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Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Annual Report

Appendix B: Research Highlights

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 emphasis area contacts and program staff identified research activities for FY2011 based on stakeholder feedback and other national priorities. A summary table is provided below. Complete descriptions of each research activity recommended in FY2011 can be found on the STEP website at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/resources/research_plans/fy11rp.cfm.

Emphasis Area Number of Research Recommendations FY2011 STEP Funds Requested
ENVIRONMENT EMPHASIS AREAS
Air Quality and Climate Change 4 $1,000,000
Water/Wetlands/Vegetation/Wildlife/Habitat 0 $0
Historic Preservation 3 $200,000
Livability 1 $400,000
Bicycles/Pedestrians 1 $150,000
Noise 1 $310,000
Environmental Streamlining/Stewardship 4 $800,000
Context Sensitive Solutions 1 $100,000
PLANNING EMPHASIS AREAS
Congestion 3 $200,000
Safety Planning 1 $50,000
Freight Planning 2 $125,000
Public Involvement, Visualization in Planning/Environmental Justice 2 $200,000
Other Activities that Support State/Local/Tribal Planning Capacity Building 0 $0
U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico Border Planning 3 $200,000
National Security, Defense and Interstate Planning 0 $0
REAL ESTATE SERVICES EMPHASIS AREAS
Real Estate Program Stewardship 3 $570,000
Outdoor Advertising Control 1 $110,000
TOOLS TO SUPPORT PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT EMPHASIS AREAS
GIS/Spatial Information for Improved Decision Making 2 $200,000
Travel Modeling 1 $500,000
PROGRAM MANAGEMENT AND OUTREACH 2* $1,120,000
 
HEP ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR   $8,313,039
TOTAL 35 $14,548,039

* Total includes one Financial Management and Program Assistance research recommendation

STEP funds contributed to substantial advancements in research and tools to support transportation planning and the environment. In addition, STEP research projects have leveraged funds from other sources to complete this work. Several emphasis areas were involved in successful cost-sharing partnerships.

Descriptions of FY2011 research accomplishments by emphasis area, including those funded with prior year funding, are listed below. These descriptions include accomplishments from both short-term and ongoing projects. The total budget for an emphasis area may not equal the sum of individual projects described in this report, as some projects started in FY2011 but are not yet complete and some accomplishments occurred in FY2011 but were funded in prior years.

Emphasis Areas Related to Environment

Air Quality and Climate Change

Emphasis Area Contacts: Cecilia Ho and Diane Turchetta

Level of FY2011 Funding: $1,000,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

AMPO also convened air quality and transportation planners to exchange information and share and document best practices in areas such as transportation conformity, air quality planning for State implementation plans, and implementation of EPA's final version of MOVES.

FHWA also identified and shared conformity best practices, initiated a complete update of the Transportation Conformity Reference Guide, and developed and delivered transportation conformity training sessions to MPOs. Additional activities included presentation and delivery of STEP research results at key venues and conferences.

Water/Wetlands/Vegetation/Wildlife/Habitat

Emphasis Area Contact: Marlys Osterhues

Level of FY2011 Funding: $0

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

In cooperation with the FHWA Arkansas Division Office, USFWS and AHTD are participating in a pilot research project using the IPaC decision support system to implement proactive species conservation during transportation project planning. The anticipated outcome of the pilot is to demonstrate how a collaborative partnership between a State DOT (AHTD) and a resource agency (USFWS) can achieve better conservation results and streamlined, predictable project planning.

Historic Preservation

Emphasis Area Contact: MaryAnn Naber

Level of FY2011 Funding: $200,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

Livability

Emphasis Area Contact: Gabe Rousseau

Level of FY2011 Funding: $150,000

There were no FY2011 accomplishments in this area.

Bicycles/Pedestrians

Emphasis Area Contact: Gabe Rousseau

Level of FY2011 Funding: $150,000

NTEC prepared the Summary of Nationwide Spending as of FY2010 report, which is part of an annual series of national spending reports. The report provided insight into TE spending at the national and State levels and helped agency staff, policymakers, professionals, and the public better understand and maximize the benefits that can be derived from TE activities. The report is available at www.enhancements.org/download/Spending_Report/TE_Spending_Report_FY10.pdf. NTEC also published data briefs, provided technical assistance to the public, and organized the annual TE professional seminar for FHWA and State TE managers.

Noise

Emphasis Area Contact: Mark Ferroni

Level of FY2011 Funding: $310,000

Environmental Streamlining/Stewardship

Emphasis Area Contact: Shari Schaftlein

Level of FY2011 Funding: $800,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

Context Sensitive Solutions

Emphasis Area Contact: Shari Schaftlein

Level of FY2011 Funding: $100,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

Emphasis Areas Related to Planning

Congestion

Emphasis Area Contact: Harlan Miller

Level of FY2011 Funding: $200,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

Safety Planning

Emphasis Area Contact: Lorrie Lau

Level of FY2011 Funding: $50,000

In conjunction with the TRB TSP Working Group (TSPWG), FHWA developed a new document entitled Integrating Road Safety into NEPA Analysis: Practitioner's Primer. The primer presented a brief introduction on addressing safety within the NEPA process. It also provided information on methods to conduct meaningful, quantitative analysis of project safety issues and information on recent tools, research, and techniques to improve road safety. The primer was designed for NEPA practitioners who want to learn more about best practices for analyzing and addressing project safety issues during each stage of the NEPA process. It was intended to help safety practitioners understand the basics of the NEPA process and where safety considerations can be incorporated. The completed document is available at http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/projdev/pd6rs.asp.

Freight Planning

Emphasis Area Contact: Spencer Stevens

Level of FY2011 Funding: $125,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

Public Involvement, Visualization in Planning/Environmental Justice

Emphasis Area Contact: Frederick Bowers, Brenda Kragh, and Susan Grosser

Level of FY2011 Funding: $200,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

Other Activities that Support State/Local/Tribal Planning Capacity Building

Emphasis Area Contact: Kenneth Petty

Level of FY2011 Funding: $0

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico Border Planning

Emphasis Area Contact: Roger Petzold

Level of FY2011 Funding: $200,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

National Security, Defense, and Interstate Planning

Emphasis Area Contact: Stefan Natzke

Level of FY2011 Funding: $236,390

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

Emphasis Areas Related to Real Estate Services

Real Estate Program Stewardship

Emphasis Area Contact: Carolyn James

Level of FY2011 Funding: $570,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

Outdoor Advertising Control

Emphasis Area Contact: Mary Jane Daluge

Level of FY2011 Funding: $10,000

STEP funding supported continuous and ongoing updating, editing, and development of FHWA's real estate website (www.fhwa.dot.gov/real_estate/), dissemination of two newsletters, and supported the Real Estate Exchange (https://www.transportationresearch.gov/dot/fhwa/rex/). Additionally, STEP sponsored and supported two national meetings convening right-of-way (ROW) and outdoor advertising control professionals.

Emphasis Areas Related to Tools to Support Planning and Environment

Travel Modeling

Emphasis Area Contact: Sarah Sun

Level of FY2011 Funding: $500,000

General Travel Model Improvement Program (TMIP) Promotion, Outreach and Capacity Building (FY2011: $500,000).TMIP's Web Knowledge and Information Exchange webinar series delivered nine webinars on the following topics (recordings are available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tmip/):

The peer review program provides an opportunity for planning agencies to invite a peer review panel to review their models to ensure that the technical processes they are applying meet standards of professional practice and meet Federal, State, or local planning requirements. TMIP supports peer reviews by assisting agencies in panel assembly, logistics, and funding for travel. In FY2011, TMIP conducted five peer reviews in Omaha, Nebraska; Monterey, California; New York, New York; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Burlington, Vermont. Reports from these peer reviews are available upon request.

TMIP also produced and released a document entitled Peer Review Process Guide: How to Get the Most Out of Your Peer Review (available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tmip/resources/peer_review_program/process_guide/).

Furthermore, TMIP conducted a non-motorized travel case study, which was designed to identify factors that influence walk and bike travel. Using data from the National Household Travel Survey, available geographic information systems (GIS), and U.S. Census data, the team identified specific variables associated with the propensity to travel by walking.

The case study approach focused on Chittenden County, Vermont, and included county and sub-county level analyses to assess the influence of completeness and complexity of network coverage for roads and sidewalks as well as a matched-pair analysis to identify why some people walk and others travel by car for the same origin-destination pairs. The study considered only those respondents age 16 or older who reported at least one trip on the travel day. At the county level, the study results suggest that walking is most strongly associated with age, education level, presence of children, type of job, physical activity levels, and a positive attitude toward walking; higher residential densities and presence of shopping centers and social and institutional centers; and an adequate number of good sidewalks or walking paths. The findings suggest that smaller urban areas can promote increased walking through infrastructure investments in and near areas with higher residential densities and more shopping centers and social/institutional centers. In addition, education about the benefits of walking may also influence mode choice.

GIS/Spatial Information for Improved Decision Making

Emphasis Area Contact: Mark Sarmiento

Level of FY2011 Funding: $180,000

The following research activities had accomplishments in FY2011 but were funded through prior years of STEP funding.

Program Management and Outreach

Emphasis Area Contact: Patricia Cazenas

Level of FY2011 Funding: $1,120,000

Updated: 01/10/2014
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