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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2014 www.TRB.org The Second S T R A T E G I C H I G H W A Y R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M RepoRt S2-C40A-RW-1 Integration of National-Level Geospatial Ecological Tools and Data ICF InternatIonal UrS CorporatIon
Subject Areas Environment Highways Planning and Forecasting
SHRP 2 Reports Available by subscription and through the TRB online bookstore: www.TRB.org/bookstore Contact the TRB Business Office: 202-334-3213 More information about SHRP 2: www.TRB.org/SHRP2 SHRP 2 Report S2-C40A-RW-1 ISBN: 978-0-309-27407-4 Â© 2014 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Copyright Information Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copy- right to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. The second Strategic Highway Research Program grants permission to repro- duce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, or FHWA endorsement of a particular prod- uct, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing material in this document for educational and not-for-profit purposes will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from SHRP 2. Note: SHRP 2 report numbers convey the program, focus area, project number, and publication format. Report numbers ending in âwâ are published as web documents only. Notice The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the second Strategic Highway Research Program, conducted by the Transportation Research Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. The members of the technical committee selected to monitor this project and to review this report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. The report was reviewed by the technical committee and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the National Research Council, and the sponsors of the second Strategic Highway Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. The Second Strategic Highway Research Program Americaâs highway system is critical to meeting the mobility and economic needs of local communities, regions, and the nation. Developments in research and technologyâsuch as advanced materials, communications technology, new data collection tech- nologies, and human factors scienceâoffer a new opportunity to improve the safety and reliability of this important national resource. Breakthrough resolution of significant transportation problems, however, requires concentrated resources over a short time frame. Reflecting this need, the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) has an intense, large-scale focus, integrates multiple fields of research and technology, and is fundamentally different from the broad, mission-oriented, discipline-based research programs that have been the mainstay of the highway research industry for half a century. The need for SHRP 2 was identified in TRB Special Report 260: Strategic Highway Research: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life, published in 2001 and based on a study sponsored by Congress through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). SHRP 2, modeled after the first Strategic Highway Research Program, is a focused, time- constrained, management-driven program designed to comple- ment existing highway research programs. SHRP 2 focuses on applied research in four areas: Safety, to prevent or reduce the severity of highway crashes by understanding driver behavior; Renewal, to address the aging infrastructure through rapid design and construction methods that cause minimal disruptions and produce lasting facilities; Reliability, to reduce congestion through incident reduction, management, response, and mitigation; and Capacity, to integrate mobility, economic, environmental, and community needs in the planning and designing of new trans- portation capacity. SHRP 2 was authorized in August 2005 as part of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Leg- acy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The program is managed by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) on behalf of the National Research Council (NRC). SHRP 2 is conducted under a memo- randum of understanding among the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Academy of Sciences, parent organization of TRB and NRC. The program provides for competitive, merit-based selection of research contractors; independent research project oversight; and dissemination of research results.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achieve- ments of engineers. Dr. C. D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academyâs purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisci- plinary, and multimodal. The Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transporta- tion, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This work was sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration in cooperation with the American Asso- ciation of State Highway and Transportation Officials. It was conducted in the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2), which is administered by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. The project was managed by Stephen J. Andrle, Deputy Director of SHRP 2. The work documented in this final project report was supported and informed by an extensive group of people, agencies, and organizations. The project team specifically acknowledges the input from the pilot project leaders and user group members: Jacquelyn (Honig) Bjorkman, Richard Bostwick, David Diamond, Mary Gray, Patrick Huber, Mary Grace Lewandowski, Sharon Osowski, Greg Servheen, John Thomas, and James Thorne. SHRP 2 STAFF Ann M. Brach, Director Stephen J. Andrle, Deputy Director Neil J. Pedersen, Deputy Director, Implementation and Communications Cynthia Allen, Editor Kenneth Campbell, Chief Program Officer, Safety JoAnn Coleman, Senior Program Assistant, Capacity and Reliability Eduardo Cusicanqui, Financial Officer Richard Deering, Special Consultant, Safety Data Phase 1 Planning Shantia Douglas, Senior Financial Assistant Charles Fay, Senior Program Officer, Safety Carol Ford, Senior Program Assistant, Renewal and Safety James Hedlund, Special Consultant, Safety Coordination Alyssa Hernandez, Reports Coordinator Ralph Hessian, Special Consultant, Capacity and Reliability Andy Horosko, Special Consultant, Safety Field Data Collection William Hyman, Senior Program Officer, Reliability Linda Mason, Communications Officer David Plazak, Senior Program Officer, Capacity and Reliability Rachel Taylor, Senior Editorial Assistant Dean Trackman, Managing Editor Connie Woldu, Administrative Coordinator
The Federal Highway Administrationâs (FHWAâs) Planning Environment Linkages (PEL) initiative and the work done through SHRP 2 on integrating conservation and highway planning encourage addressing potential environmental issues early in the transportation planning process. However, there is often not enough environmental data available early on to have a meaningful discussion among stakeholders. The primary objective of Project C40A, Integration of National-Level Geospatial Ecological Tools and Data, was to develop an integrated, geospatial ecological screening tool for early transportation planning that produces results that can carry through and inform the environmental review process. This report and the geospatial tool named Eco-Plan will be of interest to anyone who works with environmental data to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the environmental impact of transporta- tion or other infrastructure projects. Through web services, Eco-Plan accesses state and local data sets published by federal resource agencies and provides tools to integrate them with state and local data collected at that level. The idea is to provide an organized structure for all available environmental data within a context that can support early and fruitful discus- sion among transportation planners, resource agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the public. The big picture objective is to improve the environment, not just mitigate impacts, and to expedite delivery of highway projects. This is accomplished by identifying and addressing potential environmental issues as early as possible so unexpected issues are less likely to emerge later and cause delays. This report is the last in a series of SHRP 2 ecological projects conducted in support of FHWAâs PEL initiative and is based on the 2006 document Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects (Eco-Logical). Eco-Logical is an enabling document signed by nine federal agencies that encourages preservation of ecosystemsâhabitat, habitat con- nectivity, wetlands, and multispecies protection. Implementing these principles is difficult in practice. The two-volume SHRP 2 C06 report, An Ecological Approach to Integrating Con- servation and Highway Planning, proposes a multiagency process, the Integrated Ecological Framework, to provide institutional structure. Volumes 1 and 2 are supplemented by the Practitionerâs Guide to the Integrated Ecological Framework, a shorter Managerâs Guide to the Integrated Ecological Framework, and four reports of pilot tests from the pilot team. This material is also contained in the web portal PlanWorks developed by SHRP 2 and hosted by the Federal Highway Administration. In the fall of 2012, SHRP 2 conducted a multiagency workshop to determine if more work was needed in this area. The overwhelming response was that more complete environmental data and tools are needed early in the planning process to carry out the principles of Eco-Logical and the Integrated Ecological Framework. Eco-Plan will help reduce the barriers to ecological-based environmental and mitigation planning. The C40A report contains extensive background on existing and emerging envi- ronmental tools and databases, an assessment of user needs, and an evaluation of each exist- ing tool against the user requirements. None of the tools available at the time fully addressed the needs, so Eco-Plan was developed. F O R EWO R D Stephen J. Andrle, SHRP 2 Deputy Director
Eco-Plan is designed primarily for planning agencies that have not yet developed geospatial tools or extensive expertise for environmental analysis. Eco-Plan allows novice users to review maps of ecological data sets, find data, upload or draw planning areas, and explore conser- vation priorities. Eco-Plan Advanced, which is part of the same package, is implemented through ArcGIS Online and allows more advanced users to add data sets and prepared maps, conduct GIS analysis, create reports, and share maps. This report describes the functionality of Eco-Plan and provides a quick start guide for users. In addition to this project, three concurrent proof-of-concept projects were conducted, in which agencies were asked to improve geospatial tools they already have, describe how they could be transferred to others, and contribute both to the design and the evaluation of Eco-Plan. These agencies were East-West Gateway Coordinating Counsel in conjunction with the University of Missouri; University of California, Davis, in conjunction with the California Department of Transportation; and Parsons Corporation in conjunction with Contra Costa County, California. Materials are available from SHRP 2 and from FHWAâs GoSHRP2 website.
1 Executive Summary 3 CHAPTER 1 Background and Purpose 3 1.1 Introduction 3 1.2 SHRP 2 Capacity Program 3 1.3 Prior Research 4 1.4 Project Purpose 5 CHAPTER 2 Methods and Outcomes 5 2.1 Task 1. Needs Assessment and Task 5. Interface with Eco-Plan Pilot Teams 8 2.2 Task 2. Vision Statement 16 2.3 Task 3. Architecture and Design Plan 19 2.4 Task 4. Beta Version 20 2.5 Task 6. Testing 21 2.6 Task 7. Midcourse Briefing 23 2.7 Task 8. Final Version 23 2.8 Task 9. Final Documentation and User Guide 24 CHAPTER 3 Using Eco-Plan and Eco-Plan Advanced 24 3.1 Quick-Start Guide to Eco-Plan 27 3.2 Quick-Start Guide to Eco-Plan Advanced 29 CHAPTER 4 Conclusions and Insights for the Future 31 References 33 Appendix A. User Needs 39 Appendix B. How Systems Address User Needs 46 Appendix C. Individual System Assessments 77 Appendix D. List of All Data Sets Provided in Eco-Plan 79 Appendix E. Screening of Analytic Tools 112 Appendix F. Draft Wireframes 117 Appendix G. Testing Plan 120 Appendix H. Testing Scripts 129 Appendix I. Test Results C O N T E N T S