The Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty's research activities support program and policy objectives that help the FHWA create the best transportation system in the world. The research primarily addresses topics associated with comprehensive intermodal and multi-modal transportation planning, enhancement of community and social benefits of highway transportation, and improvements to the quality of the natural environment by reducing highway-related pollution and by protecting and enhancing ecosystems. In addition, research on the fair and prudent acquisition and management of real property is undertaken.
On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Funding surface transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014, MAP-21 is the first long-term highway authorization enacted since 2005.
MAP-21 also established policy, principles, and planning practices for a flexible national research and technology program. A key research program area is planning, environment and realty. The Office of Planning, Environment and Realty is responsible for developing and implementing research projects focused on the following objectives:
To learn more, please visit HEP's MAP-21 research page.
The Safe Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A legacy For Users (SAFETEA-LU) was signed by President George W. Bush on August 10, 2005. This legislation initially provided funding between Fiscal Years 2005-2009 for highways, highway safety, and transit Federal surface transportation programs. SAFETEA-LU was re-authorized through 2012 to continue that funding.
HEP administered the following research programs/projects within Title V of SAFETEA-LU:
The FHWA's Planning Research focuses on providing quality data, analysis and information to transportation planners and decision-makers. One area of research is Transportation Planning Capacity Building where tools and resources are provided for State DOTs, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, rural and small communities, and tribal governments and other institutions to plan and fund transportation investments and operations. Other Planning Research initiatives support statewide and intermodal planning, safety conscious planning, linking planning to the NEPA process in addition to operations, forecasting transport demand and system changes, smart growth, and transportation land use.
The FHWA's Environmental Research focuses on balancing concerns for the natural environment while adding value to the community. Areas of research are environmental streamlining, noise, air quality and global climate change, wetlands, water quality and ecosystems, and Tribal government consultation.
The FHWA's Realty Research encourages local scale effectiveness and national scale relevance for the acquisition and management of highway real property interests. Realty Research activities develop methodology, technology, and systems appropriate for right-of-way agencies. Technological innovations are encouraged for property management routines such as integrated database resources and Internet access, particularly important for Outdoor Advertising Control and access management concerns. Other Realty Research incorporates advanced communication and training systems designed for new and established professionals. Realty Research continually supports the right-of-way information knowledge necessary for effective professional performance.