The National Academies

NCHRP 14-47 [Anticipated]

Tools and Technology for Roadside Landscape Asset Management

  Project Data
Source: AASHTO Committee on Maintenance
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: Christopher T. McKenney
Fiscal Year: 2022

This project has been tentatively selected and a project statement (request for proposals) is expected to be available on this website. The problem statement below will be the starting point for a panel of experts to develop the project statement.

The design, construction and ongoing maintenance of linear roadside landscapes is one of the most complex and least understood aspects of highway system asset management. It is one of the most critical and unexplored opportunities is the application of geographic information systems, data recording tools, and data management systems in the management of roadside landscape assets. There are an estimated 1,000,000 acres of unpaved land within the nation’s state and federal highway systems, which can be referred to as the natural infrastructure, supporting our built systems and blending these systems into the surrounding landscape. By planning work and tracking accomplishment and results in a geographic inventory system over time, we can better understand and explain the continuously evolving process of roadside vegetation growth and maintenance treatment.

This project would bring together and build on several key pieces of recent national study and would support the integrated research strategies of the TRB Standing Committees focused on Roadside Maintenance Operations (AKR20), and Landscape and Environmental Design (AKD50). This effort would leverage technology and digital media to create a national model for roadside asset management, and establish a recommended foundation for sustainable state DOT program development. It would serve as the basis for an ongoing dialogue and discussion with regard to health and resilience of our nation’s roadsides, and facilitate our national quest to create the most integrated, locally adapted, sustainable roadside landscapes.

The objective underlying this entire proposal is the establishment of an organized and ongoing national dialogue regarding best practices for highway roadside asset management and the project’s design would be to engage the states in implementing recommendations by establishing an ongoing discussion forum for state and local transportation organizations to best manage roadside landscapes. This research would be documented into a series of webinars highlighting the project and progress throughout.

A primary objective is for discovery and analysis of information on roadside asset management tools currently used by the various states. This survey and analysis would show the current state of the art with regard to design, construction, and maintenance practices for roadsides. The other objective will result in an ongoing dialogue and communication network on the topic of roadside asset management. This will facilitate the development of tools and techniques to be customized and applied within the context of the various state and local governments.

Because the topic of roadside management extends to the subject areas of ecology, social equity, sustainability, and climate change, there are many overlapping research efforts and interest from a number of other transportation research committees. It is important to note that many state departments of transportation have developed and published best management practices on this subject and comparative analysis of recent individual state approaches would be advantageous. One of the outcomes of this project would be an appendix of all relevant research and local case study data for reference.

Urgency has increased in recent years with emerging concerns over endangered species impacts, pollinator decline, increased roadside fire starts, climate change, and increasing invasive species pressures on our native ecosystems. It is also heighten by the rapid developments in mapping and data analysis technology, and the application of previously unavailable tools and innovative data management systems.


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