The effect of roads and highways on natural systems is defined geographically as the road effect zone (REZ). This term was coined by Dr. Richard Forman (founder of the field of road ecology) and is integral to how road ecology is expressed in planning and impact assessment. The zone of impact varies in types and degree of impact, based on distance from the roadway, environmental conditions, and traffic intensity. We use GIS tools to model components of the REZ, such as traffic noise, to confirm our predictions in the field. We are developing GIS tool for anyone in transportation planning and analysis to use to define the REZ so that proposed mitigation can be matched more accurately to the impacts. We are continuing field investigations of nitrogen, noise, and wildlife aspects of the REZ.
Contact us for more information about the REZ and how to measure it.