When developing projects, transportation professionals must consider the complex relationships among a variety of factors affecting individuals, communities, the economy, and the environment. FHWA's Planning, Environment, and Realty research supports this work by assessing new tools and processes that make better decisions, leading to improved outcomes.
FHWA provides tools, technical assistance, proven processes, and data so that State and local agencies can perform effective project planning as well as environmental and realty decision-making. Enhanced coordination across disciplines leads to more efficient project delivery and better resource conservation. The result is a safer, more reliable, and accessible transportation system that is environmentally sound and responsive to the public's needs.
FHWA's research promotes techniques and processes that help society to adapt to extreme weather and climate change by constructing or renovating infrastructure to withstand these events. It also evaluates projects based on sustainability principles. FHWA is also researching project impacts on adjacent communities from air quality and noise changes.
FHWA helps transportation professionals strengthen their processes by providing new tools and strategies. Expanded geographic information systems (GIS) technologies incorporate livability principles into transportation planning. Environmental impact mitigation allows better coordination with climate change adaptation.
Additional areas of focus include:
- Context sensitive solutions.
- Economic development.
- Nondiscrimination and environmental justice.
- Community improvements.
- Community impact assessment.
- Pedestrians and bicyclists.
Following the principles of integrated transportation decision-making, FHWA forms partnerships with professionals in the fields of transportation planning, resource conservation, and realty to refine its research priorities. Together, they are identifying opportunities and developing new approaches that advance the practice.