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103 transportation planning, project development, and projects on the environmental factor at issue, and often regulatory approval; and supporting environmental staff review of the agency's Establishing an interagency issue resolution projects. Many states (e.g., Pennsylvania, New Jersey, process with appropriate timeliness for comple- Maryland, and California) have agreed to fund environ- tion. mental resource agency staff for their efforts at project The agencies have agreed to share and develop review. resources to support their objectives, including the use For example, Caltrans signed a memorandum of of shared training and interagency staff rotational agreement with the state's Department of Fish and assignments, as well as the development and deploy- Game in 1990 concerning expedited review of trans- ment of a GIS and data to facilitate the analysis of the portation projects. The intent of this agreement was "to environmental impacts of proposed planning and proj- (1) foster the early consideration of biological impacts ect alternatives. One of the issues raised by the resource in transportation systems planning, (2) provide continu- agencies is the lack of sufficient data to support project- ous coordination and early consultation between the level decisions and to consider environmental conse- transportation agencies and the resource protection quences in the early stages of planning. agencies, (3) replace valuable habitat unavoidably lost Defining Benefit--Changing organizational procedures through the creation of high-quality habitat before in, and approaches to, transportation planning and proj- impact, and (4) exercise creativity within an atmosphere ect development could require significant changes in of mutual respect." (98) Figure 22 shows the typical the attitudes and mindsets of agency staff. Convincing types of actions that resource and transportation agen- environmental resource agencies to change their stan- cies agree to in such arrangements. dard procedures and approaches similarly require such Appendix D, which is contained in NCHRP changes. The case studies indicated that one of the nec- Web-Only Document 77, presents an example of a mem- essary first steps in bringing about such change is orandum of understanding among transportation and clearly articulating what benefits will occur when a new environmental resource agencies in Minnesota. approach is adopted. All participants, especially when the process relates to a regulatory procedure, must per- ceive the benefits. Some of the benefits of early consid- eration of environmental factors include FUTURE RESEARCH Increased opportunities to avoid adverse impacts to natural resources; In many ways, this research project suggests a rethinking The opportunity to provide "in place" and func- of the way systems planning is conducted in the United tioning compensation and eliminate the lag time States. At the very least, it suggests a different mindset between loss and replacement of resource values; among most transportation planners and engineers of how The opportunity to integrate the mitigation into environmental factors should be considered during planning. regional environmental goals and preservation It also focuses attention on the types of environmental issues objectives; that are likely to be faced in the future, and the types of exper- The establishment of more efficient and effective tise that will be necessary if these issues are to be dealt with monitoring and evaluation procedures; in a serious way. The ability to provide the greatest resource benefit The ability of transportation agencies to adapt to a new for the expenditure of mitigation funds; approach toward planning will, to a large extent, depend on Swift utilization of the diminishing opportunities their understanding of the importance of the issues and on for habitat conservation and preservation; and how system planning can best incorporate these concerns The reduction in the potential for delays in project from a process and technical point of view. The following approval due to mitigation concurrence and permit proposed research topics are designed to get the transporta- processing (98). tion profession to this point. Partnership Benefits--Environmental resource agen- Understanding the systems effects of ecosystems, cies often hesitate to participate in a process where envi- human development, and transportation investment. ronmental factors are considered early in system plan- Scientists have been focusing on ecosystem health for many ning. Primarily, this hesitation is caused by a concern decades and are just now beginning to understand many of that such early participation could be construed as the complexities that characterize ecosystem health. Some approval of a project long before some of the specific attention has been given to the negative impacts of human impacts are known. State transportation agencies that activity on ecosystems, although most of this research has have successfully formed partnerships with their respec- been at the macro level (e.g., number of wetlands and wet- tive resource agencies have done so by promising to land functionality lost). Very little attention has been given consider seriously the likely effect of transportation to the relationship between ecosystem health and transporta-

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104 The Resource Agencies Agree to: Commit or redirect staff and resources to accomplish early planning and coordination goals; Assist Caltrans in evaluating impacts of future transportation improvement projects during the early planning stages and respond to requests for information, recommendations, and coordination in a timely manner; Identify the natural resources of concern within the area of potential impact and recommend measures to avoid, or minimize and compensate, impacts to natural resources; Explore all appropriate mitigation and enhancement options consistent with the policies and guidelines of the agencies; Assist in developing mitigation proposals that take into account the extent of the project impacts, the effected habitat values, benefits to the ecosystem, cost effectiveness and opportunities for coordinating with other conservation efforts; and Consider application of excess compensation for future projects and permit "banking" when an appropriate opportunity exists. Caltrans and FHWA Agree to: Pursue a policy of proactive consideration of environmental issues and concerns in which the sequencing principles of avoidance, minimization, and compensation are applied to natural resources; Incorporate all feasible and practical features of project design which avoid and minimize adverse project impacts before employing compensation measures; Where mitigation is required, achieve on-site and in-kind compensation whenever feasible and recommended by resource agencies; Implement compensation in advance of project impacts whenever feasible and appropriate; Explore opportunities for natural resource enhancement during project development; Keep all agencies updated on planning and project development activities; Provide for monitoring and periodic evaluation to determine if modifications are necessary to ensure that project compensation measures meet the overall planned mitigation goal and permit requirements; In addition, Caltrans agrees to provide for the sustained maintenance and operation of the compensation sites and habitat values sufficient to offset the unavoidable losses; and To the extent that such activities are not part of regularly funded planning assistance and review, fund on a reimbursable basis as needed and mutually agreeable, the resource agencies to provide technical assistance, technical studies, and expedited review as part of early mitigation planning. Figure 22. Principles of Agreement in a Memorandum of Understanding between Caltrans and the state's Department of Fish and Game. Source: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), 1990 (97).

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105 tion investment. Such research would examine the basic sci- health of the state or region. This could entail the use of satel- ence involved with this relationship and develop methods lite imagery, environmental sensors, biological indicators, and tools that can be used to investigate ways of reducing and community quality-of-life measures. Mn/DOT's move- the influence of transportation-induced disruptions. This ment toward environmental indicators as part of its family of research would have to be truly multidisciplinary to bring the performance measures is indicative of the types of direction scientists that are knowledgeable about ecosystems together that DOTs and MPOs might take. with engineers and planners who understand the construction Developing environmental resource protection/conser- and operational characteristics of transportation system vation plans. Such plans are not new to environmental pro- performance. fessionals, but they are new to transportation officials. This Understanding the political, social, and land-use con- research project would examine the process used to develop texts for transportation planning, and how they influence such plans and answer questions such as the following: What the opportunities for, and constraints on, considering are the goals of such studies? Who is involved? What are the environmental factors during systems planning. This typical results? What have been the factors of success and research has identified several cases where initial steps have failure? What are the data needs? How do the results relate been taken to integrate community planning, infrastructure to transportation systems planning? Given the principles of provision, and environmental assessment. In many cases, ecosystem management that have come to the fore in envi- these planning activities have evolved in separate institu- ronmental policy, the transportation community needs to tional constructs, and it is only through the intervention of know more about what these types of studies mean to trans- community activists, political leadership, or legislative man- portation systems planning. date that such integration has been attempted. Research is Developing performance measures to track progress needed to better understand the different social and political toward environmental goals. Various experiences with sus- contexts that foster such coordinated planning and those that tainable transportation planning, both in this country and serve as a hindrance. internationally, suggest that performance measurement and Developing tools for integrated environmental/trans- public reporting are critical components of demonstrating portation systems planning. Although the survey of MPO agency accountability and credible progress toward environ- officials indicated that the inadequacy of analysis tools for mental goals. Although a comprehensive set of performance addressing environmental problems at the systems level was measures and indicators may not have been identified by any not considered a serious constraint, it is likely that these offi- particular agency, several agencies (including ODOT, cials did not have the integrated concept proposed in this WSDOT, PennDOT and Eugene/Lane COG) have under- research in mind. It is very clear from this research that one taken programmatic initiatives on performance measurement of the prerequisites for getting mutually beneficial participa- and reporting. The research will examine the linkages between tion from the environmental and transportation communities environmental goals/objectives and measures/indicators of in systems planning is to have an analysis capability that pro- performance, appropriate scopes of measures for tracking vides important indications of potential problems. This was how well agencies are achieving predefined goals, the need shown in Florida to be one of the key determinants for envi- for a dynamic set of measures to reflect changing emphases ronmental resource agency participation. Although GIS on various environmental issues, and best practices of per- capabilities are important points of departure for identifying formance measurement for considering the environment in sensitive environmental areas, additional analysis tools and transportation planning. methods are needed to develop a level of comfort at the sys- Assessing organizational strategies for environmental tems level that the decisions being made are done so with stewardship. Except for NYSDOT, few transportation agen- good information. cies have examined all of their activities from the point of Investigating the use of monitoring and surveillance view of environmental stewardship. This research project technologies. The sensitivity of ecosystem health to disrup- would develop guidelines on how an organization could con- tion is often so fragile that minor changes in conditions can duct such an analysis (different for the ISO 14001 approach). have significant negative impacts. If environmental quality is All of the organizational activities would be examined and an important planning concern, then systems planning should strategies developed to foster greater consideration of envi- include the continuous monitoring of the environmental ronmental factors in all aspects of an agency's daily functions.