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Environmental Impact Assessment: Researches are required to distil proper methods of environmental impact assessment of a transportation action (project or potential project). This is because although a significant amount of guidance exists, the approach to environmental impact assessment of a transportation action is often reinvented. Institutional and geographic impediments have hindered the definition of a standard, or an accepted set of approaches to evaluating an issue, and the unique aspects of each project tend to confuse the common elements.
Environmental Planning and Management: Aims is to put transportation decisions against a backdrop of social, economic, and environmental factors (such as global climate change) early in the planning process, coordinate planning efforts among affected agencies, and involve the public earlier in the decision-making process.
Hazardous Materials Control: This area is concerned with approaches to control highway-related hazardous substances:
|Right-of-way hazardous substances, materials, and waste.|
|Hazardous materials generated during development and completion of projects.|
Stormwater Constituents: Storm-water discharges from roads and highways represent an environmental issue requiring an understanding of not only the technical aspects of highway design and operations, site environmental impacts assessment, and regulatory requirements, but also the relative contribution and magnitude of the environmental impacts on the ecological system. Although available data and research shows highway stormwater discharges are most likely to have significant impact on localized areas, the holistic approach which integrates highway stormwater runoff into the overall watershed-based ecological framework allows for the evaluation of long-term water and water quality trends.
Transportation Noise: While noise emanates from many different sources, transportation noise is perhaps the most pervasive and difficult source to avoid in society today.
If noise impacts are identified, various noise abatement measures are considered to mitigate the adverse impacts, for example, noise barriers. Other possible noise abatement measures include: traffic management measures, creating buffer zones, planting vegetation, installing noise insulation in buildings, and relocating the highway.
The proper application of functional evaluations is critical to mitigating adverse impacts of transportation projects on wetlands. Functional evaluations of newly created wetlands can be extremely useful in measuring the success of efforts to replace lost wetland functions. Such assessments require careful definition of objectives and a comparison of results to certain baseline conditions. Depending on the objectives of the wetlands project, the baseline may be defined as the same wetland prior to alteration or as a nearby unaltered wetland of similar hydrogeomorphic type. Comparisons may also be made with other stated mitigation objectives, based on a reference wetland representing a desired target condition.