The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Issues and methods for transdisciplinary planning of combined wildlife and pedestrian highway crossings

TitleIssues and methods for transdisciplinary planning of combined wildlife and pedestrian highway crossings
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAhern J, Jennings L, Fenstermacher B, Warren P, Charney N, Jackson SD, Mullin J, Kotval Z, Breña SF, Civjan SA, Carr E
JournalTransportation Research Record
Start Page129
KeywordsFeasibility studies, Highway crossings, Innovative solutions, Inter-disciplinary studies, Landscape architecture, Landscape fragmentation, Massachusetts, Pedestrian crossing, Pedestrian movement, Peri-urban areas, Public officials, Public participation

Highways are increasingly understood as barriers to wildlife and pedestrian movement and as significant causes of landscape fragmentation—especially in suburban and periurban areas. FHWA's Transportation, Community, and System Preservation (TCSP) Program encourages innovative solutions to reduce the impact of highways on the communities they link and traverse. This paper is based on research and public participation as part of an FHWA-TCSP sponsored feasibility study for a combined wildlife and pedestrian crossing to mitigate highway impacts on wildlife and recreation, and on the communities of Concord and Lincoln, Massachusetts. The interdisciplinary study team included representatives from landscape architecture, urban planning, wildlife biology, civil engineering, and landscape history. The study included diverse public participation and collaboration throughout the project. The paper defines significant planning issues likely to pertain to similar projects and offers a transdisciplinary method for conducting planning or feasibility studies for combined wildlife-pedestrian crossings. The method is innovative for its interdisciplinary integration and its inclusion of public officials, nongovernmental representatives, citizens, and other stakeholders. The study is being considered for further research and possible implementation by FHWA with support from the host communities and a private conservation organization.