An Ecological Approach to Integrating Conservation and Highway Planning Vol. 2

Lisa Gaines

This report is intended to help transportation and environmental professionals apply ecological principles early in the planning and programming process of highway capacity improvements to inform later environmental reviews and permitting. The report introduces the Integrated Ecological Framework (IEF), a nine-step process for use in early stages of highway planning when there are greater opportunities for avoiding or minimizing potential environmental impacts and for planning future mitigation strategies. 

It does not address environmental mitigation and permitting actions required by current law or regulation. The report provides technical background on cumulative effects assessment, ecological accounting strategies, ecosystems services, and partnership strategies, along with a summary of the available ecological tools that are most applicable to this type of work. The appendices document three pilot projects that tested the approach during the research.

NatureServe Author(s)


  • Institute for Natural Resources, NatureServe, Parametrix, and CH2M Hill. 2010. SHRP 2 Final Report C06 (B): Development of an Ecological Assessment Process and Credits System for Enhancements to Highway Capacity. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.