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E – 1579 Alternative Uses of Highway Right of Way

Intended Audience: civil, highway, and electrical engineers interested in the possibility of installing renewable energy in highway right of ways



What are the implications of and considerations for implementing alternative uses of highway right of ways?

Aiming to increase renewable energy production, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and state and local transportation agencies have recently expressed a growing interest in installing decentralized renewable energy technologies on spaces not traditionally considered for electricity generation.

From a highway ROW perspective, however, there are considerable economic, ecological, legal, and political uncertainties related to whether accommodating renewable energy technologies and alternative fuel facilities is an acceptable highway land management practice.

Developed by Dr. Rossow, this course describes concerns and requirements for siting and implementing renewable energy projects in highway right of ways (ROWs). In particular, it discusses the implications and feasibility of implementing renewable energy and fuel options in the ROW.

This online engineering PDH course is based on the report, “Alternative Uses of Highway Right‐of‐Way,” prepared by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration at the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center for the FHA Office of Real Estate Services in 2012.

Learning Objectives

At the successful conclusion of this course, you’ll be able to identify and discuss:

  • Height and set-back requirements
  • Site access for construction, operations, and maintenance
  • Proximity to electrical interconnection and transmission lines
  • Minimum site acreage and slope
  • Minimum site acreage
  • High visibility to public
  • Availability of natural resource to be used
  • Proximity to aircraft navigation systems
  • Regional climate and soil type for biocrop growth
  • Wildlife concerns
  • Case studies

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