What is Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL)?

PEL is a study process approach that is typically used to identify transportation issues, along with environmental concerns, in a corridor or a specific location.  It is generally conducted before any project construction phasing is identified, and before specific problems and solutions are known. 

PEL studies can be used to make planning decisions and for planning analysis.  These decisions and analyses, for example, can be used to identify and prioritize future projects, develop the purpose and need for a project, determine project size or length, and/or develop and refine a range of alternatives. 

The PEL process can be useful to discover needs and desires when a corridor crosses multiple jurisdictions, and can be used as a prioritization tool.  For example, a PEL study for a corridor could result in identification of multiple potential projects (i.e., capacity improvements for a portion of a corridor, and intersection improvements).  Those can then be prioritized for implementation.

PEL studies should be able to link planning to environmental issues and result in useful information that can be carried forward into the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.  The adoption and use of a PEL study in the NEPA process is subject to determination by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Click here for more information about CDOT’s Planning and Environmental Linkages Program.