May 10, 2018
Innovation of the Month:
Integrating National Environmental Policy Act and Permitting
The Every Day Counts initiative on integrating National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and permitting processes focuses on outreach, training, and technical assistance to help agencies streamline and synchronize highway project reviews.
The initiative features proven best practices and tools for efficiently navigating environmental assessments, environmental impact statements, and other review documents needed for projects.
One tool is the “2015 Red Book: Synchronizing Environmental Reviews for Transportation and Other Infrastructure Projects,” a how-to guide on integrating project reviews that agencies can use to improve their processes or develop new ones.
Another tool is the eNEPA electronic collaboration system, which supports timely and consistent coordination among agencies to complete necessary permitting processes. eNEPA allows agencies to upload and comment on documents, conduct concurrent reviews, establish action due dates, and track edits.
For information and technical assistance on using NEPA and permitting tools, contact Mike Ruth of the Federal Highway Administration Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty.
Pennsylvania Report Highlights Innovation Progress
The Pennsylvania State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) published its 2017 accomplishments report. One highlight is the STIC’s collaboration with FHWA on a seminar to share strategies to improve safety on local roads. Sessions focused on using safety countermeasures to address issues, fostering a safety culture through education and enforcement, and funding local safety programs. The STIC’s Materials Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was also recognized for advancing cement slurry for full-depth reclamation (FDR), a technique that involves applying a water and cement mix in liquid form to the ground roadway base for improved stability and is particularly beneficial for rural, stabilized roads. The STIC introduced and deployed FDR in less than a year. A pilot project in Susquehanna County successfully deployed FDR, and the TAG is working to include a specification to help standardize use of the technique. See the STIC’s map to learn where innovations are deployed in Pennsylvania. For information on innovations highlighted in the accomplishments report, contact RA-pdPennDOTSTIC@pa.gov.
Utah Prioritizes Safety Projects With Data-Driven Safety Analysis
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and three counties used the Roadway Safety Foundation’s usRAP software—a data-driven safety analysis (DDSA) tool—and historical crash data to identify and prioritize Highway Safety Improvement Program projects. UDOT reports that the usRAP results were particularly helpful for rural roads with little crash history. UDOT is incorporating the usRAP output into projects that are included on their Statewide Transportation Improvement Program to ensure safety improvements are considered for funding in the planning and scoping phases. For information on DDSA, contact Jerry Roche or John McFadden of FHWA.