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Julia Badenhope, Landscape Architecture, (515) 294-3007
Tim Borich, Institute for Design Research and Outreach, (515) 294-0220
Marcia Brink, Center for Transportation Research and Education, (515) 294-9480
Heather Sauer, Design communications, (515) 294-9289
Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778


AMES, Iowa -- Two Iowa State University projects were among 12 winners nationwide of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) 2003 Environmental Excellence Awards. The awards were presented April 22 at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. The recipients were selected from among 134 nominations from 38 states.

The biennial awards recognize partners, projects and processes that use FHWA funding sources to go beyond environmental compliance and achieve environmental excellence. Selected projects demonstrate how needed transportation improvements can be made while protecting and enhancing the environment.

Iowa's Living Roadways Community Visioning Program and Iowa's Living Roadways Projects Program were honored in the Livable Communities category. Both are collaborative efforts between ISU's department of landscape architecture, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the nonprofit organization Trees Forever and private-sector landscape architects.

The Aesthetic Initiative Measurement System (AIMS) received the award in the Environmental Research category. AIMS is a joint project of ISU's Institute for Design Research and Outreach (IDRO), department of landscape architecture and Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE); the Minnesota DOT and landscape architect Joan Iverson-Nassauer, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Iowa's Living Roadways Community Visioning Program and Projects Program assist volunteer committees in smaller communities to think creatively and strategically about roadside landscape improvements. The programs focus on aesthetic and environmental enhancements along transportation corridors.

Projects undertaken since 1996 include community entryway beautification, native vegetation plantings in highway public rights-of-way, development and enhancement of recreational trails, protection and establishment of prairie and savanna in public rights-of-way and vegetation management through prairie restoration along transportation corridors. The small-town enhancement projects are located throughout the state and number in the hundreds.

Project contributors from Iowa State include Julia Badenhope, associate professor of landscape architecture; Tim Borich, IDRO associate director; and Tim Keller, professor and chair of the landscape architecture department.

The Aesthetic Initiative Measurement System (AIMS) project was conducted to develop and test instruments and protocols that the Minnesota DOT can use to understand and document how travelers and neighbors perceive the visual quality of Minnesotas highway corridor treatments and landscapes.

Faculty and staff from ISU's IDRO and department of landscape architecture worked with Iverson-Nassauer and members of the Minnesota DOT to develop a method for collecting data and then trained facilitators to use the method with more than 60 Minnesota citizens.

IDRO compiled and analyzed the resulting data and, with CTRE staff, produced a report on the project findings. The report offers useful information to transportation project managers and engineers for implementing context-sensitive design practices.

Project contributors from Iowa State included Borich and Keller, IDRO research associate Nora Ladjahasan and Mark Anderson-Wilk, CTRE. The Minnesota DOT funded the AIMS project through CTRE.


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