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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.

Eastern Federal Lands- Promoting Wider Application of INVEST Through Sustainability Training Program

Lead Agency: Federal Lands Highway

INVEST Modules: Project Development

Link: www.efl.fhwa.dot.gov

 Download the EFL Case Study (1,403 kb)

The Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFL) within Federal Lands Highway (FLH) has provided training on sustainability and livability for a number of years. Recently, EFL decided to embed concepts from INVEST’s Project Development (PD) module into their Construction Winter Training Program. The aim of this training is to increase awareness and facilitate greater discussion about sustainability and to further integrate sustainability considerations into project planning, design, and construction.

Background on Sustainability Training

EFL’s training on sustainability and livability emerged from FLH’s ongoing commitment to provide training on context sensitive solutions (CSS) and encourage better incorporation of CSS principles into project development. CSS is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that suits its physical setting and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic, and environmental resources, while maintaining safety and mobility. Given that FLH designs and constructs projects in some of the nation’s most environmentally and culturally sensitive areas including national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other Federal lands, EFL has been a major proponent and leader of CSS for over a decade. EFL has offered CSS training to its staff since the early 2000s, and this training has continued to evolve to address how to best implement sustainability improvements from initial project planning, through construction, maintenance, and operations. In recent years, EFL has required staff from all technical disciplines, including project managers and designers, to participate in the trainings. Additionally, project teams have been provided with design alternatives and innovative approaches for discussion with partner agencies to better address context-sensitivity issues, apply livability principles, and incorporate sustainable highway practices featured in INVEST. As a result of these trainings and the need to better inform staff of the environmental process and CSS, in 2012, EFL implemented an Environmental Sustainability review, which is now completed for each project during the initial scoping meeting, to identify opportunities for reducing environmental impacts and for improving long-term sustainability. This review reflects INVEST criteria and serves as a checklist to ensure that sustainability is considered by project teams early and often during the project development process. In addition to utilizing trainings to promote INVEST, EFL has also used INVEST to evaluate a variety of different under-construction or recently constructed projects. These include:

  • Mulligan Road/Fairfax County Parkway (highlighted below)
  • Constitution Avenue
  • Newfound Gap Road

Mulligan Road/Fairfax County Parkway

Located in Fairfax County, Virginia, these projects involve creating two new four-lane divided roadways to provide vital east-west links between Richmond Highway (U.S. Route 1) and Telegraph Road (VA Route 611). Mulligan Road will serve as a replacement to Beulah Street (VA Route 613) and Woodlawn Road (VA Route 618) within Fort Belvoir, which were closed to public access by the U.S. Department of Defense following the events of September 11, 2001. In addition to constructing a roadway and median on a new alignment, these projects also include building multiple bridges and large culverts to make the roadway corridor more transparent, promote wildlife passage, remove existing roads through wildlife corridors, and develop a shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists. The Fairfax County Parkway project also includes construction of a commuter parking and transit interface within an interchange.

In 2011, as part of work related to the creation of FLH’s Best Management Practices for Sustainable Road Design and Construction, the Mulligan Road project was evaluated using the Pilot Test Version of INVEST. The aim of this report was to provide case studies of seven FLH projects in order to identify sustainability best practices, suggest improvements to FLH projects, and test different sustainability ratings systems. Using INVEST, the Mulligan Road project exceled in the criteria related to context sensitivity, pedestrian and bicycle access, ecological connectivity, long-life pavement, environmental training, and construction quality control. Other criteria identified as potential areas for improvement, with relatively low additional effort, included site vegetation, reducing and reusing materials, and construction waste management. These suggestions along with recommendations from the other case studies have helped inform EFL’s current and future projects. Moving forward, EFL plans to continue using INVEST to guide their trainings for sustainability and livability and to evaluate projects, including reviewing five projects in 2014.

Key Outcomes of Using INVEST:

  • By highlighting sustainability and INVEST through their Winter Training Program, EFL has exposed staff to the benefits of integrating sustainable practices into roadway projects and has encouraged project managers to seek out opportunities for sustainability early in the project development process.
  • INVEST has become a tool for implementation of EFL and partner agency values at the project level.
  • EFL has identified ways to improve INVEST so the tool can more appropriately capture Federal Land Management Agency work.

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