicles.

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Results From Green Infrastructure Pilot Project in Mississippi (4-2018)
The Mississippi DOT is contemplating the use of green infrastructure features to better protect a Gulf Coast bridge that was severely damaged by stormwater-current drag-forces caused by Hurricane Katrina. The pilot project, Henderson Point Connector (US HWY 90): Green Infrastructure Techniques for Coastal Highway Resilience, evaluated the use of vegetated berms which are designed to redirect floods and mitigate water flow velocities near the bridge abutment.

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Pilot Project for Resilience Assessment Tool Announced (4-2018)
Pilot projects for the State Resilience Assessment and Planning (SRAP) Tool have been announced by the National Governors Association. The SRAP Tool is a self-assessment to help governors understand their states’ resilience by identifying gaps in planning and preparedness. Idaho, Maryland, and Oregon will be participants in the test projects to identify best practices in adapting to, and recovering from, severe weather and other natural disasters.

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Evaluating Miami Beach’s Stormwater Management (4-2018)
The Urban Land Institute will be evaluating the city of Miami Beach’s stormwater management plan to mitigate the impacts of sea-level rise. The evaluation will analyze the effectiveness of elevated roads and the city’s modernized drainage system in addition to how recent regulatory changes have incorporated climate adaptation into development and land use codes.

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Clean Diesel Grants Announced by EPA (4-2018)
The EPA is solicitating projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions, especially from freight fleets operating in areas designated as having poor air quality. $40 million in FY 2018 will be awarded under the Diesel Emissions Reductions Act Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. Eligible applicants include regional, state, local, or tribal agencies, or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Nonprofit organizations with a connection to transportation or air quality also may apply. Applications are due June 12, 2018.

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$84.45 Million Available under FTA’s Low-No Emissions Program (4-2018)
$84.5 million in grants have been announced by FTA through the Low or No Emission Bus Program. The program funds the purchase and operation of buses that use battery electric power and hydrogen fuel cells. Applications are due June 18, 2018.

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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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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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Projected Impacts on National Parks from Sea Level and Storm Surge (5-2018)
A report by the National Park Service shows projected storm surge and sea level rise for 118 coastal national parks. According to the report, the National Capital Region could experience the highest average rate of sea level change by 2100 and the coastline of the parks in North Carolina’s could experience the highest sea level rise by 2100. The Southeast Region is projected to experience the highest storm surges.

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Report: Ride-Hailing Services Linked to an Increase in Travel and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (5-2018)
A report by the National Center for Sustainable Transportation analyzes how the rising use of ride hailing services impacts travel behavior and greenhouse gas emissions. The report indicates that these services produce a small reduction in personal automobile ownership, but is contributing to a net increase in vehicle miles traveled and the associated emissions.

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Permeable Asphalt & Concrete Mitigate Stormwater Runoff (5-2018)
The use of permeable concrete and pavements to mitigate stormwater runoff is the topic of a report by the National Center for Sustainable Transportation. These pavements were tested and found to work well in allowing water to soak through and to recharge the groundwater reserves. The report also concluded that the pavements had no water overflow and are cost-effective, requiring very little maintenance and eliminating the need for side drainage.

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Report on Environmental Conflict Resolution Improvements & Benefits (5-2018)
The benefits of utilizing the Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution (ECCR) program are studied in a new report by the Federal Forum on ECCR and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. More than a decade of ECCR efforts using neutral, third-party facilitators to work with agencies and stakeholders are covered in the report. The ECCR program saves both time and money, and improves relationships between agencies and stakeholders.

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EPA Releases Green Infrastructure Guide for Local Hazard Planning (4-2018)
New guidance from EPA, “Storm Smart Cities Guide,” provides information for local communities on how to integrate green infrastructure into their Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, which is required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The guide provides a green infrastructure case study on the efforts of Huntington, West Virginia to address frequent flooding in low-lying areas. The guide also recommends that communities evaluate their ability to implement and fund green infrastructure, and to form a stakeholder coalition group that includes hazard mitigation planners, stormwater utilities, academic institutions, and flood management districts.

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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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Upcoming Events
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AASHTO’s 2018 Joint Policy Conference - the Committee on Environment and Sustainability”
July 17-18, 2018
AASHTO has announced their 2018 Joint Policy Conference with the Committee on Environment and Sustainability will join five other AASHTO Committees to focus on connecting the DOTs. The event will be held on July 17-19, 2018 in Spokane, WA.

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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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