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Recent Developments

Listed below are recent developments pertinent to research from the past six months. If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the Share Info with AASHTO form.

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AASHTO Issues Call for Transportation and Environmental Research Ideas

AASHTO has issued a call for practitioners to submit transportation and environmental research ideas to the Center for Environmental Excellence via the Transportation and Environmental Research Ideas (TERI) Database. The TERI database is a “one stop” location for keeping track of transportation practitioners’ research ideas across the environmental spectrum.  The Center will work with AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Environment (SCOE) to recommend ideas for funding through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The Center will accept new TERI research ideas through June 11th. For more information, link to the TERI web page or contact Jennifer Brickett, Program Manager for the Environment at AASHTO, at (202) 624-8815. (6-3-14)

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Round 4 SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Announced

AASHTO, FHWA and TRB have announced the products available for the fourth round of implementation assistance under the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2). Round 4 of SHRP2 will help state departments of transportation implement projects in the following areas: Nondestructive Testing for Concrete Bridge Decks (R06A), Technologies to Enhance Quality Control on Asphalt Pavements (R06C), Tools to Improve PCC Pavement Smoothness During Construction (R06E), Nondestructive Testing for Tunnel Linings (R06G), and Managing Risk in Rapid Renewal Projects (R09). AASHTO, FHWA and TRB also announced product webinars related to Round 4. For more information, link to Round 4 Implementation Assistance Program. (4-28-14)

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Recipients of Round 3 SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Announced

AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration have announced the recipients of the third round of implementation assistance under the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2). Round 3 recipients were announced in the following SHRP2 project areas: Freight Demand Modeling and Data Improvement (C20); GeoTechTools (R02); Precast Concrete Pavement (R05); Identifying and Managing Utility Conflicts (R15B); and Pavement Renewal Solutions (R23). AASHTO and FHWA also announced the launch of Round 4 implementation assistance. For more information link to www.fhwa.dot.gov/GoSHRP2 or http://SHRP2.transportation.org. (3-28-14)

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FHWA Launches Video Series on Environment, Planning Research Activities

A new video series from the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty highlights five recently completed research projects that inform decisions, integrate planning, streamline project delivery, reduce environmental impacts and improve quality of life. The video, Seek, Simplify, and Solve through Research, is featured on the office website, FHWA’s YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter. For more information, access the video, Seek, Simplify, and Solve through Research. (2-18-14)

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TRB Releases Annual Compilation of Energy and Climate Change Research Papers

The Transportation Research Board has published a compilation of nine research papers examining topics related to energy and climate change. Topics include actions to increase transportation efficiency; Quebec’s vehicle retirement program; choosing between diesel- and gasoline-powered cars; analyzing speeding behavior and gasoline prices; possible methods to reduce emissions and oil use in the transportation sector; greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas; managing urban mobility to address climate changes; smart growth’s potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; and the impact of climate change on transportation infrastructure. For more information, link to Transportation Research Record: Energy and Global Climate Change 2013. (1-7-14)

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TRB Research Record Publishes 2013 Volume on Environmental Issues

The Transportation Research Board’s latest Transportation Research Record explores environmental issues. Topics include a study of the health of box turtles health relocated because of a Maryland highway project, traffic noise modeling, quieter pavement demonstration projects developed by Virginia, the effect of absorptive barriers and quieter pavement in California, porous pavement’s impact on traffic noise and how stormwater pipe lining affects water quality, among others. For more information, link to Transportation Research Record, Environment 2013. (11-18-13)

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SHRP2 Updates Product Implementation Plan

The second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) has updated its 2012-2015 product implementation plan. New funding authorized by the states and the federal government spurred the need to update the implementation plan. The plan specifies funds to be targeted to implementation activities such as planning workshops, capacity building workshops, knowledge transfer webinars, the Implementation Assistance Program, and other efforts. The original SHRP2 product implementation plan was ratified and published in 2012. For more information, link to SHRP2 Product Implementation Plan 2012 – 2015. (October 2013)

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Eno Center Report Addresses Automated Vehicles' Benefits and Implementation Barriers

A new Eno Center for Transportation report on autonomous vehicles (AVs) addresses the technology’s benefits and potential hurdles to implementation. According to the report, AVs may enhance safety, relieve congestion and offer transportation alternatives to those now unable to drive, among other benefits. However, the report notes several barriers to AV implementation, including their cost, security concerns, incomplete research and testing, perception problems and legal questions. In addition, the report offers policy recommendations for the introduction and transition to AVs. For more information, link to the report. (October 2013)

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Study Provides Tools to Assess Projects' Economic Benefits

Spreadsheet tools for measuring the economic benefits of transportation projects have been developed under the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2, Project C11). These tools enable measurement of project impacts on three metrics: travel time reliability, market access and intermodal connectivity. The study also includes an accounting system for incorporating the three metrics into economic benefit and economic impact analyses. For more information, link to Development of Tools for Assessing Wider Economic Benefits of Transportation. (9-23-13)

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TRB Releases Transportation Research Record 'Air Quality' 2013 Issue

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) has published a compilation of ten research papers on air quality in its Transportation Research Record (TRR) journal. Topics covered include in-use construction equipment emissions, portable emissions measurement systems, transit bus exhaust emissions, sidewalk-level particulate matter concentrations, vehicle emission and near-road air quality, greenhouse gas emissions for last-mile deliveries and the role of heavy-duty freight vehicles in reducing greenhouse emissions, among others. For more information, link to TRR Journal No. 2340: Air Quality 2013, Volume 1. (8-16-13)

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Research and Technology Agenda Released by FHWA

FHWA’s Office of Research, Development, and Technology has unveiled its research and technology agenda. The agenda identifies six key highway challenges: safety, improving mobility of people and goods, maintaining infrastructure integrity, enhancing system performance, promoting environmental sustainability and preparing for the future. According to the agenda, FHWA’s sustainability efforts help transportation agencies implement energy-efficient practices, improve public health through increasing air quality and protect natural landscapes and wildlife. For more information, link to FHWA Research and Technology Agenda. (8-13-13)

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NCHRP Report Describes Pre-Event Recovery Planning

A pre-event recovery planning guide for transportation agencies has been published under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Report 753). The report describes preparations agencies and stakeholders can make before an event disrupts critical transportation infrastructure. Effective practices from recent experiences are included, as well as case study summaries and related guidance. For more information, link to NCHRP Report 753: A Pre-Event Recovery Planning Guide for Transportation. (8-1-13)

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FHWA Issues Latest Edition of the MAP-21 Quarterly Research Newsletter

The Federal Highway Administration has issued its third MAP-21 Quarterly Research Newsletter. The July 2013 newsletter highlights FHWA’s new Research and Technology Office website that provides information on the research agenda under MAP-21 and features examples of the office’s research activities. The issue discusses featured research on a new web-based application for FHWA offices to track project information. It also promotes the Eco-Logical Approach, new webinars, and other upcoming events. To read the newsletter, link to MAP-21 Quarterly Research Newsletter. (7-31-13)

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FHWA Announces Adaptation and Extreme Weather Research Projects

The Federal Highway Administration has posted information on three research efforts related to climate change adaptation and extreme weather. To assist with risk assessments and planning activities, FHWA’s Office of Infrastructure is compiling a second volume of the Hydraulics Engineering Circular 25 (HEC-25), “Highways in the Coastal Environment.” The agency also is studying the impacts of Hurricane Sandy and other severe weather events on the transportation networks of greater New York City metropolitan area. A third study will use a scenario planning process to analyze transportation and land use strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, link to FHWA Ongoing and Current Climate Change Research. (6-26-13)

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FHWA Posts Frequently Asked Questions on MAP-21 Research Program

The Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty (HEP) has posted a series of frequently asked questions regarding changes to its national research program under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The document provides information on topics including research coordination and funding, repeal of the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP), and how HEP will address research requests and stakeholder input submitted under STEP. For more information, link to HEP MAP-21 Research Frequently Asked Questions. (6-21-13)

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Expedited Project Delivery Included in Second Round of SHRP2 Implementation Funding

Research on expedited planning and environmental review for transportation projects will be included in the second round of implementation support under the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) Implementation Assistance Program, AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration have announced. The SHRP2 project, Expediting Project Delivery (C19), was included with three others products in the second round of funding support. The C19 research report contains 24 strategies to address or avoid 16 common constraints to speed delivery of transportation planning and environmental review projects. In addition to the 24 strategies for expediting project delivery, the research also provides case studies that illustrate how the constraints have been successfully encountered and addressed. For more information on the second round of implementation assistance, link to FHWA/AASHTO SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Program. (6-14-13)

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AASHTO Issues Call for 2013 Environmental Research Ideas

Practitioners are invited to submit transportation and environmental research ideas to the Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO via the Transportation and Environmental Research Ideas (TERI) Database. The TERI database provides a timely, organized, and comprehensive list of research ideas for policy makers and researchers as they make choices in forums such as NCHRP's 25-25 and 8-36 research programs about research priorities. The Center will accept new TERI research ideas through Tuesday, June 18, 2013. If you are unable to make the deadline, you may still submit your ideas, but they will not be considered for recommendation to NCHRP in this cycle. For more information, link to the Transportation and Environmental Research Ideas (TERI) Database. (6-14-13)

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Connected-Vehicle Test Bed Research Project Begins in Virginia

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech announced the launching of a research project to test connective-vehicle and connected-infrastructure technology along a four-mile section of Interstate 66 in Fairfax County. Researchers have equipped the test bed with 43 wireless infrastructure units to collect data. The wireless infrastructure units will download data on emissions, curve handling, braking, and acceleration from 12 research vehicles. For more information, link to Governor McDonnell Launches I-66 Connected-Vehicle Test Bed. (6-6-13)

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TCAPP and Integrated Ecological Framework Pilot Studies Highlighted in TRB Report

Pilot studies of the Transportation for Communities – Advancing Projects through Partnerships (TCAPP) initiative and the Integrated Ecological Framework (IEF) are highlighted in a prepublication report by the Transportation Research Board’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2), Capacity Project 41. Implemented to offer information on attaining collaborative outcomes, the TCAPP assists practitioners and agencies throughout the transportation planning, programming, and permitting processes. The report details important research findings and reconciles key results of individual studies. For more information, link to TCAPP and Integrated Ecological Framework Pilot Projects: Synthesis of Lessons Learned. (4-15-13)

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TRB Launches SHRP2 Webinar Series

The Transportation Research Board has announced a new webinar series that will focus on research products created by the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2). Each webinar will offer insight on resources developed by AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration to assist with implementing SHRP2 research products. The first webinar, “New Strategies for Managing Complex Projects,” is scheduled for May 7, 2013. Subsequent webinars will occur every other Tuesday. For more information, link to Announcing the SHRP2 Tuesday Webinar Series. (4-9-13)

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DOE Announces New Research on Energy Efficient Auto, Fuel Technologies

The Department of Energy has unveiled two new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (APRA-E) programs, which are intended to “develop technologies that shift our cars and trucks off oil.” Funding worth $20 million will go toward the Modern Electro/Thermochemical Advancements for Light-metal Systems (METALS) program, which seeks to develop energy-efficient and cost-effective manufacturing technologies to incorporate recycled metals into lighter-vehicles. An additional $20 million worth of available funding will be devoted to the Reducing Emissions using Methantrophic Organisms for Transportation Energy (REMOTE) program. REMOTE seeks to develop cost-effective methods to biologically convert natural gas to liquid. For more information, link to APRA-E Announces $40 Million for Research Projects to Develop Cleaner and Cheaper Transportation Choices for Consumers. (3-22-13)

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SHRP2 Implementation Program Announced by AASHTO, FHWA

A new implementation program to help state transportation agencies deploy research products under the Second Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) has been announced by AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration. The overall program, which includes funding support for efforts including FHWA’s Eco-Logical approach for infrastructure planning, will make available approximately $10.5 million in funding and assistance for six separate programs. For the implementation of Eco-Logical, funding is being provided at two levels: the lead adopter incentive level offers 6 awards of $200,000 to $250,000 each; and the user incentive level offers 20 awards of $25,000 each. Applications are due by March 22, 2013. A recording and Powerpoint presentation are available from a webinar on the funding for implementing Eco-Logical. For more information, link to the program application at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/goshrp2 and the AASHTO SHRP2 website at SHRP2.transportation.org. (2-21-13)

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Newsletter Showcases FHWA Research, Technology Activities

The Federal Highway Administration has published the January 2013 issue of its Research and Technology (R&T) Now newsletter with updates on research, technology, and development activities conducted within the agency. The newsletter features updates on general/administrative activities and topics including advanced research, infrastructure, safety, operations, and recent periodicals. For more information, link to FHWA R&T Now – January 2013 (1-29-13)

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Workshop to Address Use of Connected Vehicle Technology to Reduce Emissions, Fuel Consumption

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a workshop on March 26-27, 2013, to discuss research on the use of connected vehicle technologies to reduce transportation-related emissions and fuel consumption as part of the Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS) program. The workshop also will solicit input from stakeholders on three Transformative Concepts developed under AERIS for deploying connected vehicle technologies: Eco-Signal Operations, Dynamic Low Emissions Zones, and Dynamic Eco-Lanes. The workshop will focus on draft Concepts of Operations (ConOps) and Analysis Plans for modeling the AERIS Transformative Concepts. Portions of the workshop will also be available via webcast. For more information and to register, link to the workshop announcement and to the AERIS Program website. (1-28-13)

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AASHTO, FHWA Announce Webinars on Implementing New SHRP2 Products

AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration have announced a series of three webinars on implementation of products developed through the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2).  The first webinar, scheduled for Feb. 4, 2013, will focus on SHRP2 Capacity Solutions addressing transportation, planning, environmental review, and collaborative decision-making. The webinar will feature specific information on the product Implementing Eco-Logical (C06B). The second webinar, to be held on Feb. 7, 2013, will focus on SHRP2 Reliability Solutions, including tools for improving traffic operations and reducing congestion. The third webinar focusing on SHRP2 Renewal Solutions is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2013, and will address tools to rehabilitate the aging highway system, including advanced methods for accelerated bridge construction, pavements, and project delivery. For more information and to register for the webinars, link to the SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Webinars. (1-25-13)

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MAP-21 Research Website Launched by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty (HEP) has launched a website with information about a new research program focused on environment, planning, and realty under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 20th Century Act (MAP-21). Prior to MAP-21, research on these topics were funded by the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). The new website features resources including publications and webinars, highlights of HEP research activities, and contact information for HEP research coordinators. A new MAP-21 Research Quarterly Newsletter is also posted to the website. For more information, link to the MAP-21 Research website. (1-16-13)

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Research Report Focuses on Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation

A report documenting how environmental benchmarking can be used in the freight and logistics sector has been issued by the Transportation Research Board’s National Freight Cooperative Research Program. The report, Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation delves into the ways benchmarking can be employed as a management tool to improve environmental performance. The report provides a step-by-step benchmarking overview which also details how to apply the research to freight carriers, shippers, and freight hubs. For more information, link to the Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation. (1-6-13)

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NCHRP Report Offers Strategies for Communicating Value of Highway Maintenance, Preservation

Guidance to assist state departments of transportation in communicating the value of highway system maintenance and preservation is provided in a report produced under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Project 14-24). The report includes strategies for state transportation agency staff to present the case to agency leadership, elected officials, and the public for allocating budgetary and other resources to highway preservation and maintenance. For more information, link to NCHRP Report 742: Communicating the Value of Preservation: A Playbook. (1-3-13)

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TRB Releases Draft Report on Innovative Bridge Designs for Rapid Renewal

The Transportation Research Board has issued a non-edited, draft version of its “Innovative Bridge Designs for Rapid Renewal” report. The report, developed by TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) Renewal Project R04, covers the development of standardized approaches for the design and construction of complete bridge systems for rapid renewals. The report also describes a project that used the accelerated bridge construction standards developed through Renewal Project R04. For more information, including an Innovative Designs for Rapid Renewal Toolkit, link to Innovative Bridge Designs for Rapid Renewal. (12-28-12)

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TRB Releases Transportation Research Record 'Maintenance and Preservation 2012' Issue

The Transportation Research Board has published a compilation of 20 research papers on roadway maintenance and preservation-related topics in Volume No. 2292 of its Transportation Research Record journal. Topics covered include carbon emissions of road maintenance, maintenance costs of extreme weather events, climate impact on asphalt pavement preservation, and pervious concrete pavement maintenance. For more information, link to TRR Journal No. 2292: Maintenance and Preservation 2012. (12-25-12)

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SHRP 2 Report Examines How Congestion, Pricing Affect Travel Demand

The Transportation Research Board’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) has released a report synthesizing research on travel demand models that predict how travelers’ behavior changes in response to changes in traffic congestion and in the price of travel. The report was produced under SHRP 2 Capacity Project C04. For more information, link to Improving our Understanding of How Highway Congestion and Price Affect Travel Demand. (12-24-12)

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FHWA Newsletter Showcases Research, Technology Activities

The Federal Highway Administration has published the November 2012 issue of its Research and Technology (R&T) Now newsletter with updates on research, technology, and development activities conducted within the agency. The newsletter features updates on general/administrative activities and topics including advanced research, infrastructure, safety, operations, and recent periodicals. For more information, link to FHWA R&T Now – November 2012 (11-29-12)

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NCHRP Study Reviews State of the Practice for Emergency Procurement Procedures

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program has issued a report that provides a review of state emergency procurement procedures and identifies elements for the successful contracting of construction services under emergency situations. The report is based on a literature review and survey of state and federal transportation officials, a review of emergency procurement guidelines from 42 states and the Federal Highway Administration, and case studies of projects in 11 states. The report finds that emergency circumstances require that construction contracts be handled quickly but wisely. The report also finds that using streamlined versions of regular procurement procedures, and having a standing list of prequalified consultants and contractors maximize the possibility of a successful emergency repair. For more information, link to Expedited Procurement Procedures for Emergency Construction Services (NCHRP Synthesis 438). (11-20-12)

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TRB Issues Transportation Research Record on Energy, Global Climate Change

The Transportation Research Board has published a compilation of 21 research papers on topics related to energy and global climate change in Volume No. 2287 of its Transportation Research Record journal. Topics include energy use by plug-in electric vehicles, the carbon footprints for public transportation agencies in Florida, and life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of materials used in road construction. For more information, link to TRR Journal 2287: Energy and Global Climate Change 2012. (11-12-12)

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NCHRP Report Presents Tools for Assessing Highway Tolling, Pricing Projects

A decisionmaking framework and analytical tools for transportation agencies to assess the potential impacts of tolling and pricing projects on revenue generation and highway system performance is presented in a two-volume report produced under the Transportation Research Board’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Project 08-57). NCHRP Report 722, Volume 1, presents the decisionmaking framework and Volume 2 examines the analytical tools for forecasting potential review, transportation demand, and congestion and system performance based on tolling and pricing changes. For more information, link to Volume 1: Decision-Making Framework and Volume 2: Travel Demand Forecasting Tools. (10-26-12)

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TRB Releases Transportation Research Record 'Environment 2012' Issue

The Transportation Research Board has published a compilation of 22 research papers on environment-related topics in Volume No. 2270 of its Transportation Research Record journal. Topics covered include alternative uses of highway rights-of-way, wildlife crossing structures location and design, use of MOVES and AERMOD emissions models for conformity analysis, generating heavy-duty truck activity data for MOVES emissions model, exposure of bicyclists to air pollution, and other topics. For more information, link to TRR Journal No. 2270: Environment 2012. (10-12-12)

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STEP Fact Sheets Highlight Recent Research on Environment and Real Estate

The Federal Highway Administration’s Surface Transportation Environment and Planning (STEP) research program has issued two new fact sheets that highlight recent developments in environment and real estate research. Environment research has focused on improving practices for estimating fleet emissions data for on-road vehicles and heavy-duty trucks, reviewing best practices for projects involving historic resources, and updating the endangered species webtool. Real estate research has focused on sustainable uses for and acquisitions of rights-of-way. For more information, link to the STEP Environment Fact Sheet and the STEP Real Estate Services Fact Sheet. (7-31-12)

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FHWA Seeks Input on STEP Research Strategy for 2013

The Federal Highway Administration is seeking input on its fiscal year 2013 strategy for implementing the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). FHWA said it plans to pursue partnerships with other agencies and stakeholders to leverage funding for the program in FY 2013. The strategy provides 16 focus areas for the year, including strategies for accelerating project delivery and research to develop climate change mitigation, adaptation, and livability strategies. For more information, link to the Federal Register notice. (6-28-12)

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FHWA Releases STEP 2011 Annual Report

The Federal Highway Administration has issued its annual report on activities of the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). The report provides background information and an overview of the STEP program, highlights research accomplishments in fiscal year 2011, and describes collaborative activities with stakeholders. For more information, link to the STEP FY11 Annual Report. (6-18-12)

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TRB Issues Guidebook for Assessing Transit Environmental Performance

The Transportation Research Board has issued a summary of research findings regarding the assessment and comparison of environmental performance of major transit investments. The summary (TRB Research Results Digest 105) provides criteria, metrics, and methods for assessing the environmental performance of proposed transit projects. The summary is based on the results of Transit Cooperative Research Program Web-Only Document 55: Assessing and Comparing Environmental Performance of Major Transit Investments. For more information, link to Summary of Research Findings: Assessing and Comparing Environmental Performance of Major Transit Investments. (5-24-12)

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Report Examines Potential for Multistate Mileage-Based User Fee System

The I-95 Corridor Coalition has issued report consisting of a case study of a long-range concept of operations for administering a multistate mileage-based user fee (MBUF) system in the three neighboring states of Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The case study also considers key issues related to the potential transition from the current fuel tax-based funding structure to a MBUF system, including staging and cost analysis. For more information, link to the report, Concept of Operations for the Administration of Mileage-Based User Fees in a Multistate Environment (4-25-12)

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NCHRP Research Projects for AASHTO Standing Committee on the Environment Announced

Seven new research projects are in development under National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 25-25, Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee for the Environment. This ongoing project supports improvements to analytical methods, decision support tools, procedures, and techniques employed by practitioners to support statewide and metropolitan transportation planning, programming, and development. The latest series of projects, under Tasks 78 through 83, cover the following topics: programmatic agreements for project-level air quality analyses, successful practices for effective tribal consultation, potential use of social media impacts in the NEPA process, federal compliance for projects using alternative funding strategies, permeable shoulders, and current practice of post-construction structural stormwater control. For more information, link to the NCHRP Project 25-25 website. (3-12-12)

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TRB Releases Transportation Research Record 'Environment 2011' Issue

The Transportation Research Board has published a compilation of 21 research papers on environment-related topics in Volume No. 2233 of its Transportation Research Record journal. Topics covered include integrated bus information systems, corridor-level air quality analysis of freight movement, particle number emissions from 2010 hybrid and comparable conventional vehicles, air quality–related mortality impacts of different transportation modes, variables affecting sustainable highway design, and numerous other topics. For more information, link to TRR Journal No. 2233: Environment 2011. (12-13-11)

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TCRP Report Examines Use of Mobile Devices for Transit Information

Information on the state of the practice in the use and deploy­ment of real-time transit information on mobile devices is available in a synthesis report produced under the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP Project J-7, Topic SA-25). The report looks at the underlying technology required to generate the information to be disseminated, the mobile technology used for dissemination, the characteristics of the information, the resources required to successfully deploy information on mobile devices, and the contribution of mobile messaging to an overall agency communications strategy, including “information equity.” For more information, link to TCRP Synthesis 91: Use and Deployment of Mobile Device Technology for Real-Time Transit Information. (11-11-11)

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FHWA Requests Feedback on 2012 STEP Implementation Strategy

The Federal Highway Administration has released the proposed fiscal year 2012 implementation strategy for the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). The program was established under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which expired on Sept. 30, 2009. However, FHWA anticipates that funding for STEP or a similar program for national research on issues related to planning, environment, and realty will be included in future transportation legislation. The FY 2012 implementation strategy is available on the STEP website. The agency also requests feedback on the strategy and on suggested lines of research for FY 2012.The deadline for submitting feedback is Nov. 10, 2011. For more information, link to the Federal Register notice. (8-9-11)

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FHWA Posts STEP 2010 Annual Report

The Federal Highway Administration's Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty has released its annual report on activities of the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). The fiscal year 2010 annual report includes background information and an overview of the STEP program, highlights of FY10 research, and feedback from stakeholders. For more information, link to the STEP FY10 Annual Report. (7-25-11)

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FHWA Announces 2011 Plan for Environment and Planning Research Program

The Federal Highway Administration has issued the fiscal year 2011 plan and budget for its Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). The latest plan describes how the agency plans to spend $14.6 million on 35 projects divided among five emphasis areas, including environment, planning, real estate, tools, and program management and outreach. For environmental areas, the largest number of projects and most funding are targeted to air quality and climate change ($1 million) and to environmental streamlining/stewardship ($800,000). For more information, link to the STEP 2011 Research Plan. (7-8-11)

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FHWA Posts Eco-Logical Grant Program Annual Report

The Federal Highway Administration has posted the third annual report on pilot projects funded under its Eco-Logical grant program, which supports efforts to integrate ecosystem conservation into infrastructure development. The report covers the progress, successes, and challenges of each of the 15 Eco-Logical grant recipients during 2010 and covers the grant implementation processes, relationships between grant recipients and partners, and organizational adoption of the Eco-Logical approach. For more information, link to the Eco-Logical Grant Program Annual Report. (6-3-11)

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AASHTO Issues 2011 Call for Environmental Research Ideas

Practitioners are invited to submit transportation and environmental research ideas to the Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO via the Transportation and Environmental Research Ideas (TERI) Database. The TERI database is a “one stop” location for keeping track of transportation practitioners’ research ideas across the environmental spectrum. It has become a valuable resource for organizations that fund, conduct, and utilize research. Users can access the TERI database and submit research ideas and by clicking on the following link, http://www.environment.transportation.org/teri_database/suggest_idea.aspx. The webpage includes a template for submitting research ideas and submissions should include a clear title, a detailed scope, and information about the approximate timeframe and budget.  The Center will be accepting TERI research ideas through Friday April 22.  Ideas submitted after that date will still be accepted, but they will not be considered for recommendation to NCHRP in this cycle. For more information or questions, please contact Jillian Barber at 202.624.5807 or jbarber@aashto.org.

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Handbook Addresses Renewable Energy Installations for Transportation Infrastructure

Resources to help state departments of transportation implement solar or wind powered renewable energy installations in their transportation infrastructure are provided in a practitioners’ handbook produced under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Project 25-25, Task 64).  The handbook provides an overview of current and emerging technologies used in wind and solar applications, a general design approach for installations located near the roadway right-of-way, and information on performing life-cycle cost analysis to determine the feasibility of potential transportation-related renewable energy installation projects. An appendix containing reference material and a life-cycle cost analysis calculator are available on the project webpage For more information, link to Feasibility Study of Using Solar or Wind Power for Transportation Infrastructure. (3-21-11)

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September 2010 STEP Webinar on Air Quality and Climate Change Now Available

The Federal Highway Administration’s Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) has posted to its website a transcript of a webinar conducted on Sept. 20, 2010, on “Air Quality and Climate Change.” The webinar included an overview of the STEP program and the air quality and climate change research emphasis area; information about air quality and climate change initiatives, including implementation of EPA’s Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) emissions modeling system, the National Near Road Mobile Source Air Toxics (MSAT) Study; the climate change vulnerability/risk assessment conceptual model and pilot research; and the Gulf Coast Study. The webinar also covered upcoming FHWA air quality, climate change, and sustainability activities. For more information, link to the STEP Webinar: Air Quality and Climate Change. (12-14-10)

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Forest Service Research Quantifies Benefits of Urban Forests

The U.S. Forest Service Northern and Pacific Northwest Research Stations have issued reports that assess the contribution of urban trees to human health and environmental quality in specific cities, including Chicago; Portland, Ore.; and Sacramento, Calif.  Among the benefits cited in the reports, trees increase home prices, improve air quality, reduce stormwater runoff, and absorb carbon dioxide. The Chicago report includes a finding that the city’s 3.6 million trees annually reduce air pollution by about 890 tons, a $6.4 million benefit per year. To produce the urban forest data for Chicago, the Forest Service used an urban forestry management software tool it developed called i-Tree that allows users to quantify the structure of community trees and the environmental services they provide. For more information, link to the USFS Urban Forest Data website. (11-29-10)

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TRB Announces New Search Capabilities for Online Transportation Research Databases

The Transportation Research Board has announced that users now can search the Research in Progress (RiP) and the Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) or TRISworld online bibliographic databases of transportation projects simultaneously. For more information, link to the TRIS website. (11-11-10)

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Report Details Best Practices for Developing Statewide Cultural Resources GIS Databases

Recommendations and best practices for state departments of transportation to develop a statewide cultural resource geographic information system (CRGIS) database are described in a report produced under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (Project 25-25, Task 61). CRGIS databases can help state DOTs streamline the historic preservation compliance process during the design and implementation of transportation improvement projects. The study involved a survey of state DOTs that have developed a CRGIS to identify best practices for creating a CRGIS in the following areas: database development, database design, database access, implementation of the CRGIS, and future plans for the CRGIS. The study also produced a sample dataset for a hypothetical CRGIS database that state DOTs can use as a model. A presentation on the study is also included with the report. For more information, link to Best Practices for Establishing and Maintaining Statewide Cultural Resources GIS Databases (NCHRP Project 25-25, Task 61). (9-30-10)

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Texas Research Facility Enables Environmental, Emission Testing of Vehicles

The Texas Transportation Institute has announced the opening of the Environmental and Emissions Research Facility (EERF), the largest drive-in environmentally controlled test chamber in the United States. Built with the assistance of a competitive grant award from EPA, the EERF is designed to help researchers test vehicles, equipment, products, and technologies under severe conditions. The EERF chamber can accommodate large vehicles such as 18-wheelers and buses and allows for the adjustment of environmental factors including temperature, solar impact, and wind speed. Current and future research opportunities at EERF include emissions and fuel consumption of idling vehicles and construction equipment; the ability of plants to absorb emissions; and depletion rates of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at different temperatures. For more information, link to the TTI news release. (9-22-10)

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Guide for Implementing Green Purchasing Programs at State DOTs Published

Guidance to help state departments of transportation increase their use of environmentally preferable, nontoxic products in the operation and maintenance of DOT facilities has been developed under a study conducted under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (Project 25-25, Task 60). The study surveyed state DOTs to compile an inventory of toxic and hazardous products currently purchased, stored, and used at highway maintenance and operation facilities and rest stops. The research also included interviews with select DOT personnel about their purchasing practices and barriers to the use of “green” products. The study has produced a manual of product specifications for 19 of the most commonly used hazardous or toxic products used by state DOTs, the State Department of Transportation Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide. The manual also provides guidance for state DOTs to implement and monitor a green purchasing program. For more information, link to Increased Use of Environmentally Preferable, Non-Toxic Products to Reduce Costs, Liabilities, and Pollution at DOT Offices, Maintenance Facilities and Rest Stops (NCHRP Project 25-25, Task 60). (9-8-10)

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FHWA Posts Highlights of STEP FY09 Accomplishments, Annual Report

The Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty has posted a document highlighting research activities under the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) that made significant progress during fiscal year 2009. The agency also released its annual report on STEP activities that provides background information and an overview of the STEP program, FY09 research highlights, and feedback from stakeholders. For more information, link to the STEP FY09 Accomplishments Highlights and the STEP FY09 Annual Report. (8-20-10)

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Cross-Cutting Environmental Research Needs Workshop Report Released

The Center for Transportation and Environmental has issued a final report documenting the Cross-Cutting Environmental Research Needs workshop held in conjunction with the 2010 Transportation Research Board Environment and Energy Research Conference on June 6-9, 2010, in Raleigh, N.C. The workshop sought to generate research ideas related to the four cross-cutting topic areas of climate change, energy, livability, and sustainability. The final report is intended to serve as resource for developing targeted research problem statements, advocating for investment in particular lines of research, or looking for current research related to the four cross-cutting topics discussed at the workshop. CTE also has released a series of white papers outlining future research needs organized by the four cross-cutting topic areas. For more information, link to the Cross-Cutting Environmental Research Needs Workshop. (8-3-10)

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FWHA Solicits Proposals for International Technology Scanning Program

The Federal Highway Administration is accepting fiscal year 2012 scan proposals under the International Technology Scanning Program, which seeks to connect U.S. highway experts with their international counterparts in an effort to learn about innovative transportation technologies and practices. The program is conducted by FHWA in cooperation with AASHTO and the Transportation Research Board’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 20-36 “Highway Research and Technology – International Information Sharing.” Over 80 international scan studies have been completed to date, focusing on a topics such as infrastructure; operations; safety; planning, environment, and realty; and policy and administration. Proposals for scan topics may be submitted by FHWA, AASHTO, or NCHRP Project Panel 20-36 and are due Sept. 30, 2010. For more information, link to the FY 2012 International Scanning Program. (7-21-10)

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Newsletter Highlights FHWA Research, Technology Activities

The Federal Highway Administration has published the July 2010 issue of its Research and Technology (R&T) Now news update on research, technology, and development activities conducted within the agency. The newsletter features updates on general/administrative activities and topics including advanced research, infrastructure, safety, operations, and recent periodicals. For more information, link to FHWA R&T Now – July 2010. (7-20-10)

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FHWA Solicits Feedback on 2011 STEP Implementation Strategy

The Federal Highway Administration has announced the availability of the proposed 2011 implementation strategy for the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). The program was established under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which expired on Sept. 30, 2009. However, FHWA anticipates that funding for STEP or a similar program for national research on issues related to planning, environment, and realty will be included in future transportation legislation. The draft FY 2011 implementation strategy is available on the STEP website. The agency also requests feedback on the draft strategy and on suggested lines of research for FY 2011.The deadline for submitting feedback is Sept. 30, 2010. For more information, link to the Federal Register notice and the July 2010 STEP Bulletin. (7-2-10)

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Brochure Describes FHWA's Advanced Research Program for Transportation

The Federal Highway Administration has published an informational brochure on its Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program, which was established by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) to fund long-term, high-risk research with the potential for long-term improvements to transportation systems. The brochure describes each of the focus areas of the EAR program, including nanoscale research, human behavior and travel choices, new technology and advanced policies for energy and resource conservation, information sciences, breakthrough concepts in materials science, technology for assessing performance, and research leading to environmentally sustainable transportation. The publication also highlights results of the program and provides information for stakeholders. For more information, link to the brochure and to the EAR Program website. (6-28-10)

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NCHRP Report Examines Corridor-Based Approach to Environmental Management

A framework for state department of transportation to conduct and document environmental management activities on a corridor basis is outlined in a report produced under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Project 25-5, Task 63). The report describes exemplary or notable practices by DOTs to measure and improve the performance of corridor-based roadway and roadside maintenance in the following areas: resource use and recycling; water quality; roadside environmental management; and renewable energy and energy efficiency. The report also examines how DOT maintenance departments can use environmental management systems to improve management of roadway and roadside maintenance practices. For more information, link to Environmental Corridor Management (NCHRP Project 25-25, Task 63). (6-17-10)

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FWS Announces New Online Scientific Journals

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the launch of two web-based journals that will publish scientific papers focusing on practical applications for conservation of fish, wildlife, plants, ecology, and land management in North America. The new Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management and the re-launch of the publication North American Fauna are intended to offer FWS employees and others in the scientific community access to peer-reviewed research that can advance the agency’s capacity for science-driven wildlife management. For more information, link to the FWS news release. (6-14-10)

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