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 decisionmaking. 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.
Economic Development and Transportation Scan and Primer - This project aims to improve understanding of the current state of the practice in incorporating economic development plans and goals into transportation plans and processes. FHWA Division Offices will be scanned and best practices will be documented. With this information, a primer will be created that highlights basic principles in economic development and how they intersect with transportation plans and programs. HEP Staff Contact: Stefan Natzke, 202-366-5010.
National Highway System Tracker - This project will tie the National Highway System (NHS) to a Geographical Information System to enable document tracking. The final interface will allow both verbal/spatial searches and cataloguing of historical NHS documents. Easy access to NHS historical documentation will allow for better knowledge management and consistency in managing the NHS. HEP Staff Contact: Kevin Adderly, 202-366-5006.
Performance-Based Planning and Programming: Guidebook Series - To address the need for technical information on Performance-based Planning and Programming (PBPP), FHWA along with our partners and stakeholders published the first in a series of three guidebooks. Performance Based Planning and Programming (PBPP) Guidebook is designed to help State DOTs, MPOs, RTPOs, transit agencies, and other partner organizations understand:
The Guidebook builds on existing PBPP resources and tools, including a white paper and a series of workshop discussions that FHWA and FTA have sponsored to encourage dialogue among the transportation community. HEP Staff Contact: Harlan Miller, 202-366-0847.
Cycle Track Planning and Design Resource - The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, under an FHWA task order, is developing a cycle track planning and design resource. Cycle tracks are dedicated bicycle facilities alongside a roadway, typically separated from motor vehicle traffic by a physical barrier. This research will include a detailed safety and mode share analysis, while also highlighting cycle track planning and design considerations. FHWA expects to complete the research in fall 2014. HEP Staff Contact: Christopher B. Douwes, 202-366-5013.
Stormwater Quality Banking and Trading - FHWA is undertaking a research project to document the available frontier undertakings in stormwater quality banking and trading. The research is intended to gather information to determine the advantages, disadvantages and/or risks associated with water quality offsets/trading to satisfy water quality requirements set by State and/or federal environmental regulatory agencies. This analysis and framing of the structure and vehicles for a potential credit system will serve to drive pilots that can influence national stormwater management and programs. HEP Staff Contact: Marcel K. Tchaou, 202-366-4196.
Alternative Uses of Highway Right-of-Way Pilot Implementation - The FHWA, with State Departments of Transportation, is exploring uses of highway right-of-way (ROW) to accommodate renewable energy technologies. Together with the Volpe Center, the FHWA selected State DOTs to plan, develop, and advance projects that accommodate renewable energy technologies and/or alternative fuel facilities (e.g., solar installations, wind turbines, bioenergy crop/biomass production) within the highway right-of-way (ROW). The new FHWA alternative uses of highway right-of-way webpage, scheduled to go live at the beginning of November 2013, will highlight project examples and recently released research information. HEP Staff Contact: Bruce Bradley, 202-493-0564.
Examining and Clarifying Reimbursable State Funded Early Acquisition and Statewide Planning Requirements - The FHWA and the VOLPE Center are analyzing actions State DOTs can take to meet the early acquisition reimbursement requirements under MAP-21, Section 1302. The focus of the study is to share several State DOTs existing practices and challenges related to the comprehensive and coordinated land use, environment, and transportation planning process under State law. HEP Staff Contact: Bruce Bradley, 202-493-0564.
Implementation of "Notices and Offers" by Electronic Methods: Process Streamlining - This research will provide FHWA with technical information aimed at improving how internet based systems can be used to streamline the acquisition process. The FHWA will feature an option to allow property owners or occupants to use current technology to receive right-of-way acquisition offers and notices by "electronic means," when an agency can demonstrate secure receipt of the acquisition information. HEP Staff Contact: Bruce Bradley, 202-493-0564.
Implementation of Electronic Data/Recordkeeping Systems versus Paper Records - This research will provide FHWA with tangible and easy to understand 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. HEP Staff Contact: Rosemary Jones, 202-366-2042.