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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-036    Date:  March 2018
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-036
Date: March 2018


Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology Evaluation Final Report: Eco-Logical

5. Conclusions

FHWA’s intention for providing grants in 2007 was to incentivize practitioners to put the principles defined in the 2006 guidebook into practice.(3) FHWA recognized the value of demonstrating its commitment to the approach by providing funding and technical assistance to its stakeholders and encouraging practitioners to share results with their peers.

The purpose of SHRP2 implementation assistance in 2013 was to further operationalize the Eco-Logical approach through additional resources to lead adopters and early users of the approach. SHRP2 also allowed FHWA and its partners to further define and provide more technical assistance to Eco-Logical users.

Evidence from the Eco-Logical Grant Program funding recipients indicates that the FHWA Eco-Logical Program and approach have contributed to improved project delivery processes and environmental mitigation. FHWA research and funding have enabled recipients to adopt the Eco-Logical approach sooner and more comprehensively. In some instances, the agencies’ Eco-Logical projects positioned them to attract additional funding from other sources. Agencies are building relationships with partners, sharing and using data in better ways, and using information gathered to inform project prioritization and to develop integrated transportation plans. Most agencies pursued the earlier steps of the Eco-Logical approach, which are more focused on planning rather than project development.

Recipients also experienced common challenges as they sought to implement the Eco-Logical approach. While agencies found success in using the Eco-Logical approach in planning, few recipients pursued the later steps of the approach, and few recipients identified or quantified impacts related to project delivery or environmental mitigation. Possible reasons include the following:

In order to address these challenges, the evaluation team recommends that FHWA continue to provide technical assistance to its stakeholders and focus that assistance on specific topics such as how to quantify impacts and how to apply the Eco-Logical approach in project development. FHWA should consider opportunities to engage regional level staff within FHWA and partner agencies and to direct some technical assistance to building awareness with local agencies that implement projects. FHWA should further support agencies in adopting performance measures and tracking progress to quantify time, cost, and environmental benefits. Finally, FHWA should consider using a consistent set of questions or measures to evaluate the progress of recipient agencies each year in order to measure overall progress of the approach in the long term.

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