Best Practices and Common Approaches for Considering Sustainability at U.S. State Transportation Agencies

Recent federal, state, and international initiatives suggest growing interest in the sustainability of transportation systems, environmentally, economically, socially, and otherwise. This paper explores commonalities and variations in sustainability activities and describes best practices in sustainable transportation planning and evaluation at state departments of transportation (DOTs) in the United States. A survey of the 50 state DOTs identified current policies, programs, and evaluation methods. With a 94% response rate, the survey results reflect well the range of practices at state DOTs. The survey shows that some state DOTs appreciate the importance of sustainability in their external and internal activities and can point to specific initiatives that demonstrate their interest in sustainability. However, agencies clearly are focused on a range of activities and address sustainability at different levels of engagement. The survey results also reveal several general trends driven largely by federal requirements and state or regional priorities. Each DOT has a unique package of policies or programs, but all state DOTs point to their environmental planning activities as evidence of sustainable practices. Overall, DOTs in the Pacific division are most active in sustainable transportation practices, while those in the Northeast are particularly active in climate change planning and land use planning. Based on the survey responses and supporting literature, a national policy on sustainable transportation may provide guidance for state DOTs and other transportation agencies on specific elements of sustainable transportation, but it will need to be flexible to allow DOTs to address local issues and priorities.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01155030
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309160445
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-1713
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:46AM