Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Air Quality and Sustainability Highlights

Winter 2014

Prepared by the Office of Planning, Environment and Realty
Federal Highway Administration

Recent Events and Reports

FHWA Report Summarizes Current Practice of Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation into Transportation Projects. Assessment of the Body of Knowledge on Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation Measures into Transportation Projects highlights adaptation actions that transportation agencies are pursuing and articulates a growing set of best practices for implementing adaptation. The report also discusses strategies, examples, and best practices for evaluating the costs and benefits of adaptation. The purpose of the report is to provide transportation practitioners with a guide to the current "state of practice" in this field.

Case Studies Detail FHWA 2010-2011 Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Pilot Projects. FHWA has posted five four-page summaries of the studies conducted as part of FHWA's initial climate vulnerability and risk assessment pilot program. Each case study details the scope, objectives, approach, results, lessons learned, and next steps for the projects. The New Jersey case study , Washington State DOT case study, Oahu MPO case study, Metropolitan Transportation Commission case study, and VDOT-Hampton Roads case study are great resources for other agencies looking to assess the climate vulnerability of their transportation systems.

FTA Announces Availability of $3 billion for Resilience Projects in Sandy-Affected Areas. On December 26, 2013 the Federal Transit Administration issued a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for $3 billion in competitive grants to strengthen the resiliency of public transportation systems affected by Hurricane Sandy. The grants are to protect transit assets from "hazards similar to those associated with Hurricane Sandy, such as severe storm surge, flooding, including levels projected due to sea level rise" and "projected changes in …climate patterns." Public transportation providers applying for the funding must submit a hazard mitigation cost benefit analysis based on that used by FEMA, modified for transit applications.  Grantees enter costs associated with the construction of the resiliency improvement and monetized benefits in the form of avoided damages and disruptions into an Excel-based spreadsheet tool. Following FEMA guidance issued in December 2013, the user may add estimated sea level rise to the 10-, 50-, 100- and 500-year flood elevations. The grants are funded from the $10.4 billion provided to the FTA Emergency Relief program under the Sandy Supplemental funding for response, recovery, and rebuilding, $5.7 billion of which has already been allocated via formula. Applications are due March 28, 2014.

State and Local News

Massachusetts Governor Calls for Statewide Transportation Vulnerability Assessment. As part of a suite of climate change preparedness initiatives, Governor Duvall Patrick has called for MassDOT to conduct a vulnerability assessment of all facilities and adopt climate adaptation plans by 2015.

Post Irene Resiliency Report Includes Recommendations for VTrans. The report, Vermont State Agency Policy Options: Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program: Disaster Recovery and Long-Term Resilience Planning in Vermont, written by University of North Carolina researchers as part of EPA's Smart Growth Technical Assistance program with additional support from FEMA, discusses policy options for improving flood resilience using smart growth planning.

Ohio DOT Report Develops Best Practices for Implementing Renewable Energy Technology at Highway Maintenance Facilities. Evaluation of Renewable Energy Alternatives for Highway Maintenance Facilities, developed for Ohio DOT by researchers at the University of Cincinnati, analyzes energy use at ODOT maintenance facilities, details renewable energy technologies, describes quick fix and long-term energy efficiency strategies, identifies best management practices, and evaluates potential renewable energy technologies based on their environmental attributes, reliability, practicality, maintenance, and cost effectiveness.


FHWA Soliciting INVEST Implementation Projects - Round 2

FHWA announces a research funding opportunity for State departments of transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and Federal lands to apply FHWA's sustainability self-assessment tool, INVEST 1.0, and develop case studies. This is the second call for projects. FHWA would like to focus on applications of the INVEST Operations and Maintenance module by State DOTs, as this project type was under-represented in the first round. Other types of projects are also eligible if they are likely to demonstrate significant sustainability improvements as a result of using the INVEST tool.  The deadline for submitting letters of interest to FHWA Division offices is March 28, 2014.

Asset Management Conference Features Climate Adaptation Theme. The Transportation Research Board's 10th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management will be held April 28-30, 2014, in Miami, Florida and will include a separate track on adaptation to extreme weather events and climate change. The objective of this track will be to help practitioners incorporate impacts of extreme weather events and climate change on transportation infrastructure into their decision making, while also expanding the use of risk assessment and vulnerability analysis.

Volpe Talk/Webinar on Adaptation Post Sandy, Tuesday, March 18, 12:00 ET. Join Vinn White, senior policy advisor for transportation policy at the USDOT via webinar or in person for his talk titled "Federal Program 'Adaptation' Post Sandy." The event is part of Volpe's Speaker Series on Transportation System Resilience, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change.

ICNet Announces Spring Webinar Series. The Infrastructure and Climate Network (ICNet) has announced their spring 2014 webinar series. Visit their website to sign up for these upcoming webinars or view recordings of past events.

Wednesday March 26, 2-3 pm ET
Coping with Climate Change at MaineDOT: Practice, Planning and Policy
Charlie Hebson and Judy Gates, Maine Department of Transportation/ Environmental Office

Wednesday April 30, 2-3 pm ET
The Current State of Infrastructure Engineering and Climate Science
Jennifer Jacobs, University of New Hampshire

Wednesday May 28, 2-3 pm ET
Storm Surge Risk Modeling and Coastal Engineering Adaptations in a Changing Climate
Kirk Bosma, Woods Hole Group

If you have any suggestions for inclusion in future issues of Transportation and Climate Change News, or if someone forwarded this newsletter to you and you'd like to receive it directly in the future, please send your suggestions or request to Becky Lupes at

FHWA HQ Climate Change Contacts in the Office of Planning, Environment & Realty:

Office of Natural Environment, Sustainable Transport & Climate Change Team

Mike Culp,
Team Leader
John Davies,
GHG emissions analysis, modeling, performance measures
Connie Hill Galloway,
Sustainability, brownfields and hazardous waste sites
Tina Hodges,
Adaptation, sustainability
Heather Holsinger,
Sustainability, adaptation, GHG emissions analysis, energy
Rob Hyman,
Adaptation, sustainability, GHG emissions analysis
Rob Kafalenos,
Adaptation, energy
Becky Lupes,
Adaptation, GHG emissions analysis, NEPA
Diane Turchetta,
GHG emissions analysis, energy

Office of Planning

Jody McCullough,

Office of Project Development & Environmental Review

Bruce Bender,

Updated: 12/27/2016
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000