program (TIP). TIP is a fiscally balanced, itemized list of all federal and regionally important state-funded transportation projects planned for the metropolitan area usually covering 2 years. Federal transportation agencies, such as FHWA and Federal Transit Administration, require that all projects using federal funds come from an adopted transportation improvement program. Transportation and conservation planning at the state level should be integrated. Further development of a first-level screening assessment (rapid assessment) should be conducted for use early in the planning process. To streamline environmental assessments, two steps are needed: (1) more spatial and temporal environmental data should be gathered, and (2) a set of models must be developed for using those data in assessments to address concerns dealing with scale, feedbacks, and mixed criteria for environmental protection. Transportation agencies have an opportunity to be information brokers and to foster planning forums that integrate environmental planning and assessment across governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, stakeholders, and the public. This chapter describes the new and emerging technologies that could be used to improve the practices. It also describes some conceptual approaches to achieve better integration of social and ecological objectives and to assess environmental concerns of road projects.
Ecological systems cover wide ranges of spatial and temporal scales. The complexity and cross-scale interactions in ecological systems generates problems for assessment and planning. Multiple assessments must be developed, each at different spatial and temporal scales to address key ecosystem processes and structures. Ecological concerns should be included early in the assessment and planning processes. Although great progress has been made in understanding and mitigating effects of roads, much more is needed. The development of a broader set of robust ecological indicators and learning-based institutions will help facilitate assessment and planning. Better integration of the social institutions will likely require the development of new relationships among existing institutions. Transportation agencies have an opportunity to play a key role in interconnecting and integrating planning and management of environmental issues. New types of institutions are needed to address the mix of socioeconomic and ecological concerns.