What is Eco-Logical?

9 Steps Graphic Eco-Logical offers a non-prescriptive approach that enables Local, State, Tribal and Federal partners involved in infrastructure planning, design, review, and construction to work together to make infrastructure projects more sensitive to wildlife and their ecosystems.

The Federal Highways Administration, in partnership with other federal infrastructure development, and resource agencies, developed the Eco-Logical approach in response to Executive Order (EO) 13274, issued in 2002 by then President George W. Bush. The key components of the approach is enhanced cooperation between transportation and regulatory agencies so they can more effectively link transportation system planning with natural and cultural resource concerns. To that end, FHWA developed the Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects report to help guide the implementation of Eco-logical by other agencies.


Since 2008, the Charlottesville Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization and its sister organization the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission have worked to implement the Federal Highway Administration’s Eco-logical approach for transportation planning into the PDC and MPO’s planning and project development activities. Through two rounds of funding assistance, the MPO and PDC have been able to develop and deploy a regionally focused ecological habitat model and strengthen partnerships with State and local resource management agencies. The MPO was also able to integrate the use of the Eco-Logical REF into its performance based planning framework that was used to evaluate projects in the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan.

This site provides information about the Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Ecological Framework Tool and how the MPO used the tool as part of a pilot implementation project that focused on solving congestion problems around the US Route 250 crossing of the Rivanna River, known locally as Free Bridge. The site is broken down into two main sections; a user guide, and documentation and resources used in the Free Bridge Pilot project.