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Alternative Uses of Highway Right-of-Way

Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Acronyms

AASHTO
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
ARRA
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Caltrans
California Department of Transportation
CDOT
Colorado Department of Transportation
CFR
Code of Federal Regulations
CPV
Concentrating photovoltaic
CTR
University of Texas at Austin's Center for Transportation Research
DOD
U.S. Department of Defense
DOE
U.S. Department of Energy
DOJ
Department of Justice in Oregon
DOT
State Department(s) of Transportation
EIA
Energy Information Administration
EMF
Electromagnetic field
EU
European Union
EV
Electric vehicle
FAA
Federal Aviation Administration
F2F
Freeways to Fuel Alliance
FHWA
Federal Highway Administration
FTC
Federal Trade Commission
FTE
Florida Turnpike Enterprise
GHG
Greenhouse gas
GIS
Geographic information system
HVAC
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
JPO
Joint Program Office
kW
Kilowatt
kWh
Kilowatt hour
LED
Light-emitting diode
LRTP
Long Range Transportation Plan
MassDOT
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
MPH
Miles per hour
MW
Megawatt
NCDOT
North Carolina Department of Transportation
NCHRP
National Cooperative Highway Research Program
NEPA
National Environmental Policy Act
NJDOT
New Jersey Department of Transportation
NREL
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
ODOE
Oregon Department of Energy
ODOT
Oregon Department of Transportation
OSU
Ohio State University
PGE
Portland General Electric
PHEV
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
PPA
Power Purchase Agreement
PV
Photovoltaic
REC
Renewable Energy Credit
RFP
Request for Proposals
ROW
Right of Way
RPS
Renewable Portfolio Standard
SAFETEA-LU
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users
SEP-15
New Special Experimental Project
SLA
Solar License Agreement
SMUD
Sacramento Municipal Utility District
STIP
Statewide Transportation Improvement Program
TIGER2
Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery 2
TIP
Transportation Improvement Program
TxDOT
Texas Department of Transportation
UAP
Utility Accommodation Policy
UDOT
Utah DOT
UK
United Kingdom
USC
United States Code
U.S. DOT
United States Department of Transportation
USU
Utah State University
Volpe Center
U.S. DOT John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
WSDOT
Washington State Department of Transportation

Executive Summary

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has sought to better understand global climate change and the transportation sector's effects on the issue, and vice versa. The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) transportation authorization bill provides opportunities for State and Federal agencies to conduct research on innovative practices that may reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and, by extension, the transportation sector's contribution to climate change effects and impacts. As such, this research investigates the state of the practice in accommodating renewable energy technologies and alternative fuel facilities within highway right-of-way (ROW), both activities that might help curb climate change.

The development of renewable energy technologies and alternative fuel facilities is compatible with current national and U.S. DOT priorities. These applications promote energy security by helping diversify the means of energy generation and delivery, and reducing the reliance on imported petroleum. They contribute to lowering GHG and other pollutant emissions by being both less energy intensive to produce and more energy efficient when used. Such projects can also foster the creation of a local green job market while enhancing the economic growth, competiveness, and viability of the nation's renewable energy and alternative fuel technology industries.

From a highway ROW perspective, however, there are considerable economic, ecological, legal, and political uncertainties related to whether accommodating renewable energy technologies and alternative fuel facilities can be practical highway land management practices. This report is intended to provide transportation agencies with information that will better enable them to consider the implications and evaluate the feasibility of implementing renewable energy and fuel options in the ROW. The findings presented in this report are based on the review of the relevant literature and a series of interviews with stakeholders representing State highway ROW renewable energy and alternative fuel facility projects that are in varying stages of completion and that utilize, or are pursuing, a range of technologies. A peer exchange convened among the interviewees and additional stakeholders supplemented the information collected during the interviews. The lessons that early adopters have learned is intended to help inform others seeking to pursue similar projects.

Key observations and findings include:

Best practice opportunities for DOTs are:

FHWA can further help states achieve desired outcomes by removing existing obstacles and providing incentives to encourage DOTs and energy developers to produce alternative power along the highway ROW.

Opportunities and potential next steps for FHWA are:

Updated: 09/05/2014
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