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22 ple, many of these agencies jointly fund the development and would at least result in the production of more useful historic maintenance of cultural resource inventory databases contexts when these documents were created. (including databases using GIS) housed within SHPOs. The HPST is more problematic. It is clear that it will not be used without direction and approval from upper manage- ment within agencies. The HPST use will also require some HPST changes in the existing evaluation processes used by most states. In addition, all reviewers made it clear that they did URS recommends two options for implementing the HPST: not want to do more work. Therefore, unless agencies were willing to replace one or more existing evaluation and report- · HPST Option 1: Voluntary Implementation. This ing requirements with the HPST, historic preservation pro- option involves (1) advertising the tool nationally and fessionals are not likely to use this tool. highlighting the utility of this tool, (2) sending HPST Most reviewers, nevertheless, felt that the HPST met the CDs to all DOTs and SHPOs and making the CD avail- intended objectives, but that more work would be required to able to CRM consultants, and (3) making the HPST refine its features and integrate it into current SHPO and DOT source code available on CD to anyone who wants to processes. Unlike ECREL, which can and should be imple- use all or part of the tool in his or her own system. mented centrally, the HPST would have to be implemented NCHRP could distribute these CDs in the same man- individually within each SHPO, DOT, and consultant offices, ner in which NCHRP reports are currently distributed with specific requirements for each organization. For exam- nationwide (e.g., on-line ordering). The availability of ple, many reviewers wanted the HPST linked to their GIS; these CDs could be advertised at national historic however, since each GIS may be organized differently, the preservation and transportation conferences. HPST would have to be customized for each customer. · HPST Option 2: Pilot Program. This program involves The HPST and ECREL were not created to increase the the participation of a small number of states (involving workload of state and federal agency staff. Rather, these both the SHPO and DOT of each state) to fully imple- tools should provide consistency--in terms of the format, ment the HPST. States would input existing historic presentation, and content of evaluation documents--that is contexts in the HPST and use the tool in actual project- sorely lacking in current documentation. These tools will related National Register evaluations. If possible, this also decrease development and review time for eligibility option would also include the creation of a new historic evaluations as the documentation levels needed for effective context from scratch using the HPST. It is also recom- decision making are made explicit and readily accessible, elim- mended that ECREL be integrated into this pilot pro- inating extraneous materials often inserted into current doc- gram, as the two tools can be used together (e.g., search- uments. The HPST, in particular, would replace currently ing ECREL for appropriate historic contexts and then used evaluation report formats, forms, and correspondence, placing the contexts into the HPST program). and the majority of decision-making efforts would be docu- Funding is needed to pay for an organization to direct mented and captured in a single format. Also, historic con- and implement the program and to fund SHPO and DOT texts that are developed in the HPST will be no more time staff participation in the pilot program. The latter task is consuming (and may be less time consuming) to create than important because SHPO and DOT staffs are having the current method of compiling information using word pro- great difficulty meeting their current agency responsi- cessing software. The use of the HPST for context develop- bilities. Adding another responsibility would only be pos- ment also increases the likelihood that the resulting historic sible through the funding of additional staff. States will context will actually contain the information and guidance needed to evaluate National Register eligibility. also need programming support and training for the dura- If development and testing of these IT tools is to continue, tion of the pilot program. The results of the pilot pro- state DOTs, SHPOs, organizations such as TRB's Historic gram would be shared and advertised nationwide to his- and Archaeological Preservation in Transportation Commit- toric preservation and transportation professionals. tee (ADC50), and AASHTO will hopefully provide leader- Funding approaches for this option would be similar ship to secure funding to support additional prototype testing to those discussed above for ECREL. and refinement. As the February 2004 Santa Fe, New Mex- ico, "Working Conference on Historic Preservation and Trans- CONCLUSIONS portation: Enhancing and Streamlining Compliance with Sec- tion 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act" illustrated, As noted in the previous chapter, the responses to ECREL federal and state agencies clearly want to move away from a were uniformly positive. Most reviewers felt that ECREL project-by-project approach to embrace new processes that would benefit all historic preservation professionals. Though emphasize examination of issues at a preplanning phase of ECREL would not in itself result in an increase in the devel- project development. Tools such as ECREL and the HPST opment of historic contexts, reviewers noted that the tool would greatly assist in supporting preproject planning efforts.
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23 As this study concluded, these tools have been shown to tional leadership to implement. The authors also believe that function extremely well and seem to represent two of the a pilot implementation program will show the many benefits most innovative historic property-based IT tools yet devel- of these tools and should be seriously considered for future oped to achieve environmental streamlining. national implementation. Long-term implementation has the The beneficiaries of this paradigm shift--primarily state greatest potential for success through adoption of a national DOTs and SHPOs--are in the best position to encourage fed- initiative, such as the FHWA's environmental streamlining eral agencies such as the FHWA or nonfederal organizations program. Encouraging agencies to use standardized tools such as AASHTO or the NCHRP to consider funding a pilot such as ECREL and the HPST would most successfully be implementation program for continued prototype testing and achieved through a combination of requirements and financial refinement. Selected state DOTs and SHPOs should consider incentives implemented through a national MOU. (This participating in the prototype testing effort. (According to MOU might be modeled on the MOU signed on December comments received in this study, those states might include, 14, 2001, by 23 state agencies in support of the Efficient but not be limited to, California, Florida, Maryland, Min- Transportation Decision Making system.) Implementation nesota, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.) and ongoing system maintenance, as well as provision for The authors of this report have come to realize that imped- staff training at state DOT and SHPO offices, could be sup- iments that prevent these products from becoming useful ported through multiyear cost-sharing agreements among tools are institutional, not technological, and will take institu- multiple federal agencies and states.