The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Planning, Environment and Realty's (HEP) Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) ended on September 30, 2012. For current HEP research information, please see HEP's MAP-21 research web site.
STEP projects include short-term initiatives and ongoing multi-year programs; they may be carried out by FHWA staff or by a collection of professionals in many different agencies. The FHWA uses STEP funds and the STEP process to build partnerships that encourage collaboration, leverage diverse funding sources, and offer a fresh perspective on emerging research topics. FY2011 STEP projects reflect stakeholder feedback and collaboration.
Notable projects from each emphasis area are highlighted below with respect to their core function:
Conducting Research Studies
- Investigated best practices for innovative project delivery to meet Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and best practices in applying environmental justice principles as part of the National Environmental Policy Act process.
- Reviewed practices for estimating fleet emissions data for on-road vehicles and heavy-duty trucks to inform evaluations of methods to derive fleet activity data.
- Documented the state-of-the-practice for performance-based planning in non-metropolitan and rural areas.
- Identified strategies used by Regional Development Organizations to incorporate livability principles into rural and small metropolitan area planning processes.
Developing and Deploying Tools, Technologies, and Practices
- Developed tools to assist transportation and air quality modelers in preparing emissions analyses using the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator.
- Updated an online tool for streamlining the preparation of biological assessments and consultation processes under the Endangered Species Act.
- Created a desk reference for determining when Travel Demand Management (TDM) should be incorporated into the transportation planning process, including how TDM might be integrated into statewide, regional, corridor, and local transportation planning.
Connecting the Community and Transferring Knowledge
- Hosted four Structured, Transparent, Accountable, Reproducible, and Sustainable workshops to facilitate the exchange of ideas, data, and tools to integrate transportation planning and project development activities.
- Conducted eight workshops focused on applying innovative analysis tools in planning for operations.
- Hosted a workshop with 125 attendees to identify opportunities for reducing the environmental and community impacts of congestion in the U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico border regions.
- Held three peer exchanges that focused on applications of Geographic Information Systems in supporting livability, safety, and climate change considerations.