Review of Best Practices in Environmental Stewardship and Streamlining for Historic Preservation Activities

Focus Area

Historic Preservation/Cultural Resources


Community & Cultural Concerns







Research Idea Scope

TERI Database Administrator Notes: Not recommended at present time by 2009 Subcommittee on Cultural Resources.

Transportation agencies (federal and state DOTs) conduct more cultural resource studies and expend more funds in compliance with historic preservation law than other federal and state agencies. The DOTs are quite successful in avoiding impacts to historic properties and have developed strategies to minimize the impacts that projects have on the historic landscape.

Unfortunately, avoidance does not equate with preservation. Historic preservation is not a common byproduct of project development. When it occurs, it is usually limited to structures on the transportation system, such as the rehabilitation of historic bridges. Even archaeological sites that are “preserved” through data recovery are still lost to future researchers. Avoided historic properties may be and often are affected or destroyed by other public and private development. After the project is completed and the effort to meet federal and state laws has been accomplished, what in fact is left? What are the ways that DOTs can be more successful in preserving historic resources, while still working within the agency’s mission of an efficient and safe transportation system?

Research will:
1. Explore programmatic approaches to historic preservation that may be established during the pre-project, planning process. Examples include historic corridor preservation, bridge management plans where preservation is an integral component, and early identification of individually significant resources or classes of resources to be targeted for preservation. Survey DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations and land development departments for instances where historic preservation management plans have been used to influence transportation planning decisions.

2. Survey DOTs, SHPOs, and federal agencies (as appropriate) for examples where future preservation of an historic property has been secured as a result of a project or program. What has been effective and what has not?

3. Consult with natural resource agencies to identify models for historic preservation from their resource conservation efforts, such as resource banking and public/private partnerships.

4. Conduct an economic analysis of programmatic approaches that balance targeted historic preservation with streamlined process.

5. Analyze FHWA regulations and policy that can promote active historic preservation and identify any barriers from existing legislation or regulation.

6. Explore techniques for long-term preservation of resources that are not immediately affected by a project, but could be affected at a later date from regional growth and development. Compile these examples into a best practices report and disseminate through the FHWA web and TRB publication.

Suggested By

Transportation Research Board 2002 Environmental Research Needs Conference Notes

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