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Assessing and Managing the Ecological Impacts of Paved Roads
spective has resulted in the need for various levels of planning with increasingly finer levels of study to develop the most environmentally sensitive transportation system. The ways in which laws and regulations influence environmental assessment and policies regarding roads are similar to the ways they influence other land uses (Haeuber and Hobbs 2001). The lack of assessments at larger scales is due, in part, to a lack of an overview of multiple decisions and assessments at smaller spatial and temporal scales. This gap may be addressed in a cumulative impact assessment but is rarely done in practice. Hence, regional scale or larger assessments on ecological issues, such as species movements, large habitats, and aquifer, tend to be ignored by assessment at smaller scales.
Key Elements of the Planning Process
Coordination and Collaboration
Coordination and collaboration are required so that transportation agencies can provide the opportunity for input at all phases of planning and project development. Historically, resource agencies have had limited resources for input early in the planning process. This problem has been alleviated in some states where the transportation agencies are providing funding for resource agency personnel (see later discussion on Florida and Pennsylvania). Involvement of all parties early in the process helps to identify environmental factors in transportation plans and provides the groundwork for resolving issues early in the process.
Stakeholders and Decision Making
Transportation is a critical component of our country’s economy. Therefore, all segments of the population have a stake in transportation planning, and public-involvement programs of transportation agencies have expanded. The agencies are receiving input from diverse stakeholders representing many public and private interests. The environmental community has been active in transportation planning for several decades. The environmental resource agencies also are devoting greater resources to transportation planning and project development.
Stakeholder involvement in examining ecological impacts of roads has had some success. For example, incorporating stakeholder knowl-