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Version 1.3

When Does INVEST Measure Sustainability?

INVEST has four modules to evaluate the sustainability of transportation projects throughout the project lifecycle.

One of the primary goals of INVEST was to address sustainability throughout the project lifecycle. As shown below, that lifecycle generally includes system-level planning and programming (by either a state or regional agency), project development (project-specific planning, design and construction) and operations & maintenance activities.

To address each of these lifecycle elements, INVEST is composed of four modules, System Planning for States (SPS), System Planning for Regions (SPR), Project Development (PD), and Operations and Maintenance (OM) each of which is based upon separate collections of criteria:

  • The SPS criteria were developed with state DOTs in mind. Agencies that own their own infrastructure, such as State DOTs and local agencies will benefit from using the SPS module.
  • The SPR criteria were developed with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Councils of Government (COGs) in mind, although any transportation agency responsible for transportation system-level planning and programming will find benefit in using the SPR module.
  • The PD module is intended for evaluating the development of a specific project, once the general purpose and need for a solution to a transportation problem has been programmed. These criteria involve project planning, design, and construction decisions related to a specific project.
  • The OM module focuses on an agency's operations & maintenance programs. Criteria cover operational and administrative criteria such as internal agency fuel usage as well as maintenance and operations of highway infrastructure.

Within each of the modules, the decision of when to evaluate a program or project is up to the user. Typically, the earlier in the development of a program or project a self-evaluation is performed, the more ability the user has to positively influence sustainability. At the same time, retrospective evaluations of projects or portfolios of projects can provide an opportunity to identify programmatic barriers to sustainability and make positive changes for future projects.

It is useful to evaluate programs and/or projects at multiple points and to update the evaluation with new information to aid the measurement of progress over time. INVEST allows users to save "snapshots" of scoring or to duplicate a program or project (e.g. to make a copy of the planning level evaluation of a project to use for design level evaluation) so that scores can be compared over time. For more information on this, visit the Scoring Tutorial.