Development of Environmental Performance-Based Mitigation Systems

Focus Area

NEPA Process


Environmental Process







Research Idea Scope

Problem Statement
The current practice for mitigating environmental impacts of transportation projects is to mitigate only specific impacts on specific resources without consideration of which produces the best environmental result. In many cases, significant funds will be spent by transportation agencies on marginal mitigation projects. Those same funds could be spent to much greater environmental benefit consistent with larger environmental and community goals. By changing to an environmental performance-based mitigation methodology, transportation investments can be used more effectively in achieving both transportation and environmental goals than under current regulatory structures.
To achieve this change in paradigm, acceptable methods for setting regional environmental objectives, measuring environmental impacts, and measuring environmental performance by its contribution towards the identified regional environmental objectives must be developed.

Proposed Research
The proposed research is intended to explore methods of optimizing transportation-related environmental investments instead of the current piecemeal responses to mitigating specific project-related impacts. Toward this end, the following tasks should be initiated:
• Task 1: Determine the state of practice of environmental performance-based mitigation.
• Task 2: Decide what regulatory, legal, and policy barriers exist to performance-based environmental measurement and mitigation.
• Task 3: Establish what alternative regulatory structures can accommodate performance based environmental mitigation.
• Task 4: Develop common environmental performance measures across modes that can be accepted by resource agencies and other stakeholders.
Cost: $500,000
• Task 1: $100,000
• Task 2: $100,000
• Task 3: $100,000
• Task 4: $200,000
Duration: 24 months

• Task 1: 6 months (parallel)
• Task 2: 6 months (parallel)
• Task 3: 9 months (parallel)
• Task 4: 12 months

Suggested By

TRB Research Needs Database, ADC10, Environmental Analysis in Transportation