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Welcome to the winter 2014 issue of FHWA's Office of Planning, Environment and Realty's Quarterly Research Newsletter.
This newsletter offers readers the latest information about the Office's research activities. This issue sports a new look, but retains all the same features we brought to you in 2013.
Protecting the human and natural environment from potential impacts incurred by transportation projects is a key focus of the Office of Project Development and Environmental Review's research. We also look at the intersection of technology and the environment to develop tools and procedures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental review and permitting processes. Before projects can move to construction, FHWA must address and comply with laws related to the environment. These federal laws cover social, economic and environmental concerns ranging from community cohesion to threatened and endangered species. FHWA uses the National Environmental Policy Act process to evaluate impacts associated with each individual project. This will accelerate project delivery and achieve improved environmental outcomes.
This year, our team is focusing on several activities including accelerating project delivery and achieving improved environmental outcomes. These activities include: implementation of the MAP-21 environmental provisions, advancing Every Day Counts environmental initiatives such as expanding use of eNEPA - the FHWA tool to facilitate the environmental review process through enhanced interagency collaboration and document management, and support the Executive Order and Presidential Memoranda associated with cutting timelines and improving outcomes for environmental review and permitting of infrastructure projects. eNEPA was developed with the stalwart guidance of our colleague Mary Frye, who retired from FHWA in February. We extend our thanks and best wishes as she moves on to new pursuits.
This edition of the newsletter includes highlights from the Transportation Research Board's (TRB) Annual Meeting, information about a new online tool to help consumers calculate transportation costs as part of their housing decisions, and new case studies on the Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework. In this issue, you'll also find:
Please visit the MAP-21 research website and discover how you can get involved in our work to improve transportation decision making and promote efficiency while protecting communities and the environment.
Gerald Solomon, Director
Office of Project Development and Environmental Review
FHWA Office of Planning, Environment and Realty
Increasing investments in transportation research and addressing transportation's impact on energy, climate, and the environment were two of the five critical issues in transportation presented at the Transportation Research Board's 93rd Annual Meeting, held from January 12-16, 2014 in Washington, DC.
During the meeting, more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world gathered to explore these critical issues at nearly 800 sessions and workshops.
FHWA's Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty hosted a booth at the conference to provide attendees with more information about the Office's current and upcoming research activities, including the Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model (SELDM) for stormwater management, Climate Change Adaptation Case Studies, and the Office's new Performance Based Planning and Programming (PBPP) Guidebook. Copies of the Office's research brochure and fact sheets about research activities in each of the office's five areas were also available.
In addition, several of the Office staff members presented at TRB committee meetings, sessions ,and workshops. The chart below highlights these presentations.
You can review these presentations by visiting the TRB interactive program searching by the presenters' name(s).
|STAFF MEMBER||PRESENTATION||SESSION/WORKSHOP/COMMITTEE SPONSOR|
|Shari Schaftlein and Susan Jones||SHRP2 Research/Environmental updates||Environmental Analysis|
|Pat Cazenas||FHWA Research Update/Water Quality Updates||Hydrology, Hydraulics, and Water Quality|
|Becky Lupes||FHWA Climate Change Resilience Program||Mainstreaming Community-Based Climate Adaptation into Transportation Planning/Climate Change and Energy|
|James Garland and Gary Jenson||
SHRP2 Capacity and Reliability: Moving Research into Practice through Development Activities and Pilot Projects
SHRP 2 Technical Coordinating Committee for Reliability Research (FC000)
SHRP 2 Technical Coordinating Committee for Capacity Research
|John Bowman, Mark Bradley, Joseph Castiglione, and Supin Yoder||Making Advanced Travel Forecasting Models Affordable Through Model Transferability||Session 240 - Model Applications|
|Elaine Murakami /Liang Long||NHTS and CTPP: Value of Combining both for Transportation Applications||Session 244 and Poster Session 384|
|Elaine Murakami co-authored with Ho-Ling Hwang et al.||Prototype Regional Non-motorized Travel Sketch Planning Tool: Promoting Walk Activities in Communities||Session 570|
|Joseph Castiglione, John Bowman, Mark Bradley, David Roden, Brian Gardner, and Supin Yoder||Schedule Consistency in an Activity-Based Dynamic Network Model System||Session 756 - Model Integration by Parts of the Research Community|
|April Marchese||Air Quality||Several Committee Meetings|
|Ting Ma, Frederick Ducca, Timothy F. Welch, Supin Li Yoder & Rolf Moeckel||The Economic Ties: Case Study of the Chesapeake Mega-Region||Poster Session 431 - Latest Research in Planning for Mega-Regions|
Another key theme of the meeting was importance of increased investments in research, particularly as MAP-21 is set to expire on September 30, 2014. According to TRB's 2014 Board Chair Kirk Steudle, "Research is the foundation of our future and as we look at the next reauthorization we have to have a solid components dedicated to research because if we think we know all the answers to all the problems today, we are absolutely wrong."
Recently the Sustainable Transport and Climate Change Team released five case studies that summarize climate change vulnerability pilot projects conducted in five metropolitan areas:
"The pilots allowed us to learn from a wide variety of agencies about the experiences and the impacts on their transportation systems to changing climate conditions," said Becky Lupes, Sustainable Transport and Climate Change Team.
The case studies summarize the results of the testing and include each project's key findings, including the assets with the highest risks, adaptation options, and resilience. In addition, each case study identifies lessons learned and recommended next steps. These include conducting a detailed assessment for long-range planning, communicating with stakeholders, and assessing vulnerabilities at broader and narrower geographic scopes. The findings were used to revise the 2012 edition of the Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework.
The Office of Planning, Environment and Realty's recently launched a series of videos about our research activities. The first video, Seek, Simplify, and Solve through Research, highlights five of the Office's recently completed research projects. Future videos will feature more details about individual projects. The Office hopes that these videos are not only informational, but also encourage viewers to get involved in these projects, share best practices on research implementation, and identify future research needs.
There is more to housing affordability than how much rent or mortgage you pay. Transportation costs are the second-biggest budget item for most families, but there hasn't been an easy way for people to fully factor transportation costs into decisions about where to live and work.
That is why The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) partnered to create the Location Affordability Portal. Recently unveiled by Secretaries Donovan and Foxx, the site provides reliable, user-friendly data and resources on combined housing and transportation costs to help consumers, policymakers, and developers make more informed decisions about where to live, work, and invest.
In December, HUD and DOT held two webinars that provided an overview of the new Location Affordability Portal. During these sessions, more than 200 attendees learned how the Location Affordability Index and My Transportation Cost Calculator can be used to support location-based decision making. Visit www.hud.gov/locationaffordability to access these resources, including tools, user guides, a video tutorial, and documentation.
Included in this section are recent highlights from the Office's research projects that are completed or underway.
Mobility Assessment of National Highway System (NHS) - Connectors to Airports in the New England States Study: For this project, Logan International Airport serves as a mini-case study in the application of intermodal tools and methods to better understand how the NHS serves as the backbone of the nation's transportation system. Using travel data, origin-destination data, and GIS networks, the study examines airports' access with respect to user travel times, mode split, and routing along the NHS segments. Staff Contact: Mike Neathery, 202-366-1257.
Model Long-Range Transportation Plans: A Guide for Incorporating Performance-Based Planning: This guidebook, a companion to the FHWA and FTA Performance Based Planning and Programming Guidebook, provides more detailed information about developing a performance-based long-range plan. It offers transportation agencies useful information to help them establish a performance-based planning and programming processes that lead to investment decisions made based on performance information. Staff Contact: Harlan Miller, 202-366-0847.
FHWA Announces $1.5 Million in Funding For Transportation Planning Research: FHWA released a new Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), "Advance Transportation Planning through Innovation and Research" to advance the practice and application of transportation planning among State, metropolitan, regional, local, and Tribal transportation planning governments. The BAA is in response to significant changes in the planning process and to identify new tools, techniques, and approaches that respond to national transportation planning priorities. The FHWA's research program will review proposals to fund innovation in such areas as planning capacity building, congestion management, safety planning, public involvement, environmental justice, visualization in planning, freight planning, planning and environmental linkages, and pedestrian and bicycle planning and design. Please note this BAA consists of a two-step process of pre-proposal and full proposal submissions. To apply, applicants should go to FedBizOpps.gov and search solicitation number DTFH6114R00019 for more information. The solicitation closes on April 23, 2014. Staff Contact Shana Baker, 202-366-4649.
MOVES2010a Regional Level Sensitivity: This research study analyzes the sensitivity of various input parameters' on emission rates using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's MOVES2010a1 model at the regional level. Pollutants included in the study are carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter of less than 2.5 micrometers. The study's results are presented using the predicted emission rates (grams/mile) for running exhaust, starts, and evaporative emissions across multiple MOVES source types. The following input parameters were varied in the analysis:
The results of the analysis show how the running exhaust, start, and evaporative emissions rates are affected by the variation of analyzed input parameters and the magnitude of the changes. Staff Contact: Mark Glaze, 202-366-4053.
Bridging Basic and Applied Research - FHWA's Exploratory Advanced Research Program
Understanding travelers' behavior, reducing the costs of congestion, and evaluating remote wildlife detection are a few of the issues being studied through FHWA's Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program. EAR is a bridge between basic and applied research that addresses longer-term, higher- risk, and breakthrough research with the potential for dramatic long-term improvements to transportation systems—planning, building, renewing, and operating safe, congestion-free, and environmentally sound transportation facilities.
Between 2007 and 2013, the EAR Program awarded 64 research projects on 41 different topics. The research awards include work by multidisciplinary teams at 48 academic institutions, 30 private companies, 11 State and local agencies, and nine Federal laboratories.
The Office of Planning, Environment and Realty's research efforts typically are shorter-term projects that address more immediate issues such as addressing alternative uses for right-of-way, streamlining projects, improving freight movement, and incorporating livability principles in planning.
Both approaches encourage collaboration with stakeholders and other partners to improve transportation decision making and provide solutions Our Office's staff members are involved in the EAR Program from identification of new topics through transition of results and serve as the technical point of contact for the following projects:
FHWA anticipates issuing a BAA that will open on or about February 12, 2014, and closing on or about April 9, 2014. There is a link to more information on the EAR Program web site under announcements.
The 2014 Transportation, Land Use Planning and Air Quality Conference
Holiday Inn - City Centre, Charlotte, NC
The conference will focus on the integration of transportation planning, land use, and air quality with the goal of achieving sustainability and livability objectives. Staff Contact: Mark Glaze, 202-366-4053.
NHI 142049 — Beyond Compliance: Historic Preservation in Transportation Project Delivery
NHI, 1310 North Courthouse Road, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201
"Beyond Compliance" is a three-day National Highway Institute course (FREE to FHWA staff) designed to help transportation professionals meet the requirements of Section 106 and take advantage of the flexibility offered by the Section 106 regulations. The training focuses on the fundamentals of Section 106, placing it in context with other environmental requirements, including NEPA and Section 4(f). The course presents a number of innovative and programmatic approaches to Section 106 compliance that streamlines and enhances environmental reviews and project delivery. The training emphasizes practical, real-world approaches for completing the Section 106 process, with the goal of balancing historic preservation concerns with the needs of transportation projects. This session will be taught by MaryAnn Naber, FHWA's Federal Preservation Officer. For more information, please visit: http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/course_search.aspx?tab=0&key=142049&sf=0&course_no=142049 Staff Contact: Mary Ann Naber, 202-366-2060.
Joint Rail Conference
Colorado Springs, CO
The conference is expected to address railroad infrastructure, rail equipment, and signal and train control engineering; service quality and operations; planning and development; safety and security; energy efficiency and sustainability; urban passenger rail transport; and electrification. To register, please visit http://www.asmeconferences.org/JRC2014/ConfRegistration.cfm .
I-TED 2014 — International Transportation Economic Development Conference
Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 400 N Olive Street Dallas, TX 214-922-8000
I-TED 2014 is the fifth international conference to concentrate on the linkage between transportation and economic development. This conference will focus on the issues and challenges related to the economy, global concerns, and financial constraints. Participants will discuss and address the emerging transportation needs of businesses and economic development. The scope at which this conference applies includes local, regional, state, national, and global levels. Staff Contact: Stefan Natzke, 202-366-5010. To register, please visit https://tti.tamu.edu/conferences/ited2014/.
Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model Training Sessions (SELDM)
FHWA Washington, DC, 8:30 a.m. — 4:30 p.m. Eastern
SELDM is a tool that can be used to estimate the risk of highway stormwater runoff on downstream waters and the potential effectiveness of best management practices. It is designed to help develop planning-level estimates of event mean concentrations, flows and loads from a highway site and an upstream or lake basin. Staff Contact: Susan C. Jones, 202-493-2139.
10th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management
Hyatt Regency Miami, Miami, FL
This conference will cover a broad range of topics on surface transportation modes of interest to agencies in all stages of implementation of asset management practices. Themes will include comprehensive implementation within and across organizations, establishing and monitoring asset management plans, performance measures for asset management, tools and technology to assist decision making, transit state of good repair, and adaptation of transportation to extreme weather events and climate change.
AASHTO GIS for Transportation Symposium
FHWA is presenting a workshop: Implementing SHRP II C40 Environmental Databases and Tools on the first day of the symposium. This workshop will talk about GIS tool development through the SHRP projects and the ones used in the proof of concept studies. For a full description of the workshop please visit: http://www.gis-t.org/workshops.php?year=2014.
The symposium is designed to allow for exchange of ideas between government and private industry on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for transportation purposes. In addition, participants will be able to share experiences, view state-of-art software, and learn more about the GIS transportation-related field. Staff Contact: Mark Sarmiento, 202-366-4828. To register, please visit http://www.gis-t.org/registration.php?year=2014.
2014 National Outdoor Recreation Conference
Holiday Inn at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA
Join the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals for its 33rd annual conference in a city known for its extraordinary outdoor recreation, stunning scenery, and vibrant culture.
The Presidio and Golden Gate National Recreation Area will be the location of the conference's field workshop. Staff Contact: Christopher B. Douwes, 202-366-5013. To register, please visit http://www.recpro.org/2014-conference.
The Office of Human Environment's Research and Financial Services Team administers research programs and financial support to HEP for research initiatives under MAP-21. They provide leadership, coordination, support and implementation of research activities. They also work toward improving outreach, communication and partnerships between Federal, State, and local stakeholders in managing the research programs. For more information, please contact HEP's Primary Research Coordinator: Patricia Cazenas, 202-366-4085.