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State transportation agencies or Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are among the largest builders in each state. Projects occur in hundreds of locations around each state and annual budgets exceed a billion dollars in some cases. Furthermore, DOT leadership, commitment, and responsibility have an impact far beyond the agency's own activities. Hundreds of cities and towns apply DOT standard specifications/plans in municipal construction and maintenance annually. Private contractors and developers attend DOT training course and apply best management practices to residential and commercial projects throughout the state. Resource agencies send their employees to be trained by the DOT in some cases and recognize such training as a means of improving environmental performance.

Led by some bold pioneers, state DOTs have begun to embrace new environmental stewardship priorities in construction and maintenance activities. Recognizing their strengths as large public works agencies with significant resources, the ability to interact with the public on a daily basis, and personnel who are committed to excellence in public service, many state transportation agencies are adding pursuit of environmental enhancement opportunities to their standing commitments to comply with environmental laws and regulations.

Many DOT employees are environmentalists in their own right - in particular, those who are at home in and enjoy the outdoors. Those who work at state transportation agencies, like their neighbors, often want to be partners in protecting and enhancing fishing streams, bird habitat, and other aspects of a livable environment for people and other creatures. When given the opportunity and encouragement to make a difference in the work they do on a daily basis, DOT employees are embracing, taking ownership of, and indeed extending and improving upon environmental stewardship initiatives. As a result, DOT credibility is rising with regulators and the public. As an important side benefit, some of the DOTs that have undertaken this journey have experienced reinvigorated employee morale.

State transportation agencies and their federal partners have increasingly integrated environmental stewardship into maintenance and construction activities; however, information on these efforts has not been adequately summarized or disseminated. This project is intended to enable transportation agencies to more fully benefit from each other's experience, to help them more fully integrate stewardship into all aspects of their work in these areas.

Why Focus on Construction and Maintenance in Implementing Environmental Stewardship?

Construction and maintenance operations:

  • Employ the majority of the work force.
  • Are the locus of some of the most significant environmental impacts and opportunities.
  • Have a need for consistent systems.
  • Can have significant contact with DOT customers.
  • Have the opportunity to show the public and regulators the substance of the DOT's commitment to environmental stewardship.
  • Have developed many best practices already, and can benefit from systems, tools, and practices that have been developed by other transportation agencies and industries to improve environmental performance.


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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction and Research Approach
Chapter 2: Organizational Environmental Stewardship Practices
Chapter 3: Designing for Environmental Stewardship in Construction & Maintenance
Chapter 4: Construction Practices for Environmental Stewardship
Chapter 5: Pavement, Materials, and Recycling
Chapter 6: Maintenance Facilities Management
Chapter 7: Bridge Maintenance
Chapter 8: Winter Operations and Salt, Sand and Chemical Management
Chapter 9: Roadside Vegetation Management
Chapter 10: Roadside Management and Maintenance: Beyond Vegetation
Chapter 11: Appendix
Lists: Examples | Tables | Figures
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