Case Studies - Other States

Oregon - Integrating NEPA and Statewide Transportation Planning Pilot

Under the Integrating NEPA and Statewide Transportation Planning Pilot, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is moving the first tier of a tiered NEPA process into the planning process. The first tier, called a Location Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), addresses the location of a proposed facility at the corridor level and addresses the modal question. The first tier includes stakeholder involvement and NEPA approvals to purchase ROW where necessary to protect the corridor. Approval to move to final design is acquire later through a second tier document, called a Design EIS, prepared during the project development phase. Using this approach, ODOT will have the information needed to make sound project decisions. Decisions will then be linked to commitments that can protect corridors prior to funding and implementation. ODOT believes that total project delivery time will be shortened and land use patterns will be developed that are more compatible with proposed facilities.

Source: "Integration of Context Sensitive Solutions in the Transportation Planning Process." The Center for Transportation and the Environment, North Carolina State University, July 2006.

Minnesota - "Hear Every Voice" Public Involvement Process

In 1997, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) set up a Public Involvement Task Force for the purpose of developing guidance for planners and program managers on designing and implementing public involvement that results in decisions that meet the needs of the public. MnDOT and local practitioners have always included public involvement in their project development; however, surveys revealed that the public believes public involvement is done too late or after decisions have already been made. In order to involve the public in the Task Force, market research was conducted in areas around the state. Persons identified to serve on these focus groups were selected at random and were asked to provide input on how MnDOT could improve the effectiveness of its current public involvement/participation techniques and strategies.

Focus group respondents said that they:

  • Are more likely to get involved in causes where they can make a difference.
  • Are more interested in getting involved in projects that impact their personal situations.
  • Have had to limit their involvement due to time commitments of careers and family.
  • Derive a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from their involvement experiences.
  • Have an obligation to give something back to their communities.

The Task Force developed a new guide called "Hear Every Voice - a Guide to Transportation Decision Making at Mn/DOT" to help Mn/DOT planners and project managers make public-minded transportation decisions while also considering available funds, environmental issues and local needs. In order to achieve the objectives of the Guide, public involvement must be done early and continually.

Source: "Integration of Context Sensitive Solutions in the Transportation Planning Process." The Center for Transportation and the Environment, North Carolina State University, July 2006.

Florida DOT's Efficient Transportation Decision Making (ETDM) Process

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), FHWA, And all of the federal and state resource agencies with which FDOT works, have joined in a cooperative effort to completely redesign the planning, permitting, and project review process to more efficiently and effectively time and incorporate environmental data, project review, and the technical assistance that resource agencies can provide. The resulting Efficient Transportation Decision Making process (ETDM) links land use, transportation, and environmental resource planning and facilitates early and interactive involvement to produce better and more consensual environmental outcomes. Through electronic data sharing and comment entry, maps can be viewed and comments filed and read by others on-line at various stages in the process. As a result, FDOT expects more efficient and effective environmental stewardship, along with considerable reductions in delays, project changes, and challenges associated with project development, permitting, and consultation. The process is expected to improve the quality of decisions and environmental investments.

Source: "Integration of Context Sensitive Solutions in the Transportation Planning Process." The Center for Transportation and the Environment, North Carolina State University, July 2006.

Envision Utah

Envision Utah, in collaboration with Utah DOT, Wasatch Front Regional Council and Mountainland Association of Governments, is engaged in Wasatch Choices 2040, a four county land use and transportation visioning process. Local elected officials and citizens will be extensively engaged throughout this process. This will involve assessment of various development scenarios in an attempt to reach consensus on a shared regional vision. Growth principles developed through this process will guide the long range transportation plans of the two MPOs. Envision Utah's general process involves Inventory, Scenario Development, Quality Growth Strategy and Implementation, all of which include values of research, surveys, workshops, presentations and community design workshops.

Source: "Integration of Context Sensitive Solutions in the Transportation Planning Process." The Center for Transportation and the Environment, North Carolina State University, July 2006.

Virginia UnJAM 2025

In Virginia, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission's (TJPCD) United Jefferson Area Mobility Plan (UnJAM 2025) combines the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Transportation (CHART) Plan for the MPO area with the Rural Area Transportation Long-Range Plan for the five-county planning district. Public engagement efforts started with brainstorming policies and projects, then identified and prioritized regional transportation needs. Development scenarios were created, data was provided on costs, benefits and impacts, and a preferred scenario selected to coordinate transportation and land use plans. UnJAM 2025 is in many ways an extension of TJPDC's earlier work with CorPlan - a community-scaled planning model developed with TCSP funds.

Source: "Integration of Context Sensitive Solutions in the Transportation Planning Process." The Center for Transportation and the Environment, North Carolina State University, July 2006.

Indiana DOT

Indiana DOT has Streamlined Environmental Procedures, under which major planning corridor studies are initiated as EAs rather than just planning studies, thus engaging resource agencies in the development of purpose and need and the screening of preliminary alternatives. If the project involves significant impacts, a Notice of Intent to develop an EIS is issued. EIS project development then begins where EA project development ended.

Source: Indiana's Seamless Transportation Decision-Making Process. Success in Stewardship, September 2001. FHWA monthly newsletter.

Texas I-69/Trans-Texas

Interstate 69 (I-69) will someday stretch from Canada to Mexico. Of its 1,600 miles, 1,000 miles of this transportation corridor will run from border to border in Texas. To address the complexity of the I-69 project, TxDOT and FHWA collaborated to an unprecedented degree with other Federal, State, and local agencies. To facilitate the direction of the project, they created a Steering Committee, which includes the executives of the Federal and State transportation and resource agencies. They also created a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which includes TxDOT, FHWA, all State and Federal resource agencies, and the affected Metropolitan Planning Agencies. One of the most important functions of the TAC is to review project deliverables, such as required environmental documentation, at key junctures in the project and make recommendations to the Steering Committee. Gaining input from all participating agencies during the early stages of the project development and NEPA documentation processes will save valuable time and eliminate the need to revisit certain issues at later stages. The TAC/Steering Committee began meeting in late 2001 and early 2002 to formulate an overall approach to the project process. In September 2003, after many months of hard work and coordination, the Committee produced what would become the key to streamlining the I-69/Trans-Texas Corridor project, the I-69/Trans Texas NEPA and Project Development Process Manual (Process Manual). The Process Manual, reviewed and approved by the TAC, provides guidance for each step of the project development process, including how to effectively manage working relationships among many agencies.

Although established by the TAC/ Steering Committee as the defining guidance for project development, the Process Manual emphasizes that collaboration will not infringe upon any agency's individual jurisdictional responsibilities. It makes clear that the process requires some degree of flexibility, and will evolve as the project moves forward. All participants, through meetings of the TAC, will agree on any future revisions to the framework. Setting the collaborative context from the outset, the Process Manual opens with the partnering agreement, signed by all members of the TAC, which sets forth the goal of initiating a "new way of doing business" and streamlining the I-69/Trans-Texas Corridor project development process. The agreement describes the vision, mission, and values that guide project development, and defines the group's objective: meeting the project's purpose and need, minimizing the negative impacts of the proposed action, and protecting and enhancing the human and natural environment.

Source: Texas' I-69/Trans-Texas Manual: By the Book. Success in Stewardship, March 2004. FHWA monthly newsletter.

New Jersey FIT Program

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), in partnership with the Office of Smart Growth (OSG) and other state agencies, is working in new ways and on new fronts with counties, municipalities, and other stakeholders to re-invest in New Jersey's communities. This effort is known as NJFIT: Future In Transportation. NJFIT is a comprehensive and cooperative approach to transportation and land use planning. By working with community planners, jobs, services, goods, and people are kept within reach of every New Jersey citizen.