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Case Studies

Transportation agencies across the United States are using INVEST to evaluate and improve sustainability within their agency and on their projects.

Case studies focus on the general use of INVEST and its implementation and/or scoring practices. Some focus more on process/application, some focus on a few select criteria, some focus on the overall experience of using INVEST. Case Studies are developed by the agency which submits them, with review and input by FHWA.

Use the map and filters below to find case studies relevant to your projects and/or agency.

Western Federal Lands - Annual Sustainability Award Process Utilizes INVEST

Lead Agency: Federal Lands Highway

INVEST Modules: Project Development


 Download the WFL Annual Sustainability Award Process Case Study (1,168 kb)

The Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFL) within the Federal Highway Administration uses the INVEST Project Development (PD) module to score, rank, and select the recipient of its Annual Sustainability Award.

Sustainability Award Process

Starting in 2012, WFL instituted an Annual Sustainability Award to better market and showcase WFL sustainability efforts. During the first year, WFL compiled a list of 17 eligible (under-construction or recently constructed) projects including new construction and rehabilitation projects. As part of the scoring process, WFL met with each of the project managers to discuss the scope of the projects and identify sustainability features. After some projects were removed from the list due to their lack of sustainability elements, WFL staff evaluated the remainder of the projects using the Rural Extended Scorecard for the INVEST PD module. In total, WFL spent 8 hours of staff time per project to collect and review the project information, meet with project staff, and conduct the INVEST evaluation.

The winner of the 2012 award was the Going-to-the-Sun Road project located in Glacier National Park, Montana. This project received a score of 70 points (Platinum level) with its strong emphasis on context sensitive project development, habitat restoration, ecological connectivity, and site vegetation, among other criteria. Additionally, reducing, reusing, and recycling materials proved to be integral to the overall sustainability of the project.

In 2013, WFL scored and ranked all of their existing large scale projects (greater than $3 million) to determine the Annual Sustainability Award winner. The average score of all of the projects was 49 (Silver level). Out of the 10 projects evaluated, the North Park Road, Jackson Lake Lodge to Leek’s Marina Project ranked highest using INVEST.

North Park Road, Jackson Lake Lodge to Leek’s Marina Project

The North Park Road, Jackson Lake Lodge to Leek’s Marina Project involved several improvements stretching 13 miles along Highway 89 in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. This project consisted of widening the North Park Road between Jackson Lake Lodge and Leek's Marina, resulting in 11 foot lanes and five foot shoulders. The project also included rehabilitation of the Pilgrim Creek Bridge deck and replacement of aging bridge rails. Additionally, the work included a pavement overlay on North Park Road from Lizard Creek Campground to approximately one mile south of Flagg Ranch.

This project received a total of 60 points (Gold level) using the Rural Extended Scorecard. Sustainability highlights included:

  • PD-19 Reduce and Reuse Materials. This project included the reuse of every piece of rock and reuse of pavement to limit the need for new materials. Additionally, bridge preservation activities were utilized to increase remaining service life. This project tied for having the second highest point total for this criterion.
  • PD-20 Recycle Materials. Out of the 10 projects assessed, North Park Road received the highest score for PD-20. Recycled compact aggregate base and recycled asphalt pavement blends were used. Also, pavement materials were recycled using cold-in-place recycling. The project also relocated and reused over 90 percent of minor structural elements.
  • PD-29 Construction Waste Management. The North Park Road project achieved the highest score for this criterion out of all the projects eligible for the Sustainability Award. The contractor for this project was required to create and apply a formal Construction and Demolition Waste Management Plan during roadway construction. As a result of this plan, at least 75 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. 

Moving forward, for future Sustainability Awards, WFL will also try and assess the sustainability of smaller projects (less than $3 million) and have two categories of awards. WFL is also committed to training a few staff members on using INVEST for project evaluation.

Key Outcomes of Using INVEST:

  • Meeting with project managers as part of the selection process for the award served as an educational exercise to better inform staff about sustainable practices.
  • Project managers were interested to learn what the award winner had done and what they could do better. Now project managers are trying to better incorporate sustainability throughout the entire project development process.
  • WFL is showing better documentation of decisions as a result of using INVEST.
  • The Annual Sustainability Award is contributing to a culture of sustainability at WFL and increasing awareness by providing a quantifiable way to define and measure sustainability.

Download the WFL Annual Sustainability Award Process Case Study.

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