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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Air Quality and Sustainability Highlights

Spring 2014

Prepared by the Office of Planning, Environment and Realty
Federal Highway Administration

Recent Events and Reports

U.S. Releases Assessment of Climate Impacts. The White House has released the Third National Climate Assessment, which reports that warming and other climate changes are leading to wide-ranging impacts in every region of the country. The report details existing and projected impacts by region of the country and sector. A chapter on the transportation sector discusses transportation impacts, including decreases in infrastructure reliability and capacity. It describes how higher seas will lead to more frequent disruption of coastal infrastructure and more frequent high precipitation events may overwhelm drainage infrastructure among other issues. The chapter highlights five areas where it is particularly important to consider climate change adaptation in the transportation sector: transportation and land use planning, vulnerability and risk assessment, new infrastructure design, asset management, and emergency response.

NCHRP Releases Guide for Incorporating Adaptation into Transportation Agency Activities. The NCHRP Report 750 Volume 2: Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and the Highway System: Practitioner's Guide and Research Report is a comprehensive look at the potential effects of climate change on the highway system and suggestions on how to account for them throughout the transportation decision-making process. The report has two parts: a Practitioner's Guide and a Research Report. The Practitioner's Guide introduces a framework for adaptation planning and it includes chapters on climate projections, climate impacts, vulnerability assessments and risk appraisals, climate change in project development, and climate change in other agency functions such as construction, operations and asset management. It also has appendices with sea-level rise projections and a benefit-cost methodology for adaptation strategies. The companion research report presents the results of a study looking at climate impacts and potential solutions for the U.S. highway system in the year 2050.

GROW AMERICA Act Calls for Transportation System Resilience in Transportation Planning. Section 1201 of the Administration's GROW AMERICA Act would add to the transportation planning process consideration of: 1) vulnerabilities and risks to critical highway and transit assets posed by current and future extreme weather and climate change effects, and 2) potential adaptation strategies. These efforts would help encourage better stewardship of investments in the highway and transit system through improved planning and preparedness for the risks posed by extreme weather events and climate change.

FHWA Resource Gives Performance-Based Approach to Addressing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Transportation Planning. FHWA's practitioner handbook, "A Performance-Based Approach to Addressing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Transportation Planning," is intended to serve as a resource for State DOTs and MPOs interested in addressing GHG emissions through performance-based planning and programming (PBPP). It describes the use of GHG performance measures and other performance management techniques to support investment choices and enhance decision-making. The handbook builds on related resources addressing PBPP and mobile source emissions analysis.

FHWA releases Sustainability Report. FHWA is committed to improving the sustainability triple bottom line-social, economic, and environmental outcomes-of FHWA activities. FHWA has spearheaded numerous efforts to address and advance sustainability ranging from projects to mitigate climate change impacts, to initiatives that promote sustainable pavements and improve safety, to tools to better assess the benefits and costs of transportation investments. Advancing a Sustainable Highway System: Highlights of FHWA Sustainability Activities illustrates how sustainability has been incorporated into a wide variety of FHWA programs, projects, policies, processes, and partnerships.

New case studies on Agencies Improving Sustainability using FHWA Tool, INVEST. FHWA has posted new case studies showing how transportation agencies are using FHWA's sustainability self-assessment tool, INVEST, to improve the sustainability of their projects and programs. For example, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) used the INVEST System Planning module to score three corridor planning studies and then integrated the recommendations that came out of the INVEST evaluation into WSDOT's updated Practical Planning Guidelines, which planners statewide use to develop corridor planning studies. In Ohio, the state department of transportation included a requirement that contractors use INVEST to gauge sustainability in its request for proposals for the design-build of the phase II Cleveland Innerbelt bridge project. That provided a strong incentive for bidders to incorporate sustainability while keeping costs competitive. In Springfield, Illinois, the MPO developed a conceptual design showing locations for specific sustainability improvements along a historic corridor.

Announcements and Upcoming Events

FHWA Sponsoring Electric Vehicle Workshop.FHWA will be hosting a workshop on Transportation Agencies and Electric Vehicles on July 23, 2014 in Portland, OR. The workshop is being held in conjunction with the EV Roadmap Conference which will take place on Thursday and Friday, July 24 and 25 in Portland, OR. There is a $25.00 registration fee to attend the workshop for representatives of state and local transportation agencies and a $50.00 registration fee for other attendees.

If you have any suggestions for inclusion in future issues of Transportation and Climate Change News, please send your suggestions to Becky Lupes at If someone forwarded this newsletter to you and you'd like to receive it directly in the future, please sign up for updates on FHWA's Climate Change and Sustainability homepage at

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
John Davies,
GHG emissions analysis, modeling, performance measures
Connie Hill Galloway,
Sustainability, brownfields and hazardous waste sites
Tina Hodges,
Adaptation, sustainability
Heather Holsinger,
Sustainability, adaptation, GHG emissions analysis, energy
Rob Hyman,
Adaptation, sustainability, GHG emissions analysis
Rob Kafalenos,
Adaptation, energy
Becky Lupes,
Adaptation, GHG emissions analysis, NEPA
Diane Turchetta,
GHG emissions analysis, energy

Office of Planning

Jody McCullough,

Office of Project Development & Environmental Review

Bruce Bender,

Updated: 12/23/2016
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