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Lecture 11 - Overview Of INVEST

Sustainable Transportation Curriculum for Universities

Slide 1

INVEST - Sustainable Highways Self-Evaluation Tool (logo).

LECTURE 11: Overview of INVEST

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INVEST — Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool

INVEST is a web-based self-evaluation tool

Screenshot of the landing page for the INVEST website, accessible at

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INVEST — Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (continued)

  • It includes voluntary sustainability best practices called criteria
  • It covers the full life cycle of transportation — system planning, project planning, design, construction, and operations and maintenance
  • Developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

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Why Measure Sustainability?

  • Track and assess progress
    INVEST provides a snapshot in time of sustainability efforts
  • Encourage broad participation of stakeholders
    INVEST helps communicate goals and progress to all involved
  • Evaluate sustainability of trade-offs
    INVEST includes criteria that help evaluate multiple options
  • Meet or anticipate new requirements
    INVEST helps users understand new technologies and best practices
  • Find and address programmatic barriers
    INVEST helps find hindrances in policies, standards, and specifications
  • Communicate benefits and goals
    INVEST helps influence public opinion and raise awareness

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How Is Sustainability Measured?

Sustainability is measured by assessing performance of social, environmental, and economic principles. While a balanced treatment of all three is an ideal goal, it is not always achievable.

Hands cupped together holding a small world.

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How Is Sustainability Measured?

  • One method of measurement is to compare a program or project to existing best practices
  • Many organizations develop their own measurement tools and best practices
  • Balancing triple bottom line goals may be accomplished over a group of projects or the entire program
  • INVEST provides the opportunity to consider sustainability along with other performance measures without mandating values or choices

Slide 7

INVEST Has Modules to Evaluate the Sustainability of Transportation Projects throughout the Project Life Cycle

The image represents the project lifecycle as represented in INVEST, starting with system planning, followed by project development, and operations and maintenance.

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The goal of INVEST is to make transportation more sustainable than common practice dictates today

  • Is sustainable transportation possible considering material resource requirements and impacts to human and natural environments from development and vehicle usage?
    • Transportation provides immense social and economic benefits
    • Transportation is a necessary part of our society's infrastructure
Aerial view of a highway interchange.

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Achieving Sustainability Goals

  • Implementing sustainable practices can benefit agencies as well as road users
  • Example — safety criterion
    • Agency benefits — reduced costs for emergency response, property damage, and legal liability
    • Road user benefits — savings in crash property damage, travel delays, and productivity

Advance better business practices

Integrate sustainability into project and programs

Improve education and understanding of sustainability

Facilitate communication and outreach

Using INVEST to Accomplish Your Goals | INVEST – Sustainable Highways Self-Evaluation Tool | Federal Highway Administration

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Monitor Performance and Benchmark

  • May be used to evaluate past performance, current performance, and goals for future performance
  • May be used on a regular basis to benchmark year-over-year achievements
  • Helps establish a high standard of achievement across all projects and identify improvements
  • Helps identify potential solutions early in design and ensures they are carried forward through construction

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Improve sustainability of specific transportation projects

  • Users may take a prospective or a retrospective approach
  • Helps agencies identify areas of improvement or excellence

Keep projects on track to meet sustainability goals

  • INVEST is effective in tracking projects in development
  • Helps establish a sustainability schedule with milestones

Provide contractors with incentives for implementing sustainability

  • INVEST may be embedded in contract documents and design-build
  • INVEST may be used to demonstrate sustainability in procurement requests and contracts mechanisms

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LECTURE 11: Overview of INVEST