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Sustainability

Recent Developments

This section describes recent developments related to transportation-related sustainability. If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the  Share Info with AASHTO form.

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Report Highlights Health Funding for Active Transportation Investments

Advocacy Advance has announced the release of a new report on how transportation and public health have worked together through the recent round of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awards in the area of disease prevention. The report examines funding programs aimed to reduce the prevalence of obesity and to reduce the rates of death and disability due to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. This report is primarily meant for transportation agency staff and bicycling and walking advocates to learn about the different federal health funding opportunities for active transportation. For more information, link to http://www.advocacyadvance.org/media/blog/leveraging-health-funding-for-active-transportation-investments. (11-21-14)

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GAO Study Finds Conditions That Can Support, Hinder Transit-Oriented Development

Factors that support or hinder the Federal Transit Administration’s goal to encourage transit-oriented development are outlined in a report issued by the Government Accountability Office. Based on a series of case studies, GAO found conditions that can support transit-oriented development, include: demand for real estate, available land for development, supportive local residents, and a transit line that efficiently connects to established job and activity centers. Factors that hinder transit-oriented development include: the higher construction cost; lenders’ reluctance to finance in some cities; lengthy or discretionary local-development approval processes; an unsupportive local population; and land around transit stations that is unattractive for development. GAO found that many of the factors or policies that supported or hindered transit-oriented development are generally consistent with FTA’s summary assessment for economic development and land use. For more information, link to the report, Public Transportation: Multiple Factors Influence Extent of Transit-Oriented Development. (11-18-14)

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Obama Administration Launches Climate Resilience Toolkit

In response to recommendations by the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience – a group of leaders from across the country who are working to boost resilience efforts in their communities, the Obama Administration has developed the Climate Resilience Toolkit. The toolkit is a website that provides centralized, authoritative, easy-to-use information, tools, and best practices to help communities prepare for and boost their resilience to the impacts of climate change. For more information, link to the recommendations and toolkit. (11-17-14)

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Smart Growth America Launches Resilience Program

Smart Growth America has announced a new resilience program that provides resources, tools, and guidance for state leaders working to build more resilient places and reduce the risk that natural hazards pose to vulnerable populations and local economies. The program focuses on how to align resilience planning with existing development goals to help states achieve greater return on investments of taxpayer money and strengthen partnerships between state agencies and communities. Materials are based on the experience of peer agencies from across the country, the latest research on programs and activities that states control, and proven approaches for building municipal partnerships. For more information, link here. (11-13-14)

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FHWA Article Describes Tools Developed to Address Climate Change, Extreme Weather Impacts

An article in the Federal Highway Administration’s Public Roads magazine outlines the numerous initiatives and tools developed by the agency to address climate change and extreme weather impacts in transportation. The article describes several initiatives underway, including the U.S. DOT Gulf Coast Study, pilot studies of climate resiliency, and a framework for assessing vulnerability to climate change. It also describes multiple tools the agency has developed to help transportation agencies understand the risks posed by future extreme weather events and climate change, such as the Vulnerability Assessment Scoring Tool (VAST). For more information, link to the Public Roads article. (11-12-14)

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NACo Announces Resilient Infrastructure Brief

The National Association of Counties has announced the release of a new issue brief, Improving Lifelines: Protecting Critical Infrastructure for Resilient Counties. This issue brief serves as a guide for county leaders to help them understand the vulnerabilities of and threats to critical infrastructure in their county. Case studies highlight the replicable work that large and small, urban and rural counties across the country are undertaking to ensure that lifelines are ready for unforeseen events. For more information, link to the issue brief. (11-12-14)

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Council Releases Natural Resources Climate Resilience Priority Agenda

The Council on Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience has released a priority agenda that identifies four priority strategies to make the nation’s natural resources more resilient to climate change with a comprehensive review of the specific challenges, progress to date and future goals for each area. The agenda also builds upon the robust climate change adaptation work already accomplished by federal agencies and identifies significant actions moving forward. For more information, link to the Agenda. (11-5-14)

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FHWA Promotes Road Diets for Safer Communities

The Federal Highway Administration is advancing a low-cost, proven safety countermeasure called a road diet, which can improve safety, livability, and health for communities across the nation, according to the November issue of FHWA’s Successes in Stewardship newsletter. The most common type of road diet converts an existing four-lane undivided roadway to three lanes—two through lanes and a center two-way left-turn lane. FHWA's soon-to-be-released Road Diet Informational Guide offers insights into this approach, drawing upon research and practice from across the country. For more information, link to http://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/newsletters/nov14nl.asp. (11-5-14)

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U.S. DOT Releases 2014 Climate Adaptation Plan

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced the releaseof its 2014 Climate Adaption Plan. The plan describes steps DOT will take to move towards fully integrating considerations of climate change adaptation and resiliency into DOT policies, programs, and operations. For more information, link to the report, 2014 DOT Climate Adaptation Plan. (10-31-14)

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FHWA Circular Provides Approaches to Assess Climate Impacts on Coastal Infrastructure

A revised hydraulic engineering circular published by the Federal Highway Administration provides technical guidance and methods for assessing the vulnerability of coastal transportation facilities to extreme events and climate change. The circular, Hydraulic Engineering Circular No. 25 – Volume 2, Highways in the Coastal Environment: Assessing Extreme Events (HEC-25v2), provides methods for assessing the vulnerability of coastal transportation assets to sea level rise, storm surge and wave action.  It provides a methodology for calculating future sea levels based on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers procedures.  It also provides three methods for selecting and analyzing storm surge and wave action based on three levels of effort, complexity, and cost.  For more information, link to HEC-25 v2. (10-30-14)

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White House Releases Federal Agency Climate Plans

On the 5th anniversary of President Obama’s Presidential Sustainability Initiative, the White House has announced the release of Climate Change Adaptation Plans for federal agencies. The federal agencies’ Sustainability Plans and Climate Change Adaptation Plans outline each agencies efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change impacts such as flooding, sea level rise, and severe weather and temperature extremes. Agencies are required to update their Sustainability Plans annually under the President’s 2009 Executive Order on Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. For more information, link to the press release. To access the U.S. Department of Transportation Climate Adaptation Plan, link here. (10-31-14)

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EPA Releases Green Infrastructure Report for Communities

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a new report aimed at helping local governments, water utilities, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups, and other stakeholders integrate green infrastructure strategies into plans that can transform their communities. This report serves as a guide to develop a plan that can overcome obstacles for neighborhoods, towns, cities, and regions. For more information, link to Enhancing Sustainable Communities with Green Infrastructure. (10-28-14)

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Webinar Recording on INVEST Tool Available Now from FHWA

A webinar on FHWA’s web based Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST), is now available for on-demand viewing on the Federal Highway Administration’s Sustainable Highways website. To access the webinar, Evaluate, Score, Improve: How FHWA's INVEST tool is helping DOTs build sustainable transportation, link here. For related materials and prior webinars, access the INVEST web page. (10-29-14)

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Connecticut DOT Announces New Complete Streets Policy

Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced that Commissioner James P. Redeker has signed a new “Complete Streets” policy, designed to promote safe access for all users by providing a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network of transportation options. The new policy was crafted based on state law and input from the Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board. Personnel from all DOT bureaus were involved in crafting a comprehensive policy to codify the inclusion of all modes and users. For more information, link to the press release. (10-23-14)

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Group Develops Online Tool to Track States' Progress on Climate Adaptation

The Georgetown Climate Center has announced the availability of an online tool for tracking the progress made by states regarding climate change preparations. The State Adaptation Progress Track webpage maps the status of state adaptation efforts. State profile pages include a detailed breakdown of each state's adaptation work and links to local adaptation plans and resources. For more information, link to http://www.georgetownclimate.org/adaptation/state-and-local-plans. (10-9-14)

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TRB Publishes Guide on Tool for Design Treatments to Address Nonrecurrent Congestion

The Transportation Research Board announces the release of a draft user’s guide for an analysis tool for design treatments to address nonrecurrent congestion. The report provides a method for incorporating the economic savings due to delay reduction and economic savings due to reliability improvement for a design treatment during a highway life cycle. The analysis tool is designed to analyze the effects of highway geometric design treatments on nonrecurrent congestion using a reliability framework. For more information, link to the report, Analysis Tool for Design Treatments to Address Nonrecurrent Congestion: Annotated Graphical User’s Guide Version 1.0. (10-9-14)

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FHWA Issues Process to Assess Vulnerability, Adaptation of Facilities to Climate Impacts

A detailed climate impact assessment process that evaluates the vulnerabilities of specific transportation assets and evaluates possible adaptation strategies that could be implemented has been issued by the Federal Highway Administration. The process was developed under the Gulf Coast 2 Study.  It looks at a series of engineering assessments on specific transportation facilities in Mobile, Ala., that evaluated whether those facilities might be vulnerable to projected changes in climate, and what specific adaptation measures could be effective in mitigating those vulnerabilities. For more information, link to the report, Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure, The Gulf Coast Study, Phase 2, Task 3.2, Engineering Assessments of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Measures. (10-9-14)

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FTA Issues Final Rule on Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program

The Federal Transit Administration has issued a final rule that provides procedures governing the implementation of the Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program. Under the program, the FTA provides funding for eligible capital and operating costs for public transportation during or following a catastrophic event. The rule includes a description of eligible projects, the criteria to be used to identify projects for funding, and additional details on how the FTA will administer the program. For the text of the final rule, link to the final rule. (10-7-14)

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FHWA Launches Tool to Analyze Life-Cycle Emissions from Transportation Infrastructure

A tool to help transportation agencies estimate greenhouse gas emissions from construction and maintenance of transportation projects is available from the Federal Highway Administration. The Infrastructure Carbon Estimator tool, launched in a webinar Sept. 30, 2014, is a spreadsheet-based tool that allows users to estimate the life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions from construction and maintenance of roadways and parking facilities, bridges, public transportation, and bicycle/pedestrian facilities. FHWA said the tool improves upon previously available methods. For more information, link to the Infrastructure Carbon Estimator. (9-30-14)

 

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Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From A Climate Perspective

A special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society has found new evidence of the connection between climate change and some extreme weather events. The journal supplement, Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From A Climate Perspective, reviews 22 studies from 20 different research groups that looked at events in 2013. For some events, though, the impact of climate change wasn’t easy to see, suggesting that natural variability may have played a stronger role. The studies are part of a growing field known as “extreme event attribution.” For more information, link to Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From A Climate Perspective. (9-26-14)

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President Obama Announces New Executive Actions on Climate Resiliency

President Obama has announced a series of executive actions aimed at strengthening resilience to climate change. The actions include providing new international climate data, improving extreme weather outlooks, awarding almost $3.6 billion for public transportation resilience projects in states impacted by Hurricane Sandy, participating in a global green freight action plan, support for a new Climate Action Champions program to recognize local government efforts, and signing an executive order requiring federal agencies to build climate resilience into all international development work. For more information, link to the White House fact sheet. (9-23-14)

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AASHTO TV Video Shows How State DOTs Are Implementing Sustainable Solutions

AASHTO’s Transportation TV highlights the many ways state departments of transportation are using innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut costs and create healthier, more livable and economically viable communities. State DOT officials from Oregon, Arizona and Minnesota explain how their agencies are incorporating sustainability into everything they do. To view the video, link here. (9-15-14)

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HUD Launches $1 Billion National Disaster Resilience Competition

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has launched a competition for $1 billion in national disaster resilience funding. In the first phase of the competition, the Rockefeller Foundation will provide technical assistance and training workshops to help eligible state and local governments consider their disaster recovery needs and vulnerabilities and then apply for HUD funding. Successful applicants from the first phase will be invited to participate in the second phase to design solutions for recovery and resilience. The best proposals from the second phase will receive funds for implementation. HUD expects to make final award announcements in late 2015. For more information, link to the competition fact sheet. (9-17-14)

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FHWA Issues Summer 2014 Highways and Climate Change Newsletter

The Federal Highway Administration has published the summer 2014 edition of its Highways and Climate Change newsletter. The issue describes recent FHWA activities and other relevant updates including the Gulf Coast 2 study, a sketch tool to estimate the lifecycle energy use and GHG emissions associated with the construction and maintenance of transportation facilities, case studies on culvert management techniques, transportation sector findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th assessment report, state and local news, and upcoming events. For more information, link to the newsletter. (9-9-14)

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Georgetown Climate Center Issues Recommendations for Federal Action

The Georgetown Climate Center has released 100 recommendations on ways to improve federal programs to better address climate change. The recommendations are in a report, Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action, that also addresses federal funds sent to the state and regional level for climate change preparedness. The report is intended to provide information to the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. For more information, link to the report. (9-4-14)

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ASLA Issues New Guide to Green Infrastructure

The American Society of Landscape Architects has issued a new online guide that addresses green infrastructure. The guide, discusses large- and small-scale projects including forests and nature reserves, wildlife habitat, constructed wetlands, and green streets. The guide also provides links to information on projects that successfully demonstrate the principles of green infrastructure. The guide is part of a series issued by ASLA covering sustainable design. For more information, link to the guide. (9-3-14)

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FHWA Seeks Nominations for 2015 Environmental Excellence Awards

The Federal Highway Administration has announced the opening of its 2015 Environmental Excellence Awards Program. The biennial EEA Program recognizes outstanding transportation projects, processes, and partners that use FHWA funding sources to go beyond “business as usual” to achieve environmental excellence. The 2015 and subsequent EEA programs will feature a range of categories under the topic areas of Natural Environment, Human Environment, and Organization and Process Innovation, with the goal of recognizing best practices occurring across the nation. Nominations are being accepted through Sept. 30. 2014. For more information, link to the 2015 EEA program page. (8-15-14)

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APTA Presents Sustainability Certification Awards

The American Public Transportation Association has recognized seven organizations for sustainability achievements which have met specific criteria through the voluntary APTA Sustainability Commitment program. Depending on the level of achievement, organizations were presented Gold, Silver, and Bronze level certifications. The organizations receiving Gold Level recognition were Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (Urbana, IL), Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (Boston, MA), Metro Transit (Minneapolis, MN), and the Société de Transport de Montréal (Montreal, Canada).  Lane Transit District (Springfield, OR) received a Silver Level Recognition. The two Bronze Level recipients were GO Transit (Toronto, ON) and Stacy and Witbeck, the first construction firm to receive the award. For more information, link to the announcement. (8-4-14)

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NOAA Updates 2013 List of Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

The National Climatic Data Center has released new information on U.S. 2013 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters and several new tools to assist users in analyzing the data by state and year, from 1980 to 2013. NOAA has added two new disasters to the 2013 total to include an Illinois flooding and severe weather event that occurred April 16-19, 2013, and a Midwest severe weather event that occurred Aug. 6-7, 2013. This brings the total number of 2013 billion-dollar weather and climate events to nine. The estimated cost of damages from these events is $23 billion dollars. For more information, link to the overview. (8-6-14)

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Federal Sustainable Communities Partnership Marks Fifth Year With Lessons Learned

The federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities has issued a report documenting the accomplishments and lessons learned from its first five years. The Partnership, composed of the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency, formed in 2009 in response to the recession and to aid communities in recovery. The report discusses how the Partnership has become more flexible, better at leveraging federal and local knowledge, and delivering multiple benefits from single investments. The report also includes case studies. For more information, link to Five Years of Learning From Communities and Coordinating Federal Investments. (8-7-14)

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NCHRP Report Details Information on Regional Planning for Disasters, Emergencies

A report on regional transportation planning for disasters and emergencies has been issued by the Transportation Research Board under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The report, A Guide to Regional Transportation Planning for Disasters, Emergencies, and Significant Events (NCHRP Report 777), details transportation’s key role in effective response and recovery after multijurisdictional disasters and emergencies. The report discusses the importance of communication and partnering with emergency management and other federal, state, and local agencies. The report includes foundational planning principles, strategies, case studies, and tools. For more information, link to http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_777.pdf. (7-29-14)

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New Reports Highlight Adaptation Efforts Underway and Lessons Learned

The Georgetown Climate Center has issued three new reports that are intended to provide information for communities to prepare for the impacts of climate change and extreme weather. The first report outlines 20 good ideas that states and communities can implement to reduce the risks of climate change. The second report discusses lessons learned regarding climate adaptation using case studies from state and local jurisdictions. The third report provides information on how the media report on climate change using New Jersey as a case study. For more information, link to the announcement at http://goo.gl/k64xPo. (7-18-14)

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President Obama Announces Actions to Promote Climate Resilience

President Obama has announced a series of actions to respond to the recommendations of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The actions are intended to help prepare communities for the impacts of climate change by developing more resilient infrastructure and rebuilding existing infrastructure stronger and smarter. Actions include new resources to support climate preparedness, new pilots and guidance to help communities rebuild after natural disasters, pilots related to preparedness and coastal resilience, a Green Infrastructure Collaborative to advance green stormwater infrastructure, and a guide on assessing health vulnerability to climate change. For more information, link to the Fact Sheet. (7-16-14)

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TRB Research Record Focuses on Environment, Sustainability

The Transportation Research Board’s Transportation Research Record No. 2403 focuses on environment and sustainability. The report includes eight papers that explore valuation and crediting approaches for planning agencies; habitat conservation plans; short-term effects of pavement surface aging on tire–pavement noise; wayside traffic noise levels; expert systems archeological predictive model; decision methodology for temperature control of pavements; multicriterion sustainability assessment in transportation; and livability ethics. For more information link to the report. (7-1-14)

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FHWA Posts Question/Answer Guidance on Health in Transportation

The Federal Highway Administration has posted a frequently asked questions guidance document related to addressing health in transportation decisions and programs.  The document addresses how health considerations are addressed in transportation planning and decision-making, how transportation affects public health and opportunities for transportation to address health issues, how communities can influence transportation planning, how health is addressed in the environmental review process, tools under development to address health issues, and use of health impact assessment in transportation. For more information, link to the Q&A document on Health in Transportation. (7-1-14)

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FHWA Publishes Guidelines on Safely Reducing Roadway Lighting Levels

The Office of Safety Research and Development at the FHWA has issued implementation guidelines to reduce roadway lighting levels. The report addresses methods to reduce roadway lighting, which will reduce costs, while also maintaining safety benefits. A new set of criteria to reduce lighting levels for specific roadway characteristics and usage is identified in the report. In addition, the report discusses the energy savings generated from reducing roadway light usage. For more information, link to Guidelines for the Implementation of Reduced Lighting on Roadways.(6-25-14).

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Report Details Climate Change's Possible Economic Losses

The U.S. could face hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses by the end of this century from rising seas, higher temperatures and other impacts of a changing climate, according to a report released June 24 by a bipartisan group of political and financial leaders. The Risky Business report for the first time quantifies climate risks to specific regions and sectors of the economy, building on increasingly urgent warnings that have been issued by national and international scientists in recent months. Rising seas and storm surge could threaten between $66 billion and $106 billion worth of existing coastal property by 2050. Extreme heat—especially in the Southwest, Southeast and Upper Midwest—also threatens human health, energy systems and labor productivity. Labor productivity of outdoor workers could be reduced by as much as 3 percent, the report said. Corn, soy, cotton and wheat crops could be hit by the heat. For more information, link to the Risky Business Report. (6-24-14)

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TCI Meeting Attendees Discuss Strategies to Reduce Transportation's Carbon Emissions

The Transportation and Climate Initiative held a meeting, which brought together state energy, environmental, and transportation officials from 12 northeastern states to address several topics. Representatives from Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont discussed ways to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the region. In addition, senior officials representing various agencies discussed analysis that will eventually serve as the basis for discussions on methods to reduce fuel consumption and carbon pollution in the transportation sector. For more information, link to Northeast States Continue Work on Reducing Carbon Pollution from the Transportation Sector (6-17-14)

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Report Analyzes Modeling and Data Collection for Active Transportation

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has developed a report to better understand the current state of active transportation data collection and modeling in California. The report, which is based on a series of interviews with modeling professionals in California, includes recommendations to improve data collection and modeling for active transportation. It also highlights some major sources of data that are used in transportation planning and the strengths and weaknesses of each. The recommendations also could apply to states across the nation. For more information, link to the report. (6-17-14)

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Report Highlights FHWA's Sustainability Initiatives

The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and the Federal Highway Administration have released a report to showcase some of the ways in which the agency is “incorporating and embedding sustainability into its programs, projects, policies, processes, and partnerships.” FHWA programs and initiatives addressed in the report are included in the following “action areas”: safety, access and affordability, freight and goods movement, linking asset management and planning, infrastructure resiliency, economic and life cycle cost analyses, sustainable pavements, and road weather management. For more information, link to Advancing a Sustainable Highway System: Highlights of FHWA Sustainability Activities. (6-19-14)

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White House Report Explains Health Impacts of Climate Change

The White House has released a report describing the effects of climate change on Americans’ health. According to the report, climate change will lead to more wildfires, which will increase the risk of asthma attacks and other respiratory health problems. The report also discusses how climate change will likely cause more prolonged extreme heat events, which will negatively impact Americans’ cardiovascular and respiratory health, while also increasing rates of cerebrovascular diseases and heat stroke deaths. In addition, the report outlines the potential for climate change to change the way certain communicable diseases are spread and how it will likely lead to increased pollen concentrations. Finally, the report includes a section on climate change’s health impacts on vulnerable populations and recommends actions to improve communities’ health. For more information, link to The Health Impacts of Climate Change on Americans. (6-9-14)

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Framework Developed to Help State DOTs Choose a Transportation Sustainability Rating System

The Mountain-Plains Consortium at North Dakota State University has developed a framework to assist state departments of transportation deciding between transportation sustainability rating systems. An accompanying thesis discusses the framework’s implementation at several state departments of transportation and the varying results it provided. The framework’s developers designed it to account for the preferences of individual state departments of transportation. For more information, link to A Framework for Assessing Transportation Sustainability Rating Systems for Implementation in U.S. State Departments of Transportation. (6-6-14)

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FHWA Newsletter Touts Asset Management Plan's Emphasis on Sustainability and Preservation

FHWA’s June 2014 Successes in Stewardship Newsletter provides information on the asset management framework used by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). The framework incorporates long-term asset management and sustainability into transportation investment decisions. To develop the framework, NYSDOT first reviewed other state’s asset management best practices. The review promoted the department to adopt a framework that encourages practitioners to focus on preservation first, consider the entire system over a specific project, maximize return on investment, and make it sustainable. For more information, link to the newsletter. (6-5-14)

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NCHRP Synthesis Studies Transportation Systems' Response to Extreme Weather

A synthesis containing eight case studies on transportation agencies’ responses to extreme weather impacts has been released by the Transportation Research Board’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The case studies explore extreme weather responses from several perspectives, including transportation operations, maintenance, design, construction, planning, communications, interagency coordination, and data and knowledge management. To collect information for the case studies, the synthesis’ authors conducted literature reviews and interviews with transportation officials. For more information, link to NCHRP Synthesis 454: Response to Extreme Weather Impacts on Transportation Systems. (5-30-14)

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EPA Updates Climate Change Indicators Report

The Environmental Protection Agency has updated a report that presents information on climate change indicators in the U.S. The third edition of the report, updated for 2014, provides information on 30 indicators associated with climate change’s causes and effects. In addition, the report explains the significance of the observed trends underpinning climate change in language for a general audience. For more information, link to Climate Change Indicators in the United States, 2014: Third Edition. (5-28-14)

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NCHRP Report Seeks to Help State DOTs Plan for an Uncertain Energy Future

The Transportation Research Board’s National Cooperative Research Program has issued a report exploring how changes in energy supply and demand over the next 30 to 50 years will affect the mandate, role, funding, and operations of state departments of transportation. Several potential strategies and actions that DOTs can utilize to meet the challenges of changing energy supply and demand levels are identified in the report. The report contains information compiled from a several industry and public sources, with the goal of helping practitioners make informed long-range transportation planning decisions. For more information, link to NCHRP Report 750: Strategic Issues Facing Transportation: Volume 5: Preparing State Transportation Agencies for an Uncertain Energy Future. (5-27-14)

 

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NCHRP Report: Making Sustainability An Organizing Principle for Transportation Agencies

The Transportation Research Board’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program has released a report to define the role of state departments of transportation and other transportation agencies as social, economic, and environmental contexts undergo rapid change in the next few decades. The report includes an analytical framework and implementation approaches that will help agencies deliver transportation solutions that can support sustainable societies. For more information, link to NCHRP Report 750: Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 4: Sustainability as an Organizing Principle for Transportation Agencies. (5-26-14)

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TRB Report Examines Sustainability Strategies for Supply-Chain Air Emissions

The Transportation Research Board’s National Cooperative Freight Research Program has issued a report on sustainability strategies that address supply-chain air emissions. Designed for practitioners in the public and private sectors, the report provides nine recommended sustainability practices that address supply-chain air emissions. In addition, the report includes nine case studies based on greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans initiated domestically and internationally. For more information, link to the report. (5-19-14)

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Electric Vehicles Can Provide Storage, Air Quality Benefits for the Power Grid, Report Says

The Vermont Energy Investment Corp. has issued a report finding that electric vehicles have the potential to provide significant benefits to the operation of the electrical power grid, in addition to their demonstrated value for reducing emissions and fossil fuel consumption. Electric vehicles (EVs) that plug into the grid potentially can be used for the regulation of the electricity load, both in terms of supply and demand. However, much remains to be done to prepare the transmission grid, the charging infrastructure, and vehicle owners before the benefits can be fully realized, according to the report. For more information, link to Electric Vehicles as Grid Resources in ISO-NE and Vermont. (5-9-14)

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Several Design and Construction Associations Pledge to Enhance Infrastructure Resiliency

The chief executive officers of nearly two dozen design and construction industry associations have created the Alliance for a Resilient Tomorrow and signed a joint statement on infrastructure resilience. The statement commits their groups “to significantly improving the resilience of our nation’s buildings, infrastructure, public spaces, and communities.” The statement also defines resilience and outlines steps to research, educate, advocate, respond and plan for infrastructure resiliency. In addition, the statement commits the organizations to establishing new practices meant “to break the cycle of destruction and rebuilding” that occurs after each costly disaster. For more information, link to the statement. (5-13-14)

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TRB Webinar to Explore Improving Data Collection to Help DOTs Implement Climate Change Plans

The Transportation Research Board has announced a June 5, 2014, webinar that will discuss ways state departments of transportation and other stakeholder agencies can enhance data practices to help their development and implementation of climate change adaptation plans. The two-hour webinar will be divided into six parts and will cover climate change impacts on transportation and the Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Guide, use of climate data for transportation risk and resilience assessment, road weather information system data and the difficulty of incorporating it into the global climate change data, hazard analysis tools for transportation, challenges of data and tools for the Maine Department of Transportation’s plans for climate change, and questions and answers. For more information and to register, link to TRB Webinar: Challenges of Climate Data and Tools for DOTs’ Development and Implementation of Climate Change Plans. (5-9-14)

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National Climate Assessment: Human-Induced Climate Change Growing Stronger

The third National Climate Assessment shows that evidence of human-induced climate change is growing stronger as its impacts are increasingly felt across the country. The extensive assessment looked at current and future climate impacts across eight regions and seven sectors, including water, energy, transportation and agriculture. It was developed over four years by hundreds of climate scientists and technical experts. Among the likely impacts are increased heat waves and heavy precipitation events in the Northeast as well as decreased water availability in the Southeast, Southwest and Great Plains. Rising temperatures could increase the growing season and crop yields in the Midwest, but that region also would experience more droughts, fires and floods as a result, the assessment said. For more information, link to the assessment. (5-6-14)

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FHWA Publishes Assessment of Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Efforts

The Federal Highway Administration has an assessment of its climate adaptation and climate mitigation initiatives. FHWA’s climate adaptation efforts originally focused on how transportation networks would be affected by climate change. The next phase of FHWA’s climate change adaptation efforts focused on the development of tools and other information that enabled states to examine vulnerabilities. Current adaption efforts scrutinize strategies to enhance resilience while also integrating climate resilience into FHWA’s current programs and policies. FHWA’s mitigation efforts have generally assisted state and local partners in developing strategies and tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The assessment also describes programs under development at FHWA to further incorporate GHG emissions into highway planning. For more information, link to Assessment of the Body of Knowledge on Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation Measures into Transportation Projects. (3-27-14)

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IPCC Releases Climate Change Mitigation Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III has released a report assessing “the current scientific knowledge on mitigating climate change.” According to the IPCC, the report, a product of four years of scientific cooperation among hundreds of authors, provides a “comprehensive, objective and policy neutral” review of the knowledge related to the mitigating climate change. In addition to the report, IPCC has released a summary for policy makers, which was approved by member governments during the 12th Session of the IPCC Working Group III in April 2014. For more information, link to the report. (4-13-14)

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FHWA Launches Human Environment Weekly Digest

The Federal Highway Administration has launched a weekly email news digest to share the latest information from a range of sources addressing transportation and its relationship to the human environment. The digest includes a summary of the content under key topics and hotlinks for further details. Through this information exchange, FHWA hopes to foster dialogue at all levels and continue to further the state of the practice on these important topics. For more information and to sign up for the digest, link to http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/livability/he_digest/.

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Alaska Ferries Receive Green WATERS Program Certification

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has announced that Alaska Marine Highway System ferries have acquired the Passenger Vessel Association’s Green WATERS (We Are Taking Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship) Program certification. The voluntary program’s goal is to reduce waste and provide for a cleaner and more sustainable marine environment. To acquire Green WATERS Program certification, the Alaska ferry system developed a Ship to Shore Environmental Guide, which provides information that allows staff to quickly respond to environmental concerns. For more information, link to Alaska State Ferries Join Green WATERS Program. (4-9-14)

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Report Describes Impacts of Climate Change in Washington State

The University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group, has issued a report describing the state of knowledge concerning the likely effects of climate change in Washington State and surrounding areas of the Pacific Northwest. The report, Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Washington State: Technical Summaries for Decision Makers, emphasizes research since 2007 and describes projected impacts on, and vulnerabilities in regard to, climate, water resources, forests, ecosystems, coastal areas, infrastructure, agriculture, and human health. The report also reports on observed changes to date and makes recommendations for further research. For more information, link to the report. (3-31-14)

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IPCC 2014 Report Focuses on Impacts, Adaptation, Vulnerability

The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group II contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) was approved and the underlying scientific and technical assessment accepted at a meeting of the working group in Yokohama, Japan. The IPCC said higher global temperatures are already having a “significant” impact on the planet that include diminishing access to freshwater and the acidification of the ocean in many parts of the world, and the increased frequency of extreme weather. Unchecked, the changing climate could lead to major challenges for human populations, especially in poor countries, the IPCC warned. For more information, link to the IPCC Working Group II Contribution to AR5. (3-30-14)

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Report Analyzes Effects of Policy Proposals, Travel Demand on Greenhouse Gases

The Mineta National Transit Research Consortium has issued a report that discusses various policy options for achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in the transportation sector. The report, Transportation Futures: Policy Scenarios for Achieving Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets, uses the Argonne National Laboratory’s VISION model to estimate life cycle GHG emissions for vehicle miles travelled to analyze three scenarios: road pricing, transit-oriented development, and increased transit service. The report also provides results from three sensitivity analyses for each scenario that describe the effect on travel demand. For more information, link to the report. (3-26-14)

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FRA Releases Report Offering Strategies for Improving Rail Energy Efficiency

The Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Research and Development has published a report highlighting best practices and strategies for improving rail energy efficiency. The report incorporates experts’ input and information gleaned from a comprehensive literature review to recommend model corporate sustainability plans, rail equipment upgrade opportunities, and system-wide best practices. In addition, the report documents successful efforts to improve energy efficiency performance measures that also included environmental and economic benefits. For more information, link to Best Practices and Strategies for Improving Rail Energy Efficiency. (3-18-14)

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Obama Announces Climate Data Initiative to Empower Resiliency Efforts

The Obama Administration has launched the Climate Data Initiative, which encourages the private sector to utilize openly available federal data to support national climate-change preparedness efforts. Part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan announced in June 2013, the initiative envisions the private sector leveraging federal data sources to build tools that increase communities’ resiliency. The initiative also asks the private sector to build cross-sector partnerships to maximize the usefulness of resiliency tools. For more information, link to Fact Sheet: The President’s Climate Data Initiative: Empowering America’s Communities to Prepare for the Effects of Climate Change. (3-19-14)

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Washington State DOT Issues Pilot Study on FHWA's INVEST Tool

Washington State DOT has issued a report documenting its use of the Federal Highway Administration’s Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST). WSDOT tested the tool on three recently completed corridor planning studies and one project which was still in the development phase. WSDOT found that the System Planning module of INVEST, with some modification, would support a stronger sustainability focus in corridor studies. WSDOT plans to include relevant planning recommendations from INVEST in its updated planning guidelines, as well as in the guidelines that will be developed during a study for integrating demand management into agency planning and programming. While WSDOT decided not to use the current form of the Project Development module of INVEST for project development, it found that with modification the tool could help engineers systematically identify and consider more sustainable project practices. For more information, link to the Washington State Department of Transportation INVEST Study. (3-6-14)

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FHWA Extends Deadline for Additional Projects to Use INVEST Sustainability Rating Tool

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a second call to state DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations, and Federal Lands Highway divisions for projects that can utilize the Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST 1.0). This second round solicitation is for a variety of projects. Priority funding is being made available for projects applying the INVEST Operations and Maintenance module, since this project type was underrepresented in the first round of funding. Letters of interest are due March 28, 2014. Funding decisions will be announced in spring 2014. For more information, link to the Solicitation for INVEST Implementation Projects and FHWA’s Sustainable Highways Initiative website. (2-20-14)

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Obama and Foxx Detail Four-Year Transportation Reauthorization Proposal

President Obama and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx have laid out the administration’s proposal for a four-year surface transportation reauthorization that provides federal funding for highways, transit and passenger rail. About two-thirds of the $302 billion proposal would be dedicated to highway maintenance and safety programs. Obama said he would increase highway funding by 22 percent annually. The transit account would receive a huge boost, with annual funding increased 70 percent annually to $72 billion over four years. In addition, Obama's proposal would provide $19 billion in dedicated rail funding, about a quarter of which would go to high-speed rail projects. The president's plan would provide $9 billion in funding for competitive grant and loan programs, including $600 million for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2014 program. For more information, link to FACT SHEET: President Obama Lays Out Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure. (2-26-14)

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First EPA Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Grant Goes to Duluth, Minn.

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Duluth, Minn. a $250,000 Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The grant will fund green infrastructure projects, such as stormwater management features, that enhance the Lake Superior Basin’s water quality. EPA will award Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants to 15 other cities seeking to improve water quality. For more information, link to Duluth receives U.S. EPA’s first Great Lakes Shorelines Cities Green Infrastructure Grant. (2-20-14)

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Comprehensive Practitioners Guide Offers Adaptation Strategies for Transportation

Strategies to help transportation practitioners adapt to the likely impacts of climate change are provided in a practitioner’s guide issued under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Project 20-83(05). The report, Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and the Highway System: Practitioner’s Guide and Research Report, is the second volume of the NCHRP Report 750: Strategic Issues Facing Transportation. The Practitioner’s Guide provides strategies for adapting to climate change impacts through 2050 in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of infrastructure assets in the United States (and through 2100 for sea-level rise). The research also produced a software tool that runs in common web browsers (or in a spreadsheet format) and provides specific, region-based information on incorporating climate change adaptation into the planning and design of bridges, culverts, stormwater infrastructure, slopes, walls, and pavements. It also includes two spreadsheets that illustrate examples of the benefit–cost analysis of adaptation strategies. For more information and access to the research products, link to the research report website. (2-14-14)

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GAO Offers Strategies for Reducing Exposure to Climate Change through Increased Resiliency

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has released its written testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee describing ways to limit the federal government’s fiscal exposure to extreme weather events while also improving the nation’s resilience. The testimony, presented by GAO official Mark Gaffigan, covers ways to increase resiliency and reduce fiscal exposure to climate change through assessing infrastructure vulnerability, updating property and crop insurance programs, addressing disaster aid funding, and through increased technical assistance for state and local governments. The report stressed that infrastructure practitioners “have not systematically incorporated climate change impacts in planning for roads, bridges, and wastewater management systems” and highlighted earlier recommendations for the federal government to help state and local officials develop actionable infrastructure adaptation plans. For more information, link to the report. (2-12-14)

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FHWA Newsletter Discusses Efforts to Promote Health in Transportation

FHWA’s February 2014 Successes in Stewardship newsletter provides information on promoting health in transportation. The newsletter details FHWA’s involvement with creating the Health in Transportation Working Group, which has produced a brochure offering information on existing programs related to promoting wellness in several focus areas such as air quality, bicycle and pedestrian planning, and noise. In addition, the newsletter covers FHWA’s planning process for healthy communities and its partnerships with other federal agencies to improve health outcomes. For more information, link to the newsletter. (2-10-14)

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FHWA Report Compares U.S. and Swedish Livability Approaches

FHWA has released a report summarizing two webinars that explored U.S. and Swedish approaches to different livability issues. The October 2012 webinars, coordinated by FHWA’s Office of International Programs and the FHWA Livability Team, provided a forum for government and academic participants to discuss varying strategies to overcoming similar livability issues. The report draws on each country’s unique approach to livability to offer lessons and describe best practices for both U.S. and Swedish transportation practitioners. For more information, link to Livability in the U.S. and Sweden Summary Report. (1-3-14)

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ODOT Report Details Energy Efficiency Strategies for Highway Maintenance Facilities

The Ohio Department of Transportation has published a report examining various renewable energy sources and energy efficiency methods for the department’s highway maintenance facilities. Strategies outlined in the report reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offer cost advantages. A University of Cincinnati research team devised a three-phase screening tool to scrutinize technologies with the potential to provide renewable energy benefits at highway maintenance facilities. In addition, researchers created a decision support tool to help practitioners navigate the screening tool’s three phases. For more information, link to Evaluation of Renewable Energy Alternatives for Highway Maintenance Facilities. (1-23-14)

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CDC and APA Develop Healthy Community Design Toolkit

The American Planning Association, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control, has developed a Healthy Community Design Toolkit. The free resource includes a health community design checklist, a ready-to-use health community design PowerPoint presentation, a guide for creating a neighborhood health profile and a guide for planning health resources. For more information, link to Healthy Community Design Toolkit. (1-16-14)

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State Department Releases 2014 Climate Action Report

The Department of State has issued the United States’ Climate Action Report for 2014. Presented to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the report provides information on the United States’ actions, both at home and abroad, “to mitigate, adapt to, and assist others in addressing climate change.” The report also outlines the United States’ plan to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions trends through 2020. For more information, link to the report. (1-1-14)

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Case Study Explores Vermont's Attempts to Increase Resiliency after Hurricane Irene

A Georgetown Climate Center case study examines Vermont’s efforts to use federal disaster funding to repair transportation networks devastate by Hurricane Irene in August 2011. The case study also examines the challenges Vermont officials faced when attempting to use federal disaster funding to increase the resiliency of their transportation networks. According to the case study, Vermont officials chose to rebuild roads and bridges with enhanced standards, which prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deny reimbursement claims. Appeals were filed and FEMA has so far agreed to reimburse one locality that utilized higher road and bridge standards. For more information, link to the case study. (12-20-13)

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Federal Funding Opportunities for Urban Heat Adaptation Detailed in Compendium

The Georgetown Climate Center has released a compendium compiling information about federal funding opportunities for urban heat adaptation. The center evaluated more than 40 federal programs for their potential to offer urban heat relief in the categories of transportation, energy, environment, community development and public health. The compendium includes information related to eligibility, possible funded activities and average grant awards for several Department of Transportation programs that can be used for urban heat relief, including the Interstate Maintenance Program, Highways for LIFE, National Highway Performance Program, State Planning and Research Grants, Transportation Alternatives and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program, among others. For more information, link to Federal Funding Compendium for Urban Heat Adaptation. (12-20-13)

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FTA Announces Funds to Enhance Resiliency of Transit Agencies Affected By Sandy

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a program to enhance the resiliency of public transit agencies damaged by Hurricane Sandy. FTA will distribute approximately $3 billion to public transportation providers in states declared a federal disaster area after the October 2012 storm. FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff said, “Our goal is to advance the best regionally coordinated projects, so taxpayers won't have to pay to restore the same transit services a second or third time.” Proposals are due March 28, 2014. For more information, link to The Notice of Funding Availability for Resiliency Projects in Response to Hurricane Sandy or to a related press release. (12-23-13)

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Report Summarizes Workshop Exploring Biofuels' Impact on Human Health

The Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, has published a report summarizing the proceedings of two-day workshop that explored biofuels’ impact on human health. During the January 2013 workshop, presenters offered sessions exploring how production and use of biofuels affects climate change, air, water, land use and society and the consequences of those changes on human health. The workshop also included a discussion of a case study exploring palm oil’s impact on human health in Malaysia. For more information, link to The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary (2013). (12-15-13)

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FHWA Issues Assessment of Climate Change Adaptation Measures in Transportation

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a report highlighting adaptation actions that transportation agencies around the world are pursuing. The report, Assessment of the Body of Knowledge on Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation Measures into Transportation Projects, discusses strategies, examples, and best practices for evaluating the costs and benefits of adaptation. For more information, link to the report. (12-20-13)

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FHWA Posts First in a Series of Climate Change Adaptation Case Studies

Six climate change adaptation case studies have been posted by the Federal Highway Administration. The case studies detail the five projects from the first round of FHWA’s vulnerability assessment pilot program as well as a case study on addressing climate change in NEPA. FHWA said the case studies represent the first in an extensive FHWA series of case studies on climate change adaptation and resilience in the transportation sector. (12-20-13)

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TRB Circular Explores Risk Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation Frameworks

The Transportation Research Board’s has issued an E-Circular providing a synthesis of leading risk-based adaptation frameworks from the international transportation community. It focuses on common elements of the frameworks, including the underlying motivation for initiating climate change adaptation planning, the foundational risk management standards and principles used to develop the frameworks, the focus and approach of the frameworks, and the barriers and limitations identified by the transportation agencies and organizations. It also includes suggestions for future research priorities. For more information, link to TRB E-Circular 181, Risk-Based Adaptation Frameworks for Climate Change Planning in the Transportation Sector. (12-12-13)

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Federal Agencies Issue Updated Sustainability Plans

The Department of Transportation and three dozen other federal agencies have released updated plans for meeting a series of sustainability goals over the next year. The DOT plan describes the launch of the department’s “DOT Sustains” initiative as a means of demonstrating its commitment to sustainability in both internal operations and its program areas. The department’s sustainability policies include a reduction in petroleum consumption for the department’s vehicle fleet and an increase in alternative fuel use. The plan also notes that, in fiscal year 2012, the department has lowered greenhouse gas emissions over 30 percent from the 2008 baseline for one level of reduction goals and 14 percent for another. DOT also indicated that it plans to increase energy efficiency in its buildings and to procure more green products. For more information, link to the DOT plan and the federal sustainability web page. (12-5-13)

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Obama Memorandum Details New Renewable Energy Guidelines

President Barack Obama has signed a memorandum directing federal agencies to purchase 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. The memorandum, part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, triples the amount of power federal agencies are currently required to obtain from renewable sources. The new renewable power requirements, according to the memorandum, will be incrementally phased over a five-year period beginning in federal fiscal year 2015. For more information, link to the Presidential Memorandum and fact sheet. (12-5-13)

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TRB's TR News Focuses on Environmental Sustainability in Transportation

Transportation Research Board’s TR News magazine devoted its September-October 2013 issue to the topic of environmental sustainability in transportation. The issue includes articles related to applying the Eco-logical framework, roadside vegetation and green infrastructure, developing soundscapes, quieter pavements and recycled materials. The magazine also features an introductory article about the intersection between quality of life improvements and environmental sustainability in transportation. For more information, link to TR News, September-October 2013, Number 288. (11-25-13)

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WSDOT Recognizes Three Projects with Environmental Excellence in Design Award

Three projects were recently honored with the 2013 Environmental Excellence in Design Award by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The award recognizes projects for their environmental benefits and outcomes, avoidance and minimization of environmental impacts and ability to build collaborative partnerships. The new U.S. 195 Cheney-Spokane Road interchange won the transportation improvement category. There were two winners in the environmental improvement category: the U.S. 97 wildlife connectivity project north of Goldendale, Wash., and the State Road 20 Skagit River Permanent Restoration project. For more information, link to Environmental Excellence in Design Award. (11-20-13)

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FHWA Launches Web Page on Renewable Energy on Highway Right-of-Way

FHWA’s Office Planning, Environment, and Realty has launched a web page with information for practitioners on alternative uses of highway right-of-way. State departments of transportation increasingly are using highway right-of-way to host renewable energy technologies. The web page discusses the benefits of accommodating renewable energy projects, such as solar arrays, along highway right-of-way and includes links to additional resources. For more information, link to Alternative Uses of Highway Right-of-Way. (11-20-13)

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Federal Agencies Win GreenGov Awards for Climate Workshops, Sea Level Rise Tool

Winners of the fourth annual GreenGov Presidential Awards include two awardees in the Climate Champion category. The General Services Administration won for its series of climate preparedness workshops for federal facilities to review potential climate impacts on government infrastructure. In addition, a team of federal agencies was honored for partnering to create an interactive mapping and calculator tool to help communities understand future sea level rise as they weigh Hurricane Sandy reconstruction. The Sea Level Rise Tool for Sandy Recovery allows state, regional, and local planners to better estimate the risk of sea level rise on facilities and infrastructure. For more information, link to the White House press release. (11-5-13)

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New Executive Order Instructs Federal Government to Prepare For Climate Change's Impacts

The President has signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to prepare the United States for climate change’s impact. The executive order, which comes one year after Hurricane Sandy’s landfall along the northeast seaboard, calls on the federal government to manage efforts to “improve climate preparedness and resilience” with input from state, local, tribal and other relevant stakeholders. In addition, the executive order establishes the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which comprises several federal agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Energy, Defense, State, Agriculture, and Homeland Security. For more information, link to the Preparing The United States For The Impacts Of Climate Change Executive Order. (11-1-13)

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EPA Seeking Comment on Watershed and Estuary Adaptation Workbook

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries program has released a public draft of a climate change adaptation planning workbook. EPA, which is seeking comments on the draft, designed the workbook to help environmental professionals and related practitioners develop climate change adaptation plans for coastal and watershed resources they oversee or manage. For more information, link to the workbook or to the Climate Ready Estuaries News and Events webpage. (10-22-13)

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FHWA Posts Material from Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Webinars

Recordings and transcripts of four webinars devoted to climate change and extreme weather vulnerability assessments are now available on FHWA’s website. A May 16, 2013, webinar introduced listeners to the basics of vulnerability assessments, provided information related to the potential of climate change to impact transportation networks, and described FHWA’s Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework. A May 30, 2013, webinar provided information on transportation asset information and climate projections to identify vulnerabilities in transportation infrastructure. The third webinar, held on June 12, 2013, discussed merging assessment results into decision making frameworks. In addition, a June 20, 2013, webinar discussed Hurricane Sandy and its effect on future extreme weather preparations, recovery strategies and planning for long-term resilience. For more information, link to Transportation, Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Webinar Series. (10-29-13)

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EPA Announces Grants For Green Infrastructure in Six Communities

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced $400,000 in funding to help six communities expand use of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and boost resilience to the impacts of climate change. Grants will go to Providence, R.I.; Detroit, Mich.; Lincoln, Neb.; Gary, Ind.; Pima County, Ariz.; and Spartanburg, S.C. The funding is in support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which directs federal agencies to identify climate-resilient investments such as agency grants and technical assistance for communities across the country. The agency also released a related report, Case Studies Analyzing the Economic Benefits of Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure Programs. For more information, link to EPA’s Green Infrastructure page. (10-25-13)

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FDOT Mapping Tool Provides Analysis of Sea Level Rise

The Florida Department of Transportation has released an interactive planning tool that can provide valuable information for conducting statewide and regional assessments of the vulnerability of transportation infrastructure to sea level rise. With the development of higher resolution data sets, the tool also allows for analysis down to the level of a metropolitan planning organization (MPO). The tool, developed by the University of Florida, provides analysis of projections of sea level rise at various rates. Inundation layers use the simple “bathtub” method enhanced by including a hydroconnectivity rule. This combined method increased the accuracy of the vulnerability inventory. The map viewer allows users to produce modeled inundation layers and view affected transportation facilities for planning horizons up to the year 2100. For more information, link to Development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) Tool for the Preliminary Assessment of the Effects of Predicted Sea Level and Tidal Change on Transportation Infrastructure. (10-7-13)

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