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Chapter 1
Introduction and Research Approach
1.4. Research Approach

The research approach to this project was designed to accomplish the stated project goal of developing a compendium that would collect a wide range of stewardship practices in use in one convenient place. The study began with a review of literature available through the Transportation Research Information Service (TRIS) including over a thousand references related to construction, maintenance, and environmental aspects. This literature review was accompanied by a review of model BMP handbooks. As of mid-2002, 19 state DOTs and Puerto Rico had developed BMP manuals of various sorts, ranging from herbicide application to erosion control, and in a few cases, broader environmental management practices. In most cases, states developed their policies and procedures independently, without the benefit of prototypes and best practices from leaders in the field. Model manuals, DOT procedures and practices were reviewed, were supplemented with interviews where necessary, and are the primary sources for the compendium of environmental stewardship practices included herein.

The author also drew upon her own experience as an environmental manager within a state DOT, working with resource agencies and their requests, as well as experience working with federal and state DOTs, resource agencies, and AASHTO as a consultant on environmental stewardship practice and process improvement. Previously unpublished research results of environmental practices at state DOTs, conducted in 2002, are also included. That effort reached all 50 state transportation agencies, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The examples shared in this document include some previously discussed or written about by the author in other forums for FHWA, state DOT and multi-agency initiatives, TRB, the National Association of Environmental Professionals, AASHTO's Environmental Technical Assistance Program, and AASHTO's Center for Environmental Excellence. Best practices are also included from other relevant industries such as utilities, transit, and railroads; for example, the State University of New York was a key contributor with regard to their work with Integrated Vegetation Management for the utility industry. Stewardship practices from lead agencies in Canada and Australia are included as well; many members of the international community have taken environmental stewardship practice seriously for years, and can provide valuable leadership for state DOTs in the U.S., particularly in fields such as EMS implementation, wildlife and fish passage improvements, and salt management practices.

Environmental stewardship practices are described primarily by example in the section on Organizational Practices, including environmental policies, planning, performance measurement, tracking, staffing and training. Design, construction, and maintenance environmental stewardship practices are presented mainly as bulleted lists under various topic headings. Environmental stewardship practices are included under hundreds of categories. Given the size and scope of this endeavor and to streamline the length and size of the compendium as much as possible, links to associated on-line resources are included whenever possible rather than including such procedures, guidance, forms, design drawings, and photos in the document. The Word version of this report contains thousands of these links to facilitate DOT access to existing practice. A number of short examples and examples which cannot be easily located on the web are included throughout the document and in the Appendix.

The review process for various sections of the document included lead DOT practitioners as well as experts from university and research institutes, including the Recycled Materials Resource Center at the University of New Hampshire, the USDOT Volpe Research Center, the Turner-Fairbanks Highway Research Center, and the Center for Transportation and the Environment.


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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Introduction and Research Approach
1.1 Problem Statement and Research Objectives
1.2 The Trend Toward Environmental Stewardship
1.3 Scope of Study and Definition of Environmental Stewardship Practices
1.4 Research Approach
1.5 Research Uses
1.6 Disclaimer/Limitation of Liability
Lists: Examples | Tables | Figures
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