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The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty's research program supports projects with the goal of strengthening transportation planning and environmental decision-making. This page features recent research projects and activities that FHWA conducted to achieve this goal. Links to previous research highlights can be found at the bottom of the page.
2015 Environmental Justice (EJ) Implementation Report The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issues this annual EJ Implementation Report to describe and summarize DOT’s EJ activities in keeping with Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” and a Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice signed by the heads of Federal agencies in 2011. The 2015 report highlights the release of the FHWA Environmental Justice Reference Guide, a resource intended for FHWA staff to help them ensure compliance with EJ requirements. The document does not establish any new requirements or replace any existing guidance. Staff Contact: Brenda Kragh, (202) 366-2064.
Framework for Better Integrating Health into Transportation Corridor Planning Supports transportation practitioners motivated to incorporate health into planning decisions, this framework poses questions to identify issues to consider, suggests partnership strategies, and identifies data and tools needed to support these decisions. Five transportation agencies across the country tested the framework in a corridor study. Their experiences were turned into case studies that highlight how each of the agencies applied the framework to incorporate health into their corridor planning processes, and the resulting outcomes. Staff Contact: Victoria Martinez, (787) 771-2524.
Transportation and Health Tool (THT) - The tool developed by the DOT and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides easy access to data that practitioners can use to examine the health impacts of transportation systems. The tool, completed in October 2015, provides data on a set of transportation and public health indicators for each U.S. state and metropolitan area that describe how the transportation environment affects safety, active transportation, air quality, and connectivity to destinations. You can use the tool to quickly see how your State or metropolitan area compares with others in addressing key transportation and health issues. It also provides information and resources to help agencies better understand the links between transportation and health and to identify strategies to improve public health through transportation planning and policy. Staff Contact: Fred Bowers, (202) 366-2374.
Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Performance Management Guidebook This guidebook provides voluntary best practices to assist program managers at SDOTs and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in using a performance-based approach for implementing their TAPs. The guidebook will help ensure that staff and decision makers understand program goals and that program actions are making progress towards achieving those goals. Staff Contact: Christopher B. Douwes, (202) 366-5013.
Remotely Monitoring Water Quality near Highways: A Sustainable Solution Collecting water quality data on streams located near highways can be challenging, time-consuming, expensive, dangerous and inaccurate. Collecting water quality data is crucial, however, to State DOTs in their effort to meet U.S. EPA permit requirements. Placing sensors directly in the water to collect data is one solution, but these rely on batteries that have to be replaced frequently. Designing a renewable and self-sustaining onsite system is the goal of this Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program project conducted by Montana State University and funded by FHWA. Staff Contact: Marcel Tchaou, (202)366-4196.
The Workbook for Building On-Road Bicycle Networks through Resurfacing Projects helps communities create on-road bike networks by capturing opportunities as part of the resurfacing process. Staff Contact: Dan Goodman, (202)366-9064.
The Guidebook for Evaluating Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures presents a broad range of potential measures and that highlight their effectiveness at different scales. Staff Contact: Dan Goodman, (202)366-9064.
Notices and Offers by Electronic Methods: Process Streamlining This research study evaluated the feasibility of using electronic methods to deliver notices and offers without jeopardizing an owner’s or a tenant’s rights under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (Uniform Act). The Uniform Act and the implementing regulations at 49 CFR Part 24 require that agencies personally deliver or send notices to property owners or occupants by certified or registered first-class mail, return receipt requested. These regulations also require an agency to make all reasonable efforts to contact the owner or owner’s representative to discuss the offer to acquire real property. A webinar was held in early March to discuss the findings of the research. Staff Contact: Rosemary Jones, (202) 366-2042.
Implementation of Electronic Right-of-Way Management Systems Versus Paper Systems Recognizing that implementing an electronic right-of-way management system can be potentially costly and complex, HEPR conducted research to develop tangible, easily understandable documentation for transportation professionals in public agencies to use in supporting the potential implementation of an electronic right-of-way information management system. The research project compared and contrasted the relative strengths and challenges associated with using both an electronic system and a paper system and then identified and documented the business case associated with the implementation of an electronic system. Staff Contact: Rosemary Jones, (202) 366-2042.
Implementation of Electronic Data/Recordkeeping Systems versus Paper Records This recently completed research provides the Office of Real Estate Services (HEPR) with tangible and easily understandable documentation for transportation professionals in public agencies, at the state and local levels, to use in support of implementing electronic information management systems for ROW and related activities. Staff Contact: Rosemary Jones, (202)366-2042.