Sustainable Highway Construction Practices

A number of state departments of transportation (DOTs) and the Federal Highway Administration are exploring how best to integrate the principles of sustainability—meeting human needs for the present and future while preserving and restoring environmental and ecological systems, fostering community health and vitality, promoting economic development and prosperity, and ensuring equity between and among population groups and over generations—into their agency missions and operations. Transportation agencies make a variety of decisions in the planning and design of highway projects to address a range of community needs, regulatory requirements and transportation goals. Progress is being made on incorporating principles of sustainability in the planning, programming, and design phases of highway construction projects, and a number of sustainability rating and scoring systems as well as reference guides have been developed to further that progress. By comparison, relatively little progress has been made on determining how sustainability can be integrated into highway construction practices specifically. The objective of this research is to identify implementable sustainable highway construction practices that a state DOT or contractor may employ during construction, and prepare a guidebook that can be used by state DOTs, other transportation agencies, consulting engineers, and construction contractors—to aid them in identifying, evaluating, and selecting sustainable construction practices. The guidebook should also provide some guidance on the costs of implementation as well as how to approximate the benefits of implementing identified sustainable construction practices, to the extent that this information is available. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must represent the proposers’ current thinking described in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach in meeting the research objective. The research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the NCHRP project panel including, at a minimum (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the contract’s execution date; (2) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting at the conclusion of Phase 1 as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to panel review and NCHRP approval of any other interim deliverables deemed appropriate; and (3) a final report documenting the entire project, incorporating by reference all other specified deliverable products of the research. For budgeting purposes, the proposer should assume that NCHRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services, and that the face-to-face meeting with the project panel will be held in Washington, DC. NCHRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for the meeting. The work proposed must be divided into at least two phases, and the phases should be divided into tasks. Proposers must describe the work proposed in each phase and task in detail, and identify specific deliverables for submission to NCHRP for review and approval. Phase 1 will require at least the following tasks and should be completed within 14 months of the contract start date: Task 1. Conduct a literature review. Task 2. Develop a detailed plan to gather information about construction practices regarded as sustainable from both domestic and international transport agencies, contractors, and other relevant industries (e.g., energy or mining). Surveys may be used but should be supplemented with other outreach activities. One peer exchange should be conducted early in the project schedule; facility costs, and travel costs of up to 30 attendees, will be paid for by NCHRP. Note: Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA’s) 2015 “Toward Sustainable Pavement Systems: A Reference Document” (Report No. FHWA-HIF-15-002, January 2015) provides relevant background information on sustainability as it relates to highway and pavement systems. This research effort should avoid any duplication of the FHWA resource. Note: NCHRP approval of the plan developed in Task 2 is required before proceeding with subsequent tasks. Task 3. Summarize the information collected about sustainable construction practices noting innovative and new practices as appropriate, and other relevant information. Identify any gaps in the information. Document the results in a technical memorandum. Task 4. Prepare a draft annotated outline of the guidebook. Task 5. Prepare Interim Report 1 that contains the results of Tasks 1 through 4. Note: NCHRP approval of the interim report is required before proceeding with subsequent tasks. Phase 2 should include at least the following tasks: Task 6. Identify a future research agenda that identifies gaps and needs in the current state of knowledge, and prepare potential research problem statements. Task 7. Prepare the final guidebook. Task 8. Prepare and, if requested, make presentations to convey the results of the research to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Highways, the AASHTO Subcommittee on Construction, and the AASHTO Subcommittee on Design. Task 9. Provide a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” See Special Note E for additional information. Task 10. Prepare the final deliverables that fulfill the research objective and document the conduct of the research. The final deliverables will include (1) a final report that includes an executive summary that outlines the research results, and recommendations for additional, prioritized research needs; and (2) a PowerPoint presentation describing the project background, objective, research method, findings, and conclusions.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $300000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 10-91A

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Sundstrom, Lori

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Washington, Seattle

    Washington State Transportation Center
    1107 NE 45th Street
    Seattle, WA  United States  98105
  • Principal Investigators:

    Muench, Steve

  • Start Date: 20161010
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181010
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40675

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01592555
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 10-91A
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Mar 2 2016 1:00AM