Rapid Assessment Technique to Assess the Effects of Transportation Development on Area-wide Water and Ecological Resources

Focus Area

Water Quality/Wetlands


Natural Resources







Research Idea Scope

Since the mid 1990s, the concept of watershed evaluation and assessment has come to the forefront of land use planning and related decision making.  Faced by these issues, the DOTs have identified a need to develop a go-by-type Rapid Assessment Technique for ecological and watershed issues that can be used by transportation planners to better assess impacts and identify possible mitigation. This research should develop a watershed-based assessment technique that could be used in whole or in part by the DOTs for program and project planning purposes. It would be a flexible approach allowing the incorporation of other resource specific assessment methods.The effort would also require formulating strategies to integrate watershed partnering and planning programs beyond those related specifically to transportation.   An example here would be the approaches similar to what are used to identify green infrastructure resources.  They employ rapid assessment techniques and remote sensing of ecological resources. 

General Scope

  1. Conduct search of existing literature on the rapid assessment of impacts to area-wide natural resources.
  2. Conduct search of existing partnering and planning programs.
  3. Conduct search of remote sensing technologies appropriate for use during transportation planning and development.
  4. Select those methods, programs, and techniques deemed appropriate for assessing the impacts of linear transportation proposals.
  5. From those selections, develop possible transportation-specific approaches.
  6. Subject possible approaches to a peer review with a select group of transportation and natural resource experts.
  7. Based on that review, develop and publish the rapid assessment technique.

Recommended as a new NCHRP study.

TERI Administrator Note (2/18/08): Submitted to NCHRP for FY09 funding consideration

Suggested By

SCOE, Natural Systems and Ecological Communities Subcommittee