The National Academies

NCHRP 14-47 [Active]

Tools and Technology for Roadside Landscape Asset Management

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: Christopher T. McKenney
Research Agency: Davey Resource Group, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Cheryl Daniels
Effective Date: 11/14/2022
Completion Date: 11/14/2024



The rights-of-way of the national highway system includes an estimated 3.4 million acres of unpaved land as the interface between highways and natural and human landscapes. There are unexplored opportunities to include roadside landscape in highway asset management, including the application of geospatial information, data collection tools and technology, and data management systems. By having a system to plan roadside projects, tracking completion, and documenting results over time, an increased understanding of the evolving processes of roadside vegetation growth and resulting maintenance treatments could result in improved life-cycle management practices and increased system resiliency.


Because roadside management integrates many topics, including safety, ecosystem services, social equity, sustainability, and climate resiliency, there are overlapping research efforts and interests from different sectors of the transportation community. Research on roadside management has been and currently is being conducted around the United States, and many state departments of transportation (DOTs) have developed and published management practices on this topic. Identification and implementation of beneficial practices is an ongoing challenge for DOTs and relevant stakeholders. Asset based vegetation management practices developed for transmission power line corridors may also provide insights helpful for management of roadside landscape assets.


Concerns over impacts to endangered species, pollinator declines, roadside fires, climate change, invasive species, and other pressures on native ecosystems are intensifying the focus on inventory and assessment of roadside landscape assets. At the same time, rapid developments in mapping and data analysis technologies and new tools and innovative data management systems offer new opportunities to understand and manage these assets. NCHRP Research Report 903: Geotechnical Asset Management for Transportation Agencies provides an example of the type of tools and methods that would be useful to develop for roadside landscape assets.  


Research is needed to provide up-to-date tools and technologies for roadside landscape assets that can be used in a performance-based management system.




The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook for the use of performance-based management strategies for highway roadside landscape asset management. The guidebook should cover the tools and technology currently available for planning and decision-making, including estimation and benefits optimization, and enhancing maintenance operations efficiency and effectiveness.


Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.




Task 1. Conduct a literature review including both national and international sources, which should include peer-reviewed material and grey literature. This literature review is intended to aid in developing case studies for Task 2. The review will cover but not be limited to the following topics:

·      Types and definitions of roadside landscape assets used in existing systems for asset inventory.

·      How roadside landscape assets are currently integrated with existing inventory systems.

Task 2. Develop four to eight representative case studies of public and private entities that document and synthesize examples from different geographic regions of the United States as well as  DOTs with different organizational structures, levels of maturity of the asset management process, and performance perspectives.

Task 3. Prepare a detailed work plan to develop a guidebook to implement roadside landscape asset management.


Task 4. Submit a technical memorandum documenting the findings of Tasks 1 - 3 with a summary of practices for roadside landscape asset management for review by the NCHRP.  Present the technical memorandum at a meeting with the NCHRP project panel. The technical memorandum should include:


·      The framework that integrates roadside landscape asset management practices with established transportation asset management practices.


·      A taxonomy and definition of roadside landscape assets with recommendations on standard data collection procedures, analytical tools, and maintenance operations logistics.


·      A detailed work plan to develop a guidebook for transportation agencies to implement roadside landscape asset management.


Task 5. Prepare a draft guidebook that includes the framework of roadside landscape asset management, which addresses the implementation of asset management objectives and measures, inventory and condition, performance gap identification, maintenance operations logistics, cost tracking, roadside landscape asset management/maintenance planning, and life cycle performance. These findings should be presented in a format easily accessible to the design, construction, and maintenance communities.

Task 6. Submit an interim report. The report shall document the outcomes of Task 4 and be presented at a meeting with the NCHRP project panel.


Task 7. Prepare the final guidebook and the conduct of research report.


Task 8. Submit final deliverables including the guidebook, a conduct of research report documenting the project activities, project results implementation plan, and a slide-based (PowerPoint) presentation with speaker notes.


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