The Department of Transportation (DOT) has multiple missions that contribute
to its environment and natural resources R&D portfolio. Contributions
to overall DOT research and development are provided by the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Research
and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), the Maritime Administration
(MARAD), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Federal Aviation Administration
Types of Environment and Natural Resources Research Supported
- Highways and Air Quality: Modeling and analytic compliance
research is supported, including travel, emission, and dispersion modeling
techniques to provide information and technical guidance to Federal,
State, and local officials as well as the public at large on the new
requirements and methods for compliance.
- Highways and Water Resources: Previous research sponsored
by FHWA has provided tools to State and local transportation officials
for assessing potential water quality impacts of transportation improvements,
and has developed mitigation techniques to lessen the pollution effects
of stormwater runoff. Ongoing studies and those planned for the future
address the continuing concern over nonpoint water pollution from highway
facilities and the ever-present need to meet statutory and regulatory
requirements. Research is being supported to develop improved methods,
techniques, tools, models, and procedures to evaluate the water quality
impacts of highway development and operation activities, particularly
stormwater runoff and changes in hydrology, and to identify and develop
innovative best management practices, devices, and other mitigation
- Improving Knowledge of Wetland Resources: The construction,
use, and maintenance of highway systems have potential primary and secondary
impacts on wetlands resources and other ecosystems. Research is supported
to develop improved methods, tools, and techniques to identify and delineate
wetlands, to assess wetland impacts, and to evaluate wetland functions;
to improve the effectiveness of compensatory mitigation through better
techniques of wetland restoration, enhancement, and creation; and to
improve and enhance the use of mitigation banking as a viable, effective
tool of choice in situations where compensatory mitigation is necessary.
- Historic and Archeological Preservation and Aesthetics:
Historic and archeological preservation research addresses the procedural,
technical, and legal issues associated with resource identification,
evaluation, and rehabilitation in the highway and transportation context.
Research is supported to provide the tools necessary to meet technical
and procedural requirements for historic preservation, as well as visual
impacts and their associated assessment techniques. Information will
be developed to identify the viability and the manner in which the various
methods can be used to effectively determine the visual impact of highway
project proposals. Also, this program includes the various cultural
practices of roadside maintenance that can benefit visual quality such
as the use of wild flowers and other native plant species.
- Alternative Fuels: FTA conducts R&D to support
the transit industry use of alternative fuels. This effort has included
support for the development of various alternative fueled heavy duty
engines for transit bus applications. It also includes support for the
development of guidelines for the safe operation, maintenance, and storage
of alternative fueled vehicles.
- Electric Vehicle Program: FTA conducts R&D in
the application of electric propulsion technologies to transit bus applications.
Electric and hybrid electric transit buses offer significant emissions
reduction potential. Electric and hybrid electric also offer the potential
for greater operating efficiency and lower maintenance costs.
- Fuel Cell Transit Bus Program: FTA conducts R&D
toward the commercialization of fuel cell powered transit buses. Two
fuel cell technologies are being developed and evaluated -- phosphoric
acid and proton exchange membrane. Preliminary results indicate that
an entire fleet of fuel cell transit buses would have the equivalent
emissions of one current diesel transit bus.
- Pipeline Safety Research: RSPA provides technical
competence to assess pipeline integrity, to determine ways to rehabilitate
pipelines, and to set long-term goals for improvement. Ultimately, these
activities contribute to the safety of pipeline operations, and reduce
the danger of environmentally damaging accidents and spills.
- Hazardous Materials Research: RSPA provides the technical
and analytical foundation necessary to support DOT's regulatory, international
standards development, compliance, and emergency response programs that
deal with hazardous materials transportation safety. Overall, this research
is part of a comprehensive effort to protect the Nation from risks to
life, health, property, and the environment inherent in the transportation
of hazardous materials by water, air, highway, and railroad, and to
protect the environment from damage by oil and other pollutants.
- Emergency Transportation Research: This effort focuses
on the ability to assess the effects of a natural disaster on the national
transportation system, as well as effective tracking of the flow of
critical relief supplies during the response phase.
- Innovative Tools in Response Training and Preparedness Evaluation:
Research is being conducted to develop training methods for oil and
hazardous material spill response teams, as well as measurement methods
to evaluate response team performance. Research is also supporting development
of a portable pollution incident control and evaluation system.
- Oil Spill Countermeasures: Researchers are attempting
to improve methods to mitigate oil spills, with a focus on improving
mechanical collection systems and alternative countermeasures, such
as in situ burning, and on the use of sensing technologies (e.g.,
infrared) to detect accidental and deliberate spills. Research is also
conducted on weathering effects on spilled oil to improve predictive
capabilities, thus enhancing input to response strategies.
- Prevention Through People: Research has shown that
up to 80% of marine accidents are attributable to human activity. Research
is being conducted on human factors and performance (e.g., crew size,
bridge design, fatigue).
- Waterways Safety: This focus area seeks to provide
improved navigational capabilities and navigation resources for the
mariner, including positioning methods and aids to navigation.
- Pollution Prevention: DOT funds research on methods
to minimize the use of hazardous materials, to reduce the amount of
solid and hazardous materials generated by Coast Guard units, to determine
the most cost-effective and efficient methods for hazardous materials
management, and to identify the best technologies for remediation of
Coast Guard hazardous waste sites.
- Non-Indigenous Species: Research is being conducted
on the introduction of non-indigenous aquatic nuisance species into
U.S. waters through shipping activities, and various control options.
- Aircraft Noise Reduction and Control: The FAA researches
technology advances in source noise reduction. This includes engine
design parameters, advanced acoustic absorption materials, and active
noise control devices. Aircraft technology advances will include high-lift
devices and methods to reduce airframe-generated noise.
- Aircraft Engine Emissions Control: In collaboration
with other agencies, DOT investigates the aviation effects on the atmosphere.
The results of these studies are used in developing future engine emissions
regulations and international standards.
- Aviation Environmental Analysis: Research is supported
to develop various tools and methods used to evaluate the environmental
impact from alternative aviation policies and strategies. Projects include
continually updating and improving the integrated noise model, the heliport
noise model, the emissions and dispersion modeling system, and other
models to assess the impacts from FAA policies and actions.
Research Funding Opportunities
Federal Highway Administration
To fulfill its statutory mandates, FHWA has goals to develop improved
tools for assessing highway impacts on air quality, wetlands, hazardous
waste sites, and water quality; more effective and innovative avoidance,
detection, mitigation, and enhancement techniques; and environmental expertise
within FHWA and State and local transportation agencies that will significantly
contribute to a more efficient environmental and project development program
and to an enhanced environment in accordance with DOT's Strategic Plan
and the FHWA's Environmental Policy Statement. Generic enquiries about
funding to support the FHWA mandate should be sent to the following address:
FHWA University Coordinator
National Highway Institute (HHI-1)
901 N. Stuart Street, Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22202
Federal Transit Administration
FTA is the principal source of Federal financial assistance to U.S. communities
for the planning, development, and improvement of public transportation
systems. FTA has been working in cooperation with the transit industry
to meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and the
Energy Policy Act of 1992, which support the national goals of reducing
vehicle emissions and petroleum imports. FTA provides decisionmakers at
all levels with a better understanding of the technologies necessary to
meet these requirements, and provides the necessary technical assistance
and support to the transit industry to make a safe and successful transition
to new technologies.
Grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts are standard instruments
used by FTA to execute R&D projects. An annual directory of FTA's
R&D projects is available, and the information therein is regularly
updated on the FTA Home Page (http://www.fta.dot.gov).
In addition, FTA accepts unsolicited proposals. A Technical Advisory Committee
provides identifies priority technology development areas and establishes
guidelines for project development, cost sharing, and execution.
Mr. Shang Hsiung/FTA
Research and Special Programs Administration
Some work on surface transportation-related environmental topics is conducted
by DOT's competitively selected University Transportation Centers; however,
annually funded research programs carried on by these consortia are not
typically competed. Research priorities are set by the schools involved
based on the needs of the specific regions of the country they serve.
Subcontracts from these centers may or may not be competed to other universities
and research providers. More information on RSPA programs can be obtained
RSPA Office of Research Policy
and Technology Transfer (DRT-1)
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
RSPA Office of University Research
and Education (DUR- 1)
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
MARAD environmental research activities are generally performed in cooperation
with other Federal agencies, particularly the Coast Guard, EPA, the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, the Navy, the Fish and Wildlife Service,
and the Department of State. Ongoing or recently completed interagency
cooperative research efforts include the following projects: Marine engine
air pollution monitoring and control; U.S. implementation of MARPOL 73/78
Annex V (Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships); remediation and
management of contaminated marine sediments; shipboard ballast technologies
and practices for controlling introductions of non- indigenous aquatic
organisms; and environmentally sensitive shipbreaking in the U.S. More
information on these projects can be obtained as follows:
MARAD R&D Coordinator (MAR-820)
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
U.S. Coast Guard
The mission of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental
Protection Program is to protect the public, the environment, and U.S.
economic interests through the prevention and mitigation of marine incidents.
The Coast Guard is also committed to the institution of measures to reduce
its own consumption and production of solid waste and hazardous materials.
The Coast Guard has grant authority authorized under the Oil Pollution
Act of 1990. A series of regional grants to colleges, universities, and
nonprofit research institutions were provided in the mid-1990s; however,
no further grants of this type are anticipated.
The vast majority of future projects will be conducted competitively.
The Coast Guard has established networks with academia, other Federal
and State agencies, industry, and international partners to conduct joint
research and technological information exchange. Requests for information
on upcoming competitive opportunities should be forwarded to the Chief
of the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Staff:
U.S. Coast Guard R&D Chief (G-SIR)
2100 Second Street, SW
Washington, DC 20593
Federal Aviation Administration
FAA provides a safe, secure, and efficient global aviation system that
contributes to national security and the promotion of aviation. As the
leading authority in the international aviation community, FAA is responsive
to the dynamic nature of customer needs, economic conditions, and environmental
concerns. The future aviation system envisions one that is a "good neighbor."
The challenges revolve around issues associated with how this good neighbor
policy is implemented. The FAA's goal is to provide strong leadership
in mitigating aviation's adverse impact on the public consistent with
an effective aviation system. FAA is participating with NASA in a series
of joint noise and emission reduction research initiatives, including
continued implementation of the joint subsonic airplane noise reduction
technology research program and assessment of quiet aircraft technology
for propeller-driven airplanes and rotorcraft. FAA also participates in
the NASA Atmospheric Effects of Aviation Project to develop a scientific
basis for assessment of the impact of aircraft emissions, particularly
on the ozone layer and global climate change. FAA and NASA also began
a cooperative program for the development of engine exhaust emissions
certification standards and procedures for future subsonic turbojet engine
technology. Information on these joint programs and other FAA research
funding opportunitites should be directed to the Director of the Office
of Environment and Energy:
FAA Office of Environment and Energy (AEE-1)
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20590