Alternative Methods Of Regulating Emissions And Discharges From Transportation Corridors

Focus Area

Water Quality/Wetlands


Natural Resources







Research Idea Scope

Those conducting the proposed research will

1. Identify opportunities for a change in regulatory system approach at the national, state, and local levels.
2. Develop a set of model regulations/ordinances, including trade-offs of control measures, reverification systems, and costs.
3. Complete a demonstration program. The products of the proposed research are intended to be both guidance documents and documented approaches to multipartner integration in environmental protection.

It is anticipated that the research effort will include a demonstration program to identify partners and provide new approaches to achieve environmental protection.

Urgency and Payoff

Transportation corridors present a complex and possibly unique regulatory situation. In an era of watershed-based management, transportation corridors typically extend across numerous watersheds and by their construction modify flow patterns in and between watersheds. Transportation corridors are a major, engineered feature in watersheds and have already been designed to meet stringent safety and environmental criteria (e.g., runoff control and hydrologic integrity). Transportation corridors can often present the opportunity to help solve watershed issues, because transportation corridors may divide watersheds into discrete units and have an inherent and robust engineering design. Transportation systems are often primary targets for regulatory action. Transportation corridors present sources of emissions and discharges, so that regulation is often needed to ensure that environmental quality is maintained. Unfortunately, methods of control commonly used to manage emissions and discharges do not address the linear character of corridors, the limited availability of rights-of-way, the potential of event-specific sources (e.g., spills), or the differences in environmental risk associated with use intensity and timing. There are a number of strategies that have been applied to environmental regulation including emission and discharge trading systems and mitigation or other banking strategies. Each of these strategies requires new approaches to regulation and an altered relationship between transportation, resource, and regulatory agencies. The specific characteristics of transportation corridor emissions and discharges and the clear need to sustain transportation infrastructure while minimizing environmental effect, shows a clear need for alternative regulatory mechanisms that would efficiently and effectively meet the public policy needs for environmental protection and transportation improvements. Transportation corridors provide an ideal opportunity to develop new management partnerships, some with trans-watershed integration. There is an increasing emphasis on full accounting of emission and discharge sources in environmental regula

Suggested By

Transportation Research Board 2002 Environmental Research Needs Conference Notes

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