Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Planning · Environment · Real Estate

Events Guidance Publications Awards Contacts

FY 2011 Research Plan

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.


Below is information on the proposed Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) fiscal year (FY) 2011 Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) research projects.

The STEP is a cooperative research program that reflects national priorities as well as stakeholder input. The STEP also reflects research partnerships and efforts to leverage research funding with other research initiatives that are planned or underway.

Table 1 lists the total number of research projects that are expected to be carried out in each emphasis area along with the FY2011 STEP Budget. The following pages include summary information about each project proposed within each emphasis area. Many projects listed in the FY2011 STEP are crosscutting and are implemented in collaboration with one or more emphasis areas or with other FHWA research programs.

The summary information includes the emphasis area, email contact information, the title of the activity, a short summary of the activity, and the funding amount.

Table 1: FY2011 STEP Budget by Emphasis Area
Emphasis Area Number of Research Recommendations STEP FY2011 Budget
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 Environment And Planning Emphasis Areas
Travel Modeling 1 $500,000
GIS/Spatial Information for Improved Decision Making 2 $200,000
Program Management And Outreach
Program Management and Outreach 1 $1,000,000
Financial Management and Program Assistance 1 $120,000
HEP Associate Administrator   $8,313,039
Total 35 $14,548,039

I. Anticipated Research Efforts in Environment

Air Quality and Climate Change

Contact Persons:
Cecilia.Ho@dot.gov
Diane.Turchetta@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Climate Change Research Outreach and Communication

This research effort will provide information on air quality, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and sustainable transportation to FHWA staff, stakeholders, and the public.

The goals of the effort are to inform and provide technical assistance to stakeholders in an easily accessible format through syntheses and compilations of research results that use non-technical terms, charts, graphs, illustrations, and other methods. This effort will require new research and the ability to communicate the results of completed research. FHWA will collaborate with several partners on this effort, including the Federal Transit Administration, United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the Department of Energy, the United States Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO), the National Association of Regional Councils, the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, and others.

This effort will also include presentations at conferences, written materials (both hard copy and online materials), websites, webcasts/webinars, web-based communities of practice, peer exchanges, teleconferences, video conferences, public education materials, newsletters, and training materials. Additionally, it will cover the development and dissemination of information on:

  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation;
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategies and target analysis;
  • Public education;
  • Sustainable transportation;
  • Activities that reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and congestion; and
  • Person-to-person marketing.

$50,000

  1. Transportation and Air Quality Research, Analysis, Tools Development and Training

This effort will advance the understanding of transportation and air quality issues. It will also inform and provide technical assistance to stakeholders to help them meet transportation requirements of the Clean Air Act and air quality-related transportation system requirements. This research will focus on:

  • Implementation of the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES);
  • Interface between traffic models and MOVES;
  • Project level and hot-spot analyses;
  • Implication of near roadway monitoring requirements;
  • Dispersion models applications and air quality analyses;
  • Air quality and livability interactions;
  • The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program;
  • Mobile source air toxics;
  • Health impact assessment of transportation projects;
  • New air quality standards and regulations; and
  • Air quality outreach, communications, and training activities.

$500,000

  1. Climate Change and Transportation

As awareness of the risks posed by climate change grows, State and local governments have developed climate action plans, set targets for emissions reductions, and adopted a host of measures to assess and reduce climate footprints. This research effort will:

  • Develop and test tools and strategies to understand and reduce transportation GHG emissions. This will include updating and expanding existing tools and strategies as well as developing new methods and approaches;
  • Investigate how national policies or strategies to reduce GHG emissions might affect transportation services, funding, and infrastructure and analyze the effectiveness of these policies and strategies in reducing GHG emissions. This will include reviewing or developing proposals for national policies or legislation;
  • Engage in a cooperative effort focused on strategies to reduce GHG emissions through VMT reductions and promoting multimodal transportation system efficiency;
  • Conduct a pilot project to investigate GHG emissions reduction potential through integrating transportation, land use, and climate change strategies;
  • Provide technical assistance to States to develop climate action plans;
  • Develop methodologies to establish GHG emissions targets; and
  • Fund the United States (U.S.) Department of Transportation (USDOT) Center on Climate Change. The Center annually selects projects with advice and concurrence from the Center Steering Committee.

Additionally, FHWA will continue to research the vulnerabilities of transportation infrastructure to climate change impacts and adaptation strategies to avoid and minimize potential impacts. The goal of these efforts is to assist transportation professionals in adapting the transportation system to continue delivering the public a safe, reliable, effective, and sustainable transportation system in light of a changing climate.

Research efforts might include:

  • Continued development and refinement of FHWA's adaptation strategy to describe key areas related to climate change adaptation in which FHWA intends to focus its attention and to provide a foundation and a plan for future FHWA activities;
  • Continued technical assistance to States that pilot FHWA's risk assessment model on climate change titled "Conceptual Model for Assessing Vulnerability and Risk of Climate Change Effects on Transportation Infrastructure" and
  • Dissemination of technical assistance on climate change effects.

Furthermore, research efforts will support an ongoing climate change risk and vulnerability assessment for the Gulf Coast region. This assessment builds on findings of the Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study (2008) to develop more definitive information about multimodal impacts at the local level. This study will focus on the Mobile, Alabama, metropolitan area. It will develop precise tools and guides for State DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), modal planners, and municipalities that facilitate long-term planning architectures to help communities better adapt to potential climate impacts.

$350,000

  1. Sustainable Transportation

There is a need to better understand, apply, and evaluate the effects of sustainable methodologies and practices in transportation project development. Developing a strategic plan for sustainability is essential to help provide direction to State DOTs and others and assist agencies with identifying specific approaches and practices to reach sustainability goals. Research is needed on sustainable activities, including redevelopment of brownfields and ways to increase their use for transportation projects. Efforts might include:

  • Developing a strategic sustainability plan;
  • Developing training and technical guidance on sustainability;
  • Research on how sustainable solutions may be integrated into transportation;
  • Research on how to measure the benefits of applying sustainable techniques and methodologies;
  • Support for the continued development of FHWA's Sustainable Highways Self-Evaluation Tool;
  • Building a brownfields inventory for transportation infrastructure and research to understand how brownfields may be used to support sustainability goals and objectives;
  • Conference and meeting support for sustainability programs and brownfields; and
  • Developing and sharing an understanding of the relationship between sustainability and livability.

$100,000

Water Wetlands Vegetation Wildlife Habitat

Contact Person:
Marlys.Osterhues@dot.gov

Needs and research for this emphasis area include ways to help transportation agencies improve the analytic skills, tools, and abilities they require to help assess and mitigate natural resource impacts of highway project development.

Historic Preservation

Contact Person:
MaryAnn.Naber@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Continuation of the Research and Innovation Agreement with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)

This research effort will continue FHWA's support for its existing research and innovation agreement with the ACHP. This interagency agreement will monitor and analyze statewide programmatic agreements and FHWA cases coming through the ACHP that present new or developing issues of national importance. The purpose of the effort is to summarize and disseminate best practices and innovative approaches throughout the transportation/environmental fields. Hands-on participation by senior ACHP staff in complex cases with national implications will ensure efficiencies in project development and review. The effort will produce case studies posted to FHWA and ACHP websites, presentations delivered at national meetings, and innovative applications of program alternatives allowed under the ACHP's implementing regulations.

$100,000

  1. Historic Bridge Maintenance Dissemination of Best Practices

This research effort will identify similarities and differences among maintenance and rehabilitation approaches that are recommended for historic bridges and other types of bridges. The outcome will be publication of a manual or series of case studies that supplement general preservation recommendations for all bridges and contain specific information/treatments to extend the life of historic bridges. Application of good maintenance practices will prolong the useful life of existing infrastructure. Utilization of approaches sensitive to bridges' historic significance will preserve more examples of this aspect of engineering heritage.

$75,000

  1. Traditional Cultural Properties Peer Exchange/Workshop

This research effort will support participation of FHWA Division Office environmental specialists, State DOT/Tribal cultural resource specialists, and Tribal members in a national meeting to begin a dialogue regarding identification, evaluation, and management of traditional cultural properties. This effort will occur in conjunction with a proposed conference to be held in Washington, District of Columbia (D.C.), with participation from the National Park Service and ACHP.

$25,000

Livability

Contact Person:
Gabe.Rousseau@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Promoting Best Practices on Transportation and Livability Linkages

This research effort will identify, share, and pilot test best practices to promote transportation and livability linkages. USDOT leadership has placed increased emphasis on linking transportation with community livability. Core livability concepts (e.g., providing transportation choices, supporting public involvement, understanding relationships between transportation and land use) are not necessarily new but transportation agencies are looking to FHWA for tools and information about how to foster livability. Activities might include developing outreach resources such as newsletters and webinars, supporting a pilot test of a transportation needs assessment in California, and hosting peer exchanges on key livability issues.

$400,000

Bicycles/Pedestrians

Contact Person:
Gabe.Rousseau@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Outreach and Best Practices on Bicycle and Pedestrian Issues

The Bicycles/Pedestrians topic area seeks to "provide technical knowledge and products needed by State and local officials in developing and implementing bicycle and pedestrian projects."

This information will be provided using a multi-faceted approach that includes continuing to operate the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse (NTEC). Transportation Enhancements have been the largest funding source for pedestrian and bicycle projects since the program began in 1992. Maintaining NTEC is a key activity because many stakeholders at the national, State, regional, and local levels use information provided by the clearinghouse. Other anticipated activities in this research effort will include disseminating best practices related to walking and bicycling infrastructure.

$150,000

Noise

Contact Person:
Mark.Ferroni@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Highway Traffic Noise: Research, Training and Communica-tion
FHWA will continue to conduct research on highway traffic noise for stakeholders and the public. The goals of this research, training, and communication effort will be to complete development and beta-testing of the FHWA Traffic Noise Model 3.0. #310,000

Environmental Streamlining/Stewardship

Contact Person:
Shari.Schaftlein@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Advancing Innovations in FHWA's Environmental Review Process

The efficient and effective coordination of multiple environmental reviews, analyses, and permitting actions is essential to meeting SAFETEA-LU's environmental streamlining and stewardship mandates for highway and transit projects. FHWA has made substantial investments to develop methods, tools, and techniques to improve the quality and efficiency of environmental decision-making. FHWA continually pursues innovation in the environmental review process.

This research effort will continue a number of ongoing efforts and initiate several new activities, including the following:

  • Supporting numerous conference and workshops to improve the timeliness and quality of the environmental review process and incorporate the findings of STEP and other research activities into the state of the practice;
  • Continuing assistance for FHWA's Discipline Support System; and
  • Incorporating research into analysis methods and guidance.

$150,000

  1. Improving Project Delivery through the Every Day Counts Initiative

FHWA has a longstanding commitment to improve the environmental review process for transportation projects and ensure meaningful stewardship of human and natural resources. As part of FHWA's Every Day Counts Initiative, FHWA has a renewed focus to improve project delivery. Additionally, FHWA has established a research initiative to develop tools to guide and support FHWA Division Offices and States in employing underutilized flexibilities in project development and delivery.

Overall, FHWA's efforts related to the environmental review process are focused on six key areas:

  • Supporting Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL);
  • Employing legal sufficiency enhancements;
  • Expanding use of programmatic approaches;
  • Using in-lieu fee and mitigation banking;
  • Clarifying the scope of preliminary design; and
  • Providing enhanced technical assistance on Environmental Impact Statements.

Activities to advance this research initiative include:

  • Providing technical assistance;
  • Facilitating peer exchanges among State DOTs, FHWA Division Offices, and Federal/State resource and permitting agencies; and
  • Developing and disseminating case studies, guidance, questions and answers, and other tools to assist in deploying these initiatives.

$200,000

  1. Linking Eco-Logical to Project Development

In early 2006, FHWA and seven other Federal agencies released the document: Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects. The ecosystem approach, as outlined in the document, identifies and addresses the greatest conservation needs associated with mitigation for infrastructure projects. In 2007, FHWA awarded 14 grants to implement Eco-Logical principles as part of the planning and project development process. This research effort will focus on implementing Eco-Logical principles during project development and environmental review processes, including permitting.

$350,000

  1. PEL

The PEL initiative, a joint effort between the FHWA Office of Planning (HEPP) and Office of Project Development and Environmental Review, focuses on promoting PEL concepts through delivering customized Linking Planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) workshops and targeted initiatives in focus states.

This research project will support additional focus state efforts to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of PEL activities. It will continue ongoing efforts to identify and deliver assistance to State, regional, and local transportation agencies as they implement PEL concepts and address the environmental-related provisions of SAFETEA-LU Section 6001. Additionally, this activity will support consolidation of key national and regional datasets for regional ecological frameworks to save time for MPOs, Councils of Government, and State DOTs. Finally, through this activity, FHWA will support collaborative efforts to promote and provide decision-support tools and guides.

$100,000

Context Sensitive Solutions

Contact Person:
Shari.Schaftlein@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Continued Support for CSS Clearinghouse

CSS is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic, and environmental resources while maintaining safety and mobility.

This research activity will continue to facilitate a national information exchange on CSS-related issues and topics through the CSS Clearinghouse. Since 2005, the CSS Clearinghouse, available at www.contextsensitivesolutions.org has served as the central community of practice for the industry. The CSS Clearinghouse saves time for agencies and practitioners while providing them with access to important information.

CSS activities, resources, and information disseminated through the clearinghouse include:

  • Technical resources;
  • State and local CSS exemplary projects;
  • Inventory of current agency CSS practices, policies, and programs;
  • Newsletters; and
  • CSS training courses and webinars.

$100,000

II. Anticipated Research Efforts in Planning

Congestion

Contact Person:
Harlan.Miller@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. A Framework for Travel Demand Management (TDM) in the Transportation Planning Process

Through this research effort, FHWA will develop a compact disc with read-only memory (CD-ROM) for the TDM Desk Reference titled A Framework for Travel Demand Management in the Transportation Planning Process. This CD, along with outreach efforts, will promote a more contemporary approach to TDM.

$75,000

  1. Conduct Workshops on Applying Innovative Analysis Tools in Planning for Operations

This effort will support delivery of a series of one-day workshops that focus on applying innovative analysis tools in planning for operations. The workshop series is targeted to highway operations and planning staff and highlights the potential benefits derived from use of analytical tools. Workshops will also focus on how operators and planners can collaborate to better determine potential benefits of operations strategies to address regional mobility needs.

$75,000

  1. Guidebook for Equity Analysis (Congestion Pricing)

This effort will develop a guidebook for use by State and local planners to help them analyze, evaluate, and mitigate equity impacts of road pricing proposals.

The guidebook is expected to address the following topics:

  • Definition of various types of transportation equities of concern in road pricing, such as: 1) market equity, which is assessed by comparing tolls paid by motorists to costs that motorists impose on society or benefits that motorists receive; 2) opportunity equity, which is assessed by observing whether or not toll revenue expenditures are equally distributed; and 3) outcome equity, which is assessed by observing whether the cost burdens of tolls are equally distributed and whether mobility and other benefits are equally distributed;
  • Definition of units for analysis (e.g., geographic areas, stakeholder groups, and individuals);
  • Definition of impacts of concern for each type of equity and for each unit of analysis, such as user costs and benefits, service qualities, as well as external and economic impacts;
  • Measures to assess the equity impacts of concern on a per capita (e.g., adult, commuter, household), per vehicle mile, per trip (e.g., commute trip, peak-period trip), and per dollar (e.g., dollar of user fee paid, dollar of tax paid) basis;
  • Ways to incorporate equity analysis in planning and project development processes;
  • Methods to estimate and evaluate equity impacts; and
  • Alternative ways to mitigate negative or disproportional impacts on specific geographic areas, groups, or individuals.

$50,000

Safety Planning

Contact Person:
Lorrie.Lau@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Transportation Safety Planning

This research effort will develop a broader approach to integrating safety into planning and project development processes. The approach will emphasize safety's four "E's": Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Emergency Response. The approach will also address how safety influences overall planning and project development processes and how safety is systematically institutionalized and considered within planning and project development stages.

$50,000

Freight Planning

Contact Person:
Spencer.Stevens@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Freight and Sustainability (Livability and Climate Change) International Scan

FHWA HEPP will work with the FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations and the FHWA Office of International Programs to focus the results of freight studies from Latin America (2001), China (2008), and Europe (2010).

Moving freight can pose challenges with respect to community design, health, well-being, energy consumption, pollution, congestion, and infrastructure management. It is imperative that the freight transportation network continues to function at a high level. However, it is also important to integrate transportation improvements (e.g., expansion, reconstruction, rehabilitation, maintenance) with livable and sustainable principles and to remain mindful of climate change mitigation and adaptation. This requires identifying solutions that support the need for freight capacity and productivity expansion while considering livability, sustainability, and climate change goals and objectives. These are emerging areas in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.

$50,000

  1. Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA)

Through this initiative, FHWA will implement findings from its 2010 European Union (EU) freight scan and assess the utility of MCA for U.S. transportation planning (not limited to freight) as an alternative or supplement to cost-benefit analysis. As the EU moves away from cost-benefit analysis and proceeds with MCA for freight corridor planning, it is important to engage EU participants and experts in a dialogue about MCA use.

MCA is a valuable and increasingly widely used tool to aid decision-making where there are choices between competing options. It is a particularly useful tool for considering complex and interconnected environmental, social and economic issues. It is also useful in situations where trade-offs are unavoidable due to competing objectives. MAC provides a robust and transparent decision-making structure that explicitly details key considerations and the values attributed to them. Furthermore, MCA provides opportunities for stakeholder and community participation.

$75,000

Public Involvement, Visualization in Planning/Environmental Justice

Contact Persons:
Frederick.Bowers@dot.gov
Brenda.Kragh@dot.gov

Susan.Grosser@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Objective Measures of Effectiveness of Outcomes from Public Involvement (PI)

This research will develop definitions of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness for available PI tools and techniques. It will also identify and test potential measures of effectiveness. A recent survey of transit professionals conducted by the Transportation Research Board's Committee on PI revealed a strong need for objective measures to assess the outcomes of PI efforts. The committee supports funding for pilot projects to apply the most promising of these tools and techniques at the State DOT and MPO levels, track their implementation, and assess their effectiveness. However, the committee has not focused on pilot programs to date.

$100,000

  1. Non-discrimination/Title VI/ Environmental Justice (EJ) Differences and Benefits/ Burdens Analysis

There are many misconceptions about EJ, its status in law, and the level of analysis needed during planning and project development to assess non-discrimination as well as its benefits and burdens. This research effort will clarify the definition and rationale for non-discrimination. It will also provide analysis techniques, including the limited English proficiency four-factor analysis, to determine the benefits and burdens of non-discrimination for protected groups.

$100,000

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

Contact Person:
Kenneth.Petty@dot.gov

Needs and research for this emphasis area include providing assistance to State, local, and Tribal transportation officials to support and enhance their understanding of the transportation planning process.

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

Contact Person:
Roger.Petzold@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Greening Transportation at the Border

This research effort will develop and promote a comprehensive strategy to green transportation at the U.S. and Mexico and U.S. and Canada borders.

This effort will build on the results of a February 2011 workshop called "Greening Transportation at the Border." The purpose of the workshop and subsequent activities is to develop a comprehensive approach to establishing livable and sustainable border regions. The workshop identified critical areas that need to be addressed to green transportation in border regions and enhance their livability and sustainability. These areas include air and water quality, energy efficient buildings, reduced border wait time, enhanced traffic management, alternative energy sources (e.g., wind, solar), pedestrian and traffic safety, community enhancements, and others. This initiative will define each emphasis area, gather input from experts and the public, and develop a plan to implement more detailed studies or use existing information to create a multi-national action plan.

The research will also identify specific efforts and actions that could have a positive effect on greening transportation in the border regions, developing a detailed set of activities, pilot testing those activities, and developing a comprehensive plan that includes performance measures. The research effort will emphasize development of pilot implementation activities.

$150,000

  1. U.S./Mexico Joint Working Committee (JWC) Research

This research effort will provide technical support to the JWC to facilitate its two-year work plan. Additionally, this effort will conduct workshops and peer exchanges to address specific transportation issues in the border region. Finally, the effort will support specific tasks in the JWC work plan, including JWC bi-annual meetings.

This research will result in reports on regional border master plans, emerging transportation issues in the border region, exchanges of technical information, support of bi-national planning and operational surface transportation activities, and research on specific issues as identified by the JWC.

$25,000

  1. U.S./Canada Transportation Border Working Group (TBWG) Research

This research effort will provide technical support to the U.S./Canada TBWG to implement its action plan. The effort will develop a five-year planning process, conduct workshops and peer exchanges to address specific transportation issues in the border region, and support TBWG bi-annual meetings and specific tasks in the TBWG action plan. Current issues of interest to the TBWG include planning, operations, performance measures (e.g., wait time), intermodal analysis, intelligent transportation systems, and other topics defined by the TBWG.

This research will result in reports on emerging transportation issues in the border region, exchanges of technical information, support of bi-national planning and operational surface transportation activities, and research on specific issues as defined by the TBWG.

$25,000

National Security, Defense and Interstate Planning

Contact Person:
Stefan.Natzke@dot.gov

Needs and research for this emphasis area include ways to provide analyses and assessments of the National Highway System that support defense planning, environmental decision-making, and further economic development through implementation of transportation projects.

III. Anticipated Research Efforts in Real Estate Services

Real Estate Program Stewardship

Contact Person:
Carolyn.James@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Acquisition and Negotiation for Right-of-Way (ROW) for Federal Projects

This effort will develop a course that provides training and background to negotiators and supplies basic knowledge to inexperienced agents to help them succeed in their work. For more experienced negotiators, the course will provide a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of the acquisition process. The course will cover:

  • Ideas to assist in negotiation preparation;
  • The appraisal process;
  • Communication skills;
  • The supervisor/negotiator relationship;
  • Administrative settlements;
  • Negotiations with governmental agencies; and
  • Negotiations with utilities and railroads.

This course will deal exclusively with negotiations for public agencies that have the power of eminent domain, giving primary emphasis to negotiations on Federal-aid or Federal grant projects where Public Law 91-646 (the Uniform Act) applies.

$225,000

  1. Eminent Domain for Attorneys and Appraisers

This effort will develop a course that enhances the performance of attorneys, appraisers, and other expert witnesses in delivering and presenting testimony and arguments in a courtroom setting to obtain realistic court awards in eminent domain proceedings. The course will:

  • Illustrate the importance of a team approach for effective presentation in condemnation actions;
  • Explain how to develop this type of team approach;
  • Outline the fundamental roles of negotiations in eminent domain;
  • Discuss the importance of multi-disciplinary team participation throughout the eminent domain process;
  • Describe basic principles of appraising for eminent domain acquisition; and
  • Detail the eminent domain litigation process and how the course can help ensure that public agency personnel understand the eminent domain process and its requirements.

$225,000

  1. Stakeholder and Partner Outreach and Informational Dissemination Programs

This research effort will improve and upgrade the FHWA Office of Real Estate's website, its primary information dissemination tool. The website supports a community of practice that provides an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss technical issues, share solutions, and identify best practices.

This effort will also involve the continued development and support of outreach activities and innovative information-sharing among practitioners who implement the Federal-aid program and carry out activities in compliance with Uniform Act requirements. Partnering with stakeholders and supporting outreach activities provide opportunities to reach larger groups and audiences that have a vested and direct interest in research related to the Federal-aid ROW program, the Uniform Act, and other real estate programs. A continuing trend throughout the ROW professional community is the loss of institutional knowledge and a resultant loss of professional capacity. This trend requires FHWA HEPR to continuously develop innovative stewardship and oversight methods for Federal-aid ROW programs.

$120,000

Outdoor Advertising Control

Contact Person:
MaryJane.Daluge@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Outdoor Advertising Control Permit Fee Structure Study

This study will help determine what an appropriate outdoor advertising control fee structure entails. It will also determine what permit fees would be needed to cover State DOT costs of regulation and enforcement of the Highway Beautification Act, as well as a method to set fees that is agreeable to stakeholders. The study will include a survey of State DOTs to document current fee structure and program costs. The study might involve identifying several pilot states, allowing them to set permit fees for one to two years, synthesizing and evaluating the impacts of the new fee structure, and then determining whether States' ability to maintain effective control and enforcement has improved.

$110,000

IV. Anticipated Research Efforts in Tools to Support Planning and Environment

Travel Modeling

Contact Person:
Sarah.Sun@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. General Travel Model Improvement Program (TMIP) Promotion, Outreach and Capacity Building

The TMIP TRB Special Report 288 (Metropolitan Travel Forecasting: Current Practice and Future Direction) is one of the most important travel modeling studies to date. The study found metropolitan travel forecasting shortcomings such as poor technical practices, inadequate data, or lack of validation processes and procedures.

This research effort will promote travel model improvement. TMIP has the potential to facilitate adoption of advanced modeling practices and improvement of current practices.

$500,000

GIS and Spatial Information for Improved Decision-Making

Contact Person:
Mark.Sarmiento@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Applications in Transportation Case Studies

The annual AASHTO GIS for Transportation Symposium State survey and the STEP comment process illuminated the need for case study reports that examine how GIS and spatial data are being applied in the following areas:

  • Mobile mapping;
  • Public GIS web portals and executive dashboards; and
  • NEPA Section 106 and cultural resources.

This work will produce case studies that highlight the effective application of GIS and spatial data in these areas.

$100,000

  1. GIS Applications in Transportation Peer Exchanges

GIS and spatial data are invaluable resources and tools for transportation professionals in State DOTs and MPOs across the country. The transportation community has expressed interest in learning from and participating in peer exchanges that focus on applications of GIS in transportation.

This project will involve planning, facilitating, and documenting peer exchanges that convene professionals who are currently applying GIS as well as those who are interested in applying GIS in the following areas:

  • Transportation operations;
  • Environmental streamlining; and
  • Safety and data management.

$100,000

Program Management and Outreach

Contact Person:
Patricia.Cazenas@dot.gov

Research Activity or Project

Project Summary

STEP Budget

  1. Program Management and Outreach

Program Management and Outreach supports the FHWA Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty's (HEP) overall research and other programs. This category provides funding for STEP program outreach, website support for FHWA HEP research and programs, financial management support for STEP, and support for marketing, outreach, and program initiatives. Products from these efforts will include the following:

  • STEP outreach materials;
  • FY2011 STEP research plan;
  • Reports;
  • Brochures;
  • Webinars;
  • Newsletters; and
  • Workshops.

$1,000,000

  1. Financial Management and Program Assistance

This effort provides financial management and program assistance for planning and environment discretionary program initiatives, which include the National Scenic Byways Program, the Transportation, Community, and System Preservation Program, and the Delta Region Transportation Development Program. FHWA HEP researches the effectiveness of its programs by conducting surveys and analyzing the findings.

$120,000

Updated: 08/21/2014
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000