DENVER — In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) selected a CH2M HILL-led team to assist in identifying the characteristics of a sustainable highway, and to define best practices for the planning, design, construction, and operations and maintenance of sustainable highways. An outcome of the research project was the development of INVEST, which is a practical, web-based collection of best practices that allow states to integrate sustainability into their transportation projects and programs.
The tool enables transportation agencies to develop a sustainability score used to support decision making, or to share an agency’s commitment to sustainability with external audiences. INVEST emphasizes a balanced, interdisciplinary approach to achieving sustainability. It provides opportunities for professionals in environmental, planning, engineering, construction and operations and maintenance fields to understand and improve sustainability performance in transportation.
CH2M HILL’s team, led by Tim Bevan and Lisa Reid, wrapped up version 1.0 for the official launch on October 10, 2012. Along the way, the team completed a beta version in late 2010 that FHWA distributed to industry for review. Incorporating suggested modifications, a pilot test version was launched in 2011 and used to analyze projects and programs through the tool’s modules. The results of those pilot tests included major changes to the format and function of the website, as well as significant changes to the sustainable highways best practices criteria.
With the tool launched, FHWA is looking for projects and programs interested in being deployment sites. The tool will be useful for agencies performing system planning work (usually metropolitan planning organizations and state Departments of Transportation updating transportation plans), agencies with key projects in project development (planning, design, and construction), and agencies delivering operations and maintenance programs. It is possible that there will be stipend money available to agencies that participate.
Check out the tool at www.sustainablehighways.org.
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