Using Tools to Support Decision-Making for Multiple Benefits in Transportation and Conservation
One of the challenges faced by transportation and environmental practitioners is to keep pace with policy and technology advancements and capitalize upon new tools and methods as they become available. Several existing efforts and new initiatives are underway to improve practices in the use of tools within transportation program delivery. For example, the FHWA Headquarters Project Development and Environmental Review Office, FHWA Division Offices, state departments of transportation, NatureServe, and Defenders of Wildlife hosted workshops in Arizona, Arkansas, and Colorado to bring together transportation and environmental practitioners to discuss ways to link efforts for conservation and transportation planning. One result from the workshops is an expanded awareness of available information, data, and tools that can support the integration of conservation and transportation efforts and transportation program and project delivery. Another result from the workshops is evidence of the importance of face-to-face interactions between professionals in transportation and environmental and resource agencies. This paper includes a discussion of the approaches used in the workshops and successes and lessons learned. Several other existing efforts and new advancements that are moving forward to expand the use of data and tools in transportation decision-making are also discussed. The purpose of this paper is to highlight examples of specific types of expertise, data, and tools that can immediately be used to assist transportation and environmental practitioners achieve their goals and meet their requirements.