Planning for and Implementing Sustainable Transportation Systems
Sustainability refers to the long-term economic, environmental, and social performance of a given project or program that prevents degradation of natural resources, and social and economic conditions. Anticipating the effects of an activity on the environment is a critical aspect of evaluating sustainability, and changing environmental conditions can significantly affect the likely sustainability of projects.
The U.S. DOT Volpe Center works with multiple sponsors to develop sustainability initiatives ranging from the strategic planning level, down to the details of establishing recycling programs. The U.S. DOT Volpe Center has developed pollinator gardens, evaluated ecosystem services, considered tradeoffs among sustainability goals, and assisted agencies with compliance with reporting requirements, regulatory requirements, and directives.
Research and Reports
- Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects
Presents interagency guide to making infrastructure more sensitive to wildlife and ecosystems through greater interagency cooperative conservation
- Connecting Transportation Planning and the Environment
Helps transportation agencies with technical assistance and outreach materials to introduce environmental considerations early in planning and to use documented planning information to inform the environmental review process
- Global Approaches to Addressing Biofuel-Related Invasive Species Risks and Incorporation into U.S. laws and Policies
Reviews ecological and biological indicators of invasive species risk and how highly sought characteristics in proposed biofuel feedstock species may lead to invasion, reviews existing weed risk assessment tools, and evaluates invasive species risk management elements of existing bioenergy laws and policies
- INVEST (FHWA Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool)
Creates web-based sustainability self-assessment tool that transportation agencies can use to evaluate the sustainability of their projects and plans
- Sustainable Rest Area Design and Operations
Presents option for State DOTs to modernize their rest areas while reducing operations and maintenance costs by incorporating sustainable practices into rest area design and operations
- Costs and Benefits of Global Aviation CO2 Requirements
Models costs and benefits of CO2 reduction that could be gained through a now-implemented aviation CO2 stringency.
- Aviation Environmental Trends to 2050
Analyzes estimated fuel burn, emissions, and noise associated with aviation under a business as usual scenario and a range of improvement scenarios addressing operational and technological improvements as well as alternative jet fuel use to reduce fuel burn and emissions.
- Global Transport Emissions Compendium and Dashboard
Identifies key climate mitigation commitments, strategies, and trends in the transport sector for more than 50 countries across the globe; includes analysis of progress toward achieving transport-specific climate change targets articulated by some Paris Agreement signatories.