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FHWA Releases Pilot Tool For Sustainable Highways

The pilot version of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Sustainable Highways Self-Evaluation Tool was recently released and is available for viewing here. The tool is intended to provide a method for practitioners to evaluate their transportation projects and to encourage progress in the sustainability arena. The pilot version represents a significant improvement to the FHWA Beta Tool, which was released last fall.

Prior to and following release of the beta version, PCA submitted formal comments to FHWA regarding various concerns with the tool, especially related to the project requirements for long-life pavement design. Additionally, in December PCA coordinated a meeting with cement and concrete industry representatives to strategize an action plan to address issues with the tool. An independent consultant was also retained by PCA to address the most critical concern under the long-life pavement design requirements.

Through PCA’s efforts, positive changes were incorporated into the recently released pilot version of the FHWA Tool. One major modification was the simplification of credits and scoring. Under the PD-22 Long-Life Pavement Design section, the requirement based on designing to a minimum thickness for asphalt and concrete was eliminated. It also expanded one of the requirements to include specific reference to designing the pavement in accordance with the 1993 AASHTO Design of Pavement Structures manual or the AASHTO MEPDG–1 Mechanistic – Empirical Pavement Design Guide. The elimination of the thickness design graph and inclusion of the MEPDG procedure satisfactorily addressed the primary issues raised by PCA and the cement and concrete industry.

To address a similar concern with the long-life pavement requirements in the Greenroads manual, PCA has submitted formal comments to the developers of Greenroads encouraging them to incorporate similar wording from the FHWA Tool into their document.

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