Canadian roadways provide for the movement of people, goods and services through rural and urban spaces. The location, design and operation of roads can be highly influential to the character, function and livability of adjacent communities and land uses. In both urban and rural settings roadways have strong linkages with the natural environment. Fish, wildlife, birds, waterbodies, vegetation communities and local air and water quality are affected by roads and vehicular traffic. Roads can alter habitats, increase wildlife mortality, and facilitate the spread of invasive weeds. The concept of “road ecology” is relatively new and its primary focus is on the potential effects of roadways on natural landscapes and processes as an element of sustainable transportation systems.
Previous TAC initiatives have included the development of the Synthesis of Environmental Management Practices for Road Construction, Operations and Maintenance Roadways (2014), the Canadian Guide to Greener Roads (2015) and the Migratory Birds Practices and Operational Guidance Documents (2019). The information presented in those documents offers guidance on achieving environmental protection and compliance objectives for road construction and operations. While the subjects of habitat protection, roadside vegetation management and “holistic landscaping” of rights-of-way are addressed, the information tends to be high level and guidance is oriented to meeting compliance requirements. A current gap in knowledge exists as to where and how these emerging notions and practices have been applied in recent years, how successful they have been, and at what difference in effort and cost from more conventional approaches.
The scope of this project is to address:
Key tasks to accomplish the project objectives will include:
The work will culminate in a synthesis of practices for the management and enhancement of terrestrial roadway ecology.