Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
PlanningEnvironmentReal Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Awards Contacts

Highways and Climate Change Newsletter

May/June 2011

Prepared by the Office of Planning, Environment and Realty

Federal Highway Administration

www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/climate_change/

To view PDF files, you need the Acrobat® Reader®.

Recent Events and Reports

USDOT Issues Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation. Signed by Secretary LaHood in June, the DOT climate change policy statement directs that USDOT "shall integrate consideration of climate change impacts and adaptation into the planning, operations, policies, and programs of DOT in order to ensure that taxpayer resources are invested wisely and that transportation infrastructure, services and operations remain effective in current and future climate conditions." The policy notes that all modal administrations within the agency have the responsibility to consider the impacts of climate change on their current systems and future investments.

FHWA Releases Workshop Summary Report on Integrating Climate Change with Transportation Planning. This report provides a summary of five workshops on addressing climate change in transportation planning that FHWA sponsored in November and December 2010. Workshops were held with Florida DOT, Washington State DOT, Chittenden County MPO, Atlanta Regional Commission, and, jointly, Lane County COG and Oregon DOT. The workshops allowed for DOTs and MPOs to receive expert technical assistance focused on integrating climate change considerations (both GHG emissions mitigation and adaptation to climate change impacts) into their planning process.

FHWA Report Highlights MPO and DOT Best Practices in Climate Change Education. Educating the Public on Climate Change Issues: DOT and MPO Best Practices summarizes outreach activities and public education initiatives used around the country by State DOTs and MPOs to educate the public on transportation-related climate change issues.

Updated/Pilot Test Version of FHWA Sustainable Highways Self-Evaluation Tool Released. FHWA has released a pilot test version of the Sustainable Highways Self-Evaluation Tool that was released as a Beta version in 2010. The pilot version of the Tool, called the Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST), allows users to evaluate specific projects using one of two types of scorecards, based on the project type. The Basic scorecard includes 20 sustainability best practices, or criteria, that may be considered for preservation, restoration, and small reconstruction projects. The Extended scorecard consists of 30 criteria for major reconstruction or new construction.

Like the initial Beta version, the Pilot version offers information about sustainability principles and concepts, in addition to the best practices that can build and support a sustainable transportation system. During the summer of 2011, the Tool will be updated and revised to include best practices that apply to systems planning and to operations and maintenance activities. Pilot testing of INVEST will be conducted during the summer and fall of 2011, and feedback will be used to develop Version 1.0 for release in 2012.

FHWA Creates Website for Gulf Coast Study. A new website for USDOT's Gulf Coast Study will provide a mechanism for sharing interim results from Phase 2 of this large, multi-year study. DOT's Gulf Coast research comprises a comprehensive, multi-phase study of climate change impacts in the Central Gulf Coast region. Phase 1 (completed in 2008) examined the impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure at a regional scale, while Phase 2 (ongoing, with expected completion in 2013) is focusing on a smaller region, enhancing regional decision makers' ability to understand potential impacts on specific critical components of infrastructure and to evaluate adaptation options.

USDOT Releases Sustainability Scorecard. USDOT's Fiscal Year 2010 Scorecard on Energy and Sustainability Efforts is required by Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance, which directs federal agencies to lead by example on sustainability. The scorecard reports that USDOT has submitted to CEQ and OMB required comprehensive inventories with GHG emissions targets. USDOT also scored well for reducing energy use in our facilities. USDOT did not score well on renewable energy use, potable water "intensity," fleet petroleum use, and percent of sustainable green buildings.

EPA Report Examines Effectiveness of Travel Efficiency Strategies. Potential Changes in Emissions Due to Improvements in Travel Efficiency analyzes travel demand management, land use, transit, and parking and road pricing strategies. The study estimated emissions reductions at the national level for various implementation scenarios. A scenario in which strategies from all 5 categories are implemented yielded an 8.8% reduction in GHG emissions nationwide from business as usual in 2050. The report also provides guidance on adapting the methodology with local data to create region-specific estimates.

EPA Issues Guide to Transportation Emissions Reduction Measures. Transportation Control Measures: An Information Document for Developing and Implementing Emissions Reduction Programs, is a survey of VMT reduction and operational improvement strategies that can lead to reductions in vehicle emissions, including greenhouse gases. The document provides a plethora of specific examples of projects across the country, including information on funding and anticipated emissions reductions.

National Research Council Releases Final Report of America's Climate Choices Project. The final report of the America's Climate Choices project looks at options for managing the risk associated with the impacts of climate change. The project panel recommends an iterative risk management approach, with implementation of the following priority actions for the U.S.:

NAFTA Environment Commission Publishes Report on Sustainable Freight Transportation. The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation Secretariat's latest report, Destination Sustainability: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Freight Transportation in North America, describes steps needed to enhance environmental sustainability in freight transportation among Canada, Mexico and the United States. It stresses the important link between environmental sustainability and an efficient, competitive, and secure freight transportation system throughout North America.

European Road Research Center Publishes Final Report on Climate Change Adaptation. Road Owners Getting to Grips on Climate Change is a product of the ERA-NET Road Program, a consortium of 15 European Road Agencies, which commissioned a series of four research projects and held a conference last December where they were discussed. FHWA's Butch Wlaschin, Director of our Office of Asset Management, was involved in this effort and contributed to the final report. The four research projects cover a range of issues relating to climate change adaptation:

NAS Report Looks at Implications of Various GHG Concentration Levels. Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia, published by the National Academy of Science, evaluates the implications of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations at various target levels. The book quantifies the outcomes of different stabilization targets for greenhouse gas concentrations using analyses and information drawn from the scientific literature. Although it does not recommend or justify any particular stabilization target, it does provide important scientific insights about the relationships among emissions, greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures, and climate change impacts. The report includes a brief discussion on impacts to infrastructure, including transportation. It also highlights results of a study on the financial cost of climate change on the City of Chicago's infrastructure. The 2010 study by Catherine Hayhoe et al estimated $3.3 million in transportation impacts with a 2°C change in global average temperatures and $5 million in transportation impacts with a 4°C change.

State and Local News

Oregon's Electric Vehicle Program Begins New Phase.On Friday, April 8, the FHWA Oregon Division executed a Tiger II grant agreement for Oregon DOTs Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station project. This is an exciting and innovative project for the State, funded with $2M in Tiger II funds and $750,000 in state matching funds. Construction of the 20 EV charging station network will begin in early 2012.

Colorado DOT Launches Energy Efficiency Initiative. The Colorado Department of Transportation and the Governor's Energy Office are launching a new collaborative initiative called Colorado Energy Smart Transportation: Planning for a More Efficient Colorado. The project grant is part of the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) through the Rockefeller Foundation and funded by U.S. DOT. The major aim of this initiative is to make the Colorado transportation system more energy efficient and sustainable.

Announcements

FTA is Seeking Climate Change Adaptation Pilot Locations. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is soliciting proposals for transit climate change adaptation assessment pilots. The pilots will fund transit agencies or partnerships with transit agencies to assess the vulnerability of transit agency assets and services to climate change hazards such as heat waves and flooding. The pilots will also assess initial adaptation strategies and link these strategies to transit agency organizational structures and activities. One of the pilots will focus on demonstrating the integration of adaptation assessment within an asset management system. Each pilot will submit to FTA a final report on the activities conducted, main findings, and applicability to other transit agencies. FTA contemplates making approximately four cooperative agreement awards, ranging from $50,000 to $175,000 each. Total funding available is $525,000. Eligible recipients are either 1) a public transportation provider or, 2) a university, non-profit, private, or public entity working in partnership with a public transportation provider.

Here is a link to the full announcement: [word] [pdf]. It is posted on the Grants.gov site as opportunity DOT-FTA-2011-016-TBP. An applicant must submit a proposal electronically to http://www.grants.gov/ by midnight Eastern Time on Thursday, August 25 for consideration. Please note that you must register with grants.gov in order to submit an application and the registration process can take 3 to 5 days, though applicants are advised to allow four weeks for completion of all steps. As such, all potential applicants are advised to begin the grants.gov registration process immediately, if they have not previously submitted Federal assistance applications through the portal in order to be able to meet the deadline. Click here to register with grants.gov. Click here to download the full announcement and application package.

For more information, contact Tina Hodges, Office of Budget and Policy, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, D.C. 20590; tina.hodges@dot.gov; (202) 366-4287.

AASHTO/FHWA to Hold Webinar: Who's Saying What about Climate Change and Energy These Days? Thursday, June 30, 3:00-4:00 Eastern. Registration is free and open to all. The webinar will feature three new reports on climate change and energy:

Reminders

FHWA Holding Series of Webinars on Congestion Pricing. The FHWA Offices of Operations and Innovative Program Delivery have launched a new webinar series, entitled "Overcoming the Challenges of Congestion Pricing." These webinars are aimed at state and local agencies that are currently in the process of implementing or would like to implement congestion pricing; decision-makers/political leaders who want to better understand the benefits of congestion pricing; MPOs that may be interested in incorporating pricing into their planning activities; and others who just want to learn more about congestion pricing strategies. Congestion pricing strategies can often have a co-benefit of reducing GHG emissions. Registration is free and open to everyone who is interested.

Upcoming Webinar

Future Webinar Schedule - July through December 2011 (dates are tentative and subject to change)

If you have any suggestions for inclusion in future issues of Transportation and Climate Change News, or if someone forwarded this newsletter to you and you'd like to receive it directly in the future, please send your suggestions or request to Becky Lupes at Rebecca.Lupes@dot.gov.

FHWA HQ Climate Change Contacts in the Office of Planning, Environment & Realty:

Office of Natural Environment, Sustainable Transport & Climate Change Team
Mike Culp, Team Leader, Michael.Culp@dot.gov
John Davies, JohnG.Davies@dot.gov, GHG emissions analysis, modeling, performance measures
Connie Hill Galloway, Connie.Hill@dot.gov, sustainability, brownfields and hazardous waste sites
Heather Holsinger, Heather.Holsinger@dot.gov, sustainability, adaptation, GHG emissions analysis, energy
Rob Hyman, Robert.Hyman@dot.gov, adaptation, GHG emissions analysis
Rob Kafalenos, Robert.Kafalenos@dot.gov, adaptation, energy
Becky Lupes, Rebecca.Lupes@dot.gov, adaptation, GHG emissions analysis, NEPA
Diane Turchetta, Diane.Turchetta@dot.gov, GHG emissions analysis, energy

Office of Planning
Robin Smith, Robin.Smith@dot.gov

Office of Project Development & Environmental Review
Shari Schaftlein, Shari.Schaftlein@dot.gov

Updated: 03/27/2014
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000