Sustainable Highways Initiative

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Webinar Recording: Innovative Stormwater Management (7-2018)
The recording of AASHTO’s webinar on best management practices (BMPs) for State DOT stormwater management is now available.

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Rhode Island Plans for Future Climate Realities (7-2018)
Rhode Island has released a report, “Resilient Rhody,” containing climate adaptation strategies that prioritize investments, identify actions, leverage planning, and provide resources and tools for practitioners to equitably reduce the impacts of climate change.

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Alternative Fuel Corridor Expansion in the Midwest (7-2018)
The first meeting of the Midwest Alternative Fuel Corridor Convening was held at the Minnesota DOT to discuss expanding alternative fuel corridors. An analysis of designated corridors and infrastructure was presented, along with strategies for enhancing multi-state collaboration, visibility, and revisions to the Alternative Fuels Data Center Station Locator Redesign and Corridor Tool.

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INVEST for Bridge Replacement Project in Ohio (7-2018)
The Spring 2018 issue of Public Roads highlights Ohio DOT’s use of FHWA’s Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST) to help the agency consider sustainability issues when evaluating the new Cuyahoga River bridge. INVEST was utilized by Ohio DOT to track sustainability goals over the course of the project, and it helped the agency improve recycling practices, enhance the peregrine falcon habitat, and reduce energy consumption.

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Action Plan for Zero-Emission Vehicles (7-2018)
The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management’s Multi-State Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Task Force has released an action plan for years 2018-2021. The plan includes methods to expand the ZEV market by using ZEV ‘ride and drive’ events to increase public awareness, and recommends that States enhance the recharging and fueling infrastructure network via public and private investment, the use of financial incentives, and the electrification of public and private fleets.

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Delaware DOT Acts to Protect Pollinators (6-2018)
Delaware DOT has implemented changes to its land use policies to benefit pollinators. Previously, medians of manicured turf grass were the norm along Delaware roads, creating food deserts for pollinators who depend on plant life. Now, Delaware DOT has begun incorporating more native plant species and clover into its seed mixes, and has reduced mowing frequency. This allows wildflowers an opportunity to thrive, which can benefit pollinators.

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Caltrans Issues Draft Guidance on Project-Level GHG Determinations (6-2018)
The California DOT has released draft guidance for making determinations for State highway project-level greenhouse gas emissions under the California Environmental Quality Act. The draft guidance outlines the process for making such determinations and identifying mitigation for significant impacts.

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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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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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Sustainable Transportation Roadmap Issued by NRDC (7-2018)
The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report containing strategies for the implementation of a modernized, sustainable transportation network. The report details several “building blocks,” such as bike/pedestrian friendly streets, clean energy vehicles, improved land use planning and public transit, and equitable community design.

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Quick Guide: Project-Level Air Quality Analyses (7-2018)
The National Cooperative Highway Research Program issued a new quick reference guide on project-level air quality analyses. It bridges the gap between traffic analysis and air quality analysis to ensure that the right traffic inputs are prepared and provided to support air quality analysis (which is organized by air pollutant type). The guide also provides an overview of traffic data requirements, NEPA reevaluations, and traffic mitigation strategies.

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Report on the Impacts of Traffic Noise and Light on Wildlife Crossings (6-2018)
A report by the National Center for Sustainable Transportation studies the impacts of artificial light and noise on wildlife use of crossings under or over highways. Overnight road traffic noise data from four California highways was used in addition to wildlife crossing structure historical data for 20 days during the summers of 2012, 2015, and 2016. The report suggests that wildlife use of crossing structures may be disrupted by noise and light from traffic.

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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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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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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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