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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Air Quality and Sustainability Highlights

December 2012

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

Recent Events and Reports

USDOT Posts Gulf Coast Study Phase 2 Climate Projections and Transportation Infrastructure Sensitivity Analysis. US DOT and FHWA have completed and posted three reports under Task 2 of the Gulf Coast Study Phase 2 project. Two of the reports focus on developing a range of projected climate change scenarios for Mobile, Alabama. The analysis includes projections for temperature, precipitation, local sea level rise, and storm surge inundation. The third report analyzes the sensitivity of transportation assets to climate change. Both sets of information will inform the subsequent vulnerability assessment stage of the project, currently underway.

FHWA Launches INVEST 1.0 Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool. On October 10, FHWA launched INVEST 1.0, FHWA's voluntary self-evaluation scoring system that enables transportation agencies to gauge their performance in adopting sustainability practices that improve economic, social, and environmental outcomes. The tool was piloted across the country in 2011 and improved to reflect lessons learned. FHWA is now initiating the next stage of the project and will be working with State departments of transportation (DOTs), metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and local governments on utilizing INVEST 1.0 to improve the sustainability of their projects, programs, and plans. More information will be forthcoming. For questions, please contact or

Report Released- NCHRP 25-25/Task 73: Improved Environmental Performance of Highway Maintenance - a Key to Transportation Sustainability. The final report of NCHRP 25-25/Task 73: Improved Environmental Performance of Highway Maintenance - a Key to Transportation Sustainability has been released. The report presents the results of a study of how State DOTs are incorporating environmental requirements and stewardship into their highway maintenance practices; and, in doing so, can enhance sustainability and improve performance of their highway systems. In addition to documenting the state of current practice, the study offers programs that might serve as models for other DOTs. One example is California, where Caltrans' maintenance program is moving towards the use of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) as a way of reducing electric power usage and greenhouse gas emissions.


FHWA Seeks Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Options Pilots. On November 16, FHWA issued a memorandum seeking proposals from State DOTs, MPOs, Federal Land Management Agencies, and tribal governments interested in conducting climate change or extreme weather vulnerability assessments or in analyzing adaptation measures. Responses from interested agencies are due to applicable FHWA Division or Federal Lands Offices by January 22, 2013.

Informational webinars on the program will be held at the following times:

The webinars are intended for those interested in participating in the pilot program. In each webinar, FHWA staff will provide a brief overview of FHWA's Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework. FHWA will give an overview of the pilot program and general parameters for the pilots. And there will be lots of time set aside for Q&A.

For more information on the pilot program, see the FHWA climate change pilot program Webpage.

TRB Annual Meeting Events to Cover Sustainability, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. The 2013 TRB Annual Meeting will be held January 13-17. It includes several sessions, workshops, and other events relating to climate change adaptation and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. A few of the events:

Workshop 141: Reducing Risks and Costs of Climate Change: Preparedness and Adaptation in the Face of Increasingly Extreme Weather.
Sunday, January 13.

In the scientific arena and at public infrastructure agencies, discussions on climate change have now evolved to permit identification of preventive measures combined with risk-based decision making to reduce climate change-related costs and risks. This workshop presents worldwide, state-of-the-art research and initiatives to address this issue.

Workshop 195: Understanding the Impact of Deployment Best Practices to Reduce Petroleum, Clean the Air, and Mitigate Climate Change in the Transportation Sector.
Sunday, January 13

This joint workshop given by the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Energy considers the work of DOE's Clean Cities local coalitions and their fleet stakeholders and state department of transportation efforts to increase the use of advanced vehicle technologies and alternative fuels.

Session 390: Making Transportation More Resilient to Climate Change: New Approaches to Assessing Vulnerability and Integrating Climate Change into Project Development.
Monday, January 14

Transportation agencies across the country are grappling with how to address the significant threats of climate change. Tools and approaches that can be used to assess infrastructure vulnerability to effects of climate change and evaluate adaptation options are presented.

Session 676: Estimating Flood Flows in a World of Climate Change and Nonstationarity.
Tuesday, January 15

Almost all hydrologic methods rely directly or indirectly on measurements of historical precipitation or flow based on the assumption that past behavior is valid in predicting future events. This assumption of stationarity is now being challenged and few techniques are available for adapting current methods to account for nonstationarity, including the potential effects of climate change.

Booth: INVEST Self-Evaluation Tool and Sustainable Highways Initiative
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel Exhibit Hall

Visit our booth to learn about the INVEST 1.0 sustainability tool and the Sustainable Highways Initiative, which facilitate balanced decision-making among environmental, economic, and social values-the triple bottom line of sustainability. Also find out more about FHWA efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and improve the resilience of transportation infrastructure to climate change and extreme weather.

INVEST 1.0 Demo and Brownbag
Two opportunities: Monday, January 14, 12:30pm-1:30pm & Wednesday, January 16, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Marriott Wardman Tower, Room 4300

Join us for a demonstration and discussion of INVEST 1.0 (Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool). FHWA developed this voluntary self-assessment tool to help DOTs, MPOs, and others integrate sustainability into their programs and projects. The tool was piloted at agencies across the country last year and FHWA is now seeking deployment sites. Please bring your own lunch.

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 or Heather Holsinger 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

Robin Smith,

Office of Project Development & Environmental Review

Bruce Bender,

Updated: 12/28/2016
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