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11 CHAPTER 2 CONTEXT AND CURRENT STATE OF THE PRACTICE INTRODUCTION Finally, an important beginning point for any research is an understanding of the current state of the practice. This research The past 30 years have been an important era in environ- conducted a national survey of state DOTs, metropolitan plan- mental policy. Federal and state laws passed during this time ning organizations (MPOs), and state environmental agencies provide a more serious and comprehensive consideration of to determine both what is being done to consider environmen- environmental factors in decisions that would clearly affect the tal factors in transportation systems planning and to obtain from environment. Advances in science and technology have allowed transportation and environmental professionals what they think us to understand the often tenuous relationship between the nat- the key issues will be in the future. The third section of this ural and built environments. Science and technology also chapter reports on the results of these surveys. showed great promise in helping reduce the negative environ- mental impacts of human activity, the best transportation exam- ple likely being the improvements in motor vehicle engine LITERATURE REVIEW technology that have continually lowered the tailpipe emissions of new automobiles over time. However, even as such progress Many bodies of literature are important to this research. A is being made, scientists warn about the significance of the con- web-based and library search of the literature was conducted. tinuing loss of habitat, of diversity in these habitats, a declining The material most relevant to this research is described in availability and quality of water, the increasing human con- this section. The literature search was divided into four major sumption of non-renewable natural resources, and the loss of areas--the environment perspective (which includes contri- "community" associated with modern urban form. butions from biology, ecology, and sustainability), context- Chapter 2 provides a context for the research results pre- sensitive solutions, transportation planning, and international sented in the remaining portions of this report. This research practice in environmentally oriented planning and decision project reviewed many different bodies of literature associ- making. The environmental perspective was included in this ated with linking environmental considerations and trans- literature review because it was considered difficult to under- portation planning. This literature is summarized in the first stand how environmental factors could be better integrated section of this chapter. In particular, the research team into systems planning without understanding how the envi- wanted to obtain a better idea of how other countries are ronment should be defined. Thus, those concepts of environ- approaching transportation and environmental planning. mental science that are most conducive to being considered Special attention was given to the European Union, which in systems planning (e.g., the systems-level approach toward has taken more active steps than the United States in foster- ecosystems) were highlighted in the literature search. ing a closer linkage between transportation and environmen- In addition, although a context-sensitive solution (also tal planning. Appendix A, available as NCHRP Web-Only referred to as context-sensitive design) is more appropriately Document 77, provides extensive coverage of the European considered as a project development effort and not one normally Union approach toward environmental assessment. associated with systems planning, many of the characteristics of The legislative and regulatory requirements for better this approach to project design were considered important for linking environmental considerations and transportation the concepts being examined in this research. Thus, both the lit- planning and decision making are an important starting erature search, as well as information gathered from case stud- point for any discussion of what needs to be done and why. ies, included experience with context-sensitive design. The second section of this chapter discusses laws, policies and regulations that provide a legislative framework for Environmental Perspective: Biology, Ecology, environmental stewardship in transportation planning. and Sustainability Appendix B, available as NCHRP Web-Only Document 77, provides an extensive list of state laws that refer to The environmental literature is full of articles and books some link between transportation and environmental that present varying perspectives on the importance of the analysis. environment to society. The literature ranges from biology

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12 (1), which focuses on the important relationship between woods in the area surrounding the city is explained mostly by ecosystems and the built environment, to public health (2, 3), the increasing levels of impervious surface in the region, thus which examines the risks to public health caused by human increasing runoff (12). This changing dynamic also suggests intrusion into the natural environment. The common theme that considering environmental factors in transportation sys- throughout much of this literature is that nature, society, and tems planning necessarily must examine the secondary and technology are related in many complex and interconnected indirect effects of such investment on development patterns ways. As noted by Knox and Marston (4), "humans are not and magnitudes, and thus eventually on the natural environ- separate from nature, but are an integral part of it." ment. Two key ideas emerging from this literature are that the One of the most important themes in the growing literature physical environment should be considered as an ecosystem, on urban environments is the concept of the city as an ecosys- and that ecosystems have a carrying capacity that determines tem (see, for example, 13). As noted by Tjallingii (14) and their ability to sustain life. These concepts are important in expanded upon in Newman and Kenworthy (15), "the city is that they orient environmental planning to the systemic level, conceived as a dynamic and complex ecosystem. This is not where larger environmental impacts are felt. Thus, the con- a metaphor, but a concept of a real city. The social, eco- nections and interrelationships between transportation sys- nomic, and cultural systems cannot escape the rules of abi- tems and natural ecological systems could be important in otic and biotic nature." Based on this concept, policy and transportation systems planning interested in likely environ- planning principles can be developed to guide both govern- mental impacts. This perspective necessarily focuses atten- mental and individual decisions relating to community tion on what characterizes an ecological system. development and urban design. Basic to this approach, how- An ecosystem can be defined as an area where living ever, is the idea that environmental and community concerns organisms interact with each other and with the nonliving (or need to be considered early in community development abiotic) components of their environment. The interdepen- decision-making. dence among the many different components of an ecosys- The concept of sustainability also is an important part of tem is of particular interest in that disruption of this interde- the environmental literature and has been adopted as a design pendence (for example, by removing or reducing wetlands) concept in fields such as architecture (16, 17), city planning could have an important effect on the viability of the entire (1820), and manufacturing (21, 22). Sustainable develop- ecosystem. Much of the literature on ecosystems focuses on ment is now a stated policy objective for many nations (23). the effect of human action on the functioning of ecosystems Sustainability or sustainable development has many mean- as well as with the connection between ecosystems and ings. Perhaps the most appropriate definition for this research broader environmental health concerns (5). The reader is project comes from Roseland (24) in which sustainable referred to several authors for excellent overviews of the development is defined as the "economic and social change evolving study of ecosystems (see, for example, 68). to improve human well-being while reducing the need for The concept of carrying capacity is linked very closely to environmental protection." Inherent in this definition is a the viability of ecosystems. The carrying capacity of an proactive approach to progress that considers environmental ecosystem reflects the ability of an ecosystem to be "dis- impacts and social equity issues very early in community turbed" while still carrying out its basic natural functions. As decision-making. noted by White (9), the "ecological footprint" of a city is In the last decade, several existing organizations have had based on "the pattern of consumption, aggregated into a sin- their responsibilities expanded and several new organiza- gle measure of the land required to support various activities, tions have been created to address issues of sustainable such as food and transport requirements, energy use, landfill development. In the United States, such agencies included requirements, and so on." Perhaps the best example of this the Environmental Protection Agency, which took on new literature is found in Wilson (10), which states that "the responsibilities and the Department of Energy, which created appropriation of productive land--the ecological footprint-- the Center for Excellence for Sustainable Development. In is already too large for the planet to sustain, and it's growing addition, some states have adopted or are considering poli- larger." At the global scale, studies of what it takes to sup- cies to promote sustainability in transportation planning and port the economic functioning of developed countries have project development. For example, the Maine Sensible concluded that "we need more than three `planet Earths' to Transportation Policy Act of 1992 ensured that transporta- support the current world population at a level of consump- tion decisions, including the commitment of funding, were to tion typically found in rich countries." (11) be made based on a transportation policy founded on sus- Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between human activ- tainable principles. ity and ecosystem stability. This figure shows the changing Table 1 shows some of the important principles or pre- characteristics of vegetation in Aiken, South Carolina, as the cepts that several authors have identified as essential to sus- city "footprint" expanded over the past 100 years. The tainability. Note that many of these principles are likely to be change from primarily pine savanna to mixed pine hard- important to the concept being examined in this research. For

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13 Figure 1. Impact of urbanization on an urban ecology, Aiken, SC. Source: Wilds and White, 2001 (12). example, those particularly relevant include (1) defining and (27), "engineering designs are now expected to result in avoiding environmentally sensitive areas, (2) using system products or management plans whose use or implementation design and management to balance societal needs and those will not endanger important ecological conditions and of the natural environment, (3) designing with nature, (4) processes." However, only recently has serious examination using investment to enhance ecological health not just to been given to how nature and society can be improved avoid further damage, and (5) relying on interdisciplinary through design and engineering (see, for example, 28). skills to address fully the wide range of issues. Better integration of environmental and community consid- erations into transportation engineering design is not new. In fact, some of the earliest professional manuals on urban high- Context-Sensitive Design/Solutions way design stressed the importance of such considerations when designing and constructing a highway in an urban envi- Engineers have been considering environmental impacts ronment. In practice, though, such guidance was considered in project development for many years. As noted in Schulze secondary to the primary function of the road--providing fast

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14 TABLE 1 Important principles for sustainability From Eco-Cites to Living Machines, Toward Sustainable Eco-City Dimensions, Healthy Principles of Ecological Design (25) Communities (26) Communities, Healthy Planet (24) The living world is the matrix for all Bring into harmony human and Base planning units on natural design. natural systems on a sustainable boundaries. basis. Design should follow, not oppose Design with nature. the laws of life. Balance long-term societal and natural system needs through Consider global and cumulative effects. Biological equity must determine system design and management. design. Encourage inter-jurisdictional decision Rediscover/emphasize resource making. Design must reflect bioregionality. conservation. Ensure consultation and facilitate Projects should be based on Halt diminution of biodiversity. cooperation and partnering. renewable energy sources. Embrace an eco-centric ethic. Initiate long-term monitoring, feedback, Design should be sustainable and adaptation of plans. through the integration of living Develop new mechanisms and systems. institutions that balance the needs Adopt an interdisciplinary approach to of human and natural systems. information. Design should be co-evolutionary with the natural world. Adopt a precautionary but positive Adopt regional planning based on approach to development that aims not Building and design should help to sustainability principles. just to avoid further damage but also to heal the planet. reduce stresses and enhance the integrity of ecosystems and Design should follow ecology. communities. Ensure that land use planning integrates (rather than merely "balances") environmental, social, and economic objectives. Link ecosystem planning with other aspects of democratic change, social learning, community building, and environmental enlightenment. and reliable movement of vehicles. Increasingly, transportation collaboratively with many different stakeholders, each of professionals have been criticized for this perceived preference whom has a different perspective on what the project should to accommodating the motor vehicle at the expense of other be and how it might affect the surrounding natural and com- design goals. Many transportation agencies have been respond- munity environment. As noted in a recent NCHRP report, ing by closely reexamining their standard approaches to urban "CSD recognizes that a highway or road itself, by the way it highway design, and by incorporating more flexibility into both is integrated within the community, can have far-reaching the physical design of the road and the adjacent roadside. effects (positive and negative) beyond its traffic or trans- One of the more important developments in transportation portation function. The term CSD refers to as much an project development over the past 10 years has been the move- approach as it does to an actual outcome" (30). ment toward a transportation project design approach that is One of the seminal events in CSD/CSS as it has evolved both environmentally sensitive and reflective of a community's in the transportation field occurred in 1998 when the Mary- desires. For example FHWA, AASHTO, the Bicycle Federa- land State Highway Administration sponsored a national tion of America, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, workshop entitled, Thinking Beyond the Pavement, which and Scenic America produced a design guide in 1998 entitled promoted a nontraditional approach to highway design (31). Flexibility in Highway Design that encouraged highway The participant-defined vision for this new design included designers to consider environmental and community concerns the qualities outlined below (as reported in 30). early in project development (29). The movement toward more A vision for excellence in transportation design includes environmental and community-sensitive project development the following qualities: was known originally as context-sensitive design (CSD), although the term now generally accepted for this approach to The project satisfies the purpose and needs as agreed to project development is context sensitive solutions (CSS). by a full range of stakeholders. This agreement is forged Context-sensitive solutions can be defined as when a in the earliest phase of the project and amended as war- transportation project is developed from the very beginning ranted as the project develops.

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15 The project is a safe facility both for the user and the Transportation Planning and the Environment community. The project is in harmony with the community and pre- A recent TRB study, whose purpose was to define a serves environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic, and transportation-environmental strategic research program, natural resource values of the area. identified six areas of needed research (32). These areas The project exceeds the expectations of both designers included: human health, ecology and natural systems, envi- and stakeholders and achieves a level of excellence in ronmental and social justice, emerging technologies, land people's minds. use, and planning and performance measures. As noted in The project involves efficient and effective use of that section of the report devoted to planning, "the methods resources (time, budget, community) of all involved and tools used by engineering and environmental profes- parties. sionals for integrating environmental considerations into The project is designed and built with minimal disrup- various aspects of transportation decision-making are quite tion to the community. rudimentary, having originated in the major highway con- The project is seen as having added lasting value to the struction era of the 1950s and 1960s." community. In fact, the strong relationship between the construction and operation of the transportation system and the resulting A vision of the process that would yield excellence effects on the natural environment have led to various includes the following characteristics: approaches for considering environmental issues in trans- portation planning. One of the first major research efforts on Communicate with all stakeholders in a manner that is this topic, sponsored by the National Cooperative Highway open, honest, early, and continuous. Research Program, culminated in NCHRP Report 156, Tailor highway development to the circumstances. Transportation Decision-Making, A Guide to Social and Employ a process that examines multiple alternatives Environmental Considerations (33). The three major find- and that will result in consensus on approaches. ings of this research were that Establish a multi-disciplinary team early, with disci- plines based on the needs of the specific project, and 1. The overall process through which social, economic, include the public. and environmental considerations are brought into Seek to understand the landscape, the community, and transportation planning and decision-making is as valued resources before beginning engineering important as the particular techniques used for predict- design. ing effects. Involve a full range of stakeholders with transportation 2. Issues of social equity must be explicitly recognized officials in the scoping phase. Clearly define the pur- and taken into account in transportation decision- poses of the project and forge consensus on the scope making. before proceeding. 3. Different groups of people can be expected to have dif- Tailor public involvement to the project. Include infor- ferent interests and different priorities. mal meetings. Use a full range of tools for communication about proj- This report was one of the first to note the "disconnect" ect alternatives (e.g., visualization). between the level of data analysis and impact prediction that Secure commitment to the process from top agency offi- occurred during project development and that which was cials and local leaders. undertaken during system planning. This was primarily due to the longer time horizon for transportation systems plan- As seen in this vision statement, early consideration of ning (and, therefore, the greater uncertainty associated with environmental issues, problem definitions, and identification the predictions of effects), the spatial nature of the types of of environmentally sensitive alternatives are basic points of effects that are often spread over large expanses of a metro- departure for CSS. Involving individuals representing a politan area, the complex analysis challenge of determining range of disciplinary skills and including substantive public system effects that can occur indirectly over time or geogra- involvement throughout the process are also key characteris- phy, and the localized characteristics of some impact cate- tics of a CSS process. As noted in NCHRP Report 480: A gories (such as noise) that might not be available when Guide to Best Practices for Achieving Context-Sensitive systems planning occurs. Solutions, "CSD/CSS means involving social, economic, and Although many articles and books have developed "new" environmental considerations as a meaningful part of the approaches to transportation systems planning, very few solutions-generating process, not as additional or after-the- have specifically examined the role that environmental con- fact steps." A process for considering environmental issues siderations should play in this process, other than as part of during transportation systems planning probably will have evaluation. European literature, which will be examined in very similar characteristics. more detail in the following section, has devoted more atten-

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16 tion to this issue (see, for example, 34, 35). But even in this International Practice literature, the primary attention given to environmental fac- tors is a discourse of how transportation systems affect the The consideration of environmental factors has been a natural and built environment, with a recommendation that common characteristic of much infrastructure planning in such issues should be more closely linked. Very little atten- other countries. In particular, the concepts of strategic envi- tion has been given to how such links should occur and what ronmental assessment (SEA), sustainable transportation techniques could be used in analysis and evaluation. planning, and environmental management systems are One of the most recent books on transportation systems important approaches that relate environmental factors to planning begins the process of thinking about how such systems-level planning for transportation and other civil connections should be accomplished (36). This book views infrastructure. transportation as one system that relates to, and is part of, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)--SEA is many other systems. This perspective leads to important considering potential environmental effects early in the planning questions reflecting the interaction among trans- strategic investment decision-making process. Strategic, portation and other systems that help an urban area func- rather than project-level, decisions are those that concern tion, as well as between transportation and higher-level policies, plans, and programs. SEA is applied to earlier and systems, such as ecological or economic systems. In par- higher levels of decision-making where opportunities to ticular, transportation system effects on the ecosystem are avoid and mitigate potential environmental impacts can have highlighted as an important emerging issue in transporta- greater dividends in time saved and/or improved project tion planning. The links between the construction, opera- characteristics. tion, and maintenance of transportation facilities and the Conducting environmental impact assessments at all natural environment must often be considered from the decision-making levels (policy, plan/program, and project) broader perspective of the spatial and temporal links that began seriously in Europe in the 1970s. In 1973, the European characterize such processes. Commission's (EC's) first environmental action program This book also examines the difference between what emphasized the importance of a comprehensive environmen- was referred to as a "traditional planning process" and a tal assessment of all plans to prevent environmental damage. process that is concerned with sustainability. Table 2 shows In 1996, after a long development period, the EC adopted the the key differences between the two. Some of the key dif- SEA proposal, Proposal for the Assessment of the Effects of ferences that are relevant to this research are the importance Certain Plans and Programs on the Environment. The SEA of ecology and systems theory for understanding the scale proposal addressed the deficiencies in existing approaches for of effects; the focus of technical analysis on the relationship evaluating and documenting environmental impacts and between the transportation system and ecosystems, land established the minimum requirements for ensuring a proper use, economic development, and social health; the use of environmental assessment at strategic decision-making levels societal costs to assess the value of environmental assets (37). To date, SEAs have been performed for various sectors, that are degraded or lost due to system development; and such as transportation, other civil infrastructure, energy, and the importance of issues relating to biodiversity and eco- land use. These SEAs have been performed at various appli- nomic development. cation levels, including regional, national, and international As noted by the authors, the characteristics of planning contexts. The European experience with SEA is arguably oriented toward sustainable development clearly will evolve the most significant and advanced in the world, and thus can to reflect new understandings of the relationships between provide useful precedents, methodologies, and lessons the human and natural environments. However, the planning learned to the United States. The Organization for Economic characteristics shown in Table 2 are significant because those Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines for who practice a more traditional approach to transportation conducting an environmentally sustainable transportation planning have a very different mindset than those interested study are shown in Table 3. in viewing transportation planning more broadly. The basic The practical experience with SEA, which has been grow- scientific foundation for the two approaches is different, thus ing steadily since the mid-1990s, can be found in most of the leading to the use of tools and techniques for analyzing envi- member states of the European Union (EU). SEA is already ronmental impacts that vary significantly. The types of an official part of planning procedures within some coun- strategies that result from both planning processes and the tries, and is practiced even in the absence of legislation. A type of information that is produced to inform such decisions recent report by the EC, Strategic Environmental Assessment will also be very different. in the Transport Sector: An Overview of Legislation and The challenge for a future characterized by increasing Practice in EU Member States (38), provides a comprehen- environmental challenges could very well be in building a sive assessment of current transportation-related SEAs in the bridge between traditional planning, as practiced by almost European Union. A survey was conducted of two groups of every transportation agency in the United States, to planning countries, those that have legal requirements for SEA for that more seriously considers environmental impact. transport policies, plans, and programs, and those that have

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17 TABLE 2 Traditional transportation planning process compared to process oriented toward sustainable development Characteristic Traditional Process Process Oriented toward Sustainable Development Scale Regional and network level Local, state, national, and global perspective Traffic flow theory Ecology Underlying "Science" Network analysis Systems theory Travel behavior Efficient use/management of existing infrastructure Accommodate travel demand Provide transportation capacity where appropriate (from ecology Focus of perspective) Planning and Promote economic development Investment Enhance system safety Redevelopment of development sites Catch up to sprawl Reduce demand for single-occupant vehicles Reduce material consumption and throughput Promote new development on new land Promote reuse and infill development Government Economic Focus economic policy on productivity Fully integrate economic policy with environmental policy Policies Do not include secondary and cumulative Include secondary and cumulative impacts as part of policy impacts in policy analysis decision analysis 1520 years planning Short (14 years) Timeframe 48 years for decision-maker interest Medium (412 years) (elections) Long (12 --- years) Trip-making and system characteristics Focus of between origins and destinations Relationships between transportation, ecosystem, land use, Technical economic development, and community social health Analysis Air-quality conformity Secondary and cumulative impacts Benefits defined in economic terms Travel substitution and more options Promote individual mobility Benign technology Role of Meet government-mandated performance Technology thresholds to minimize negative impacts Total life-cycle perspective to determine true costs Improve system operations More efficient use of existing system Integral part of solutions set for providing mobility and sustainable Considered as a given based on zoning community development Land Use that accommodates autos Infrastructure funding tied to sound land use planning Separated from transportation planning Increased density and preservation of open space/natural resources Subsidies to transportation users Societal cost pricing including environmental cost accounting Pricing True "costs" to society not reflected in price to travel Value, that is, transportation priced as utility Congestion Mobility and accessibility Global warming and greenhouse gases Environmental impact at macroscale Biodiversity and economic development Types of Issues Economic development Community quality of life Little concern for secondary/cumulative Energy consumption impacts Social equity Social equity (increasingly) Maintenance of existing system System expansion/safety Traffic calming and urban design Efficiency improvements Multimodal/intermodal Types of Traffic management Strategies Transportationland use integration Demand management (from perspective of system operating more smoothly) Demand management (from perspective of reducing demand)/nonmotorized transportation Intelligent transportation systems Education Source: Characteristics for process oriented toward sustainable development synthesized from Newman and Kenworthy, 1999 (15), Maser, 1997 (19), and Haq, 1997 (35).

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18 TABLE 3 OECD environmentally sustainable transport (EST) guidelines GUIDELINE DESCRIPTION Develop a long-term vision of a desirable transport future that is sustainable for environment and Guideline 1. health and provides the benefits of mobility and access. Assess long-term transportation trends, considering all aspects of transport, their health and Guideline 2. environmental impacts, and the economic and social implications of continuing with business as usual. Define health and environmental quality objectives based on health and environmental criteria, Guideline 3. standards, and sustainability requirements. Set quantified sector-specific targets derived from the environmental and health-quality objectives, Guideline 4. and set target dates or milestones. Identify strategies to achieve EST and combinations of measures to ensure technological Guideline 5. enhancement and changes in transport activities. Assess the social and economic implications of the vision, and ensure that they are consistent Guideline 6. with social and economic sustainability. Construct packages of measures and instruments for meeting the milestones and targets of EST. Highlight `winwin' strategies incorporating, in particular, technology policy, infrastructure Guideline 7. investment, pricing, transport demand and traffic management, improvement of public transport, and encouragement of walking and cycling; capturing synergies (e.g., those contributing to improved road safety), and avoiding counteracting effects among instruments. Develop an implementation plan that involves well-phased application of packages of instruments capable of achieving EST taking into account local, regional, and national circumstances. Set a Guideline 8. clear timetable and assign responsibilities for implementation. Assess whether proposed policies, plans, and programs contribute to or counteract EST in transport and associated sectors using tools such as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). Set provisions for monitoring implementation and for public reporting on the EST strategy; use Guideline 9. consistent, well-defined sustainable transport indicators to communicate the results; ensure follow-up action to adapt the strategy according to inputs received and new scientific evidence. Build broad support and cooperation for implementing EST; involve concerned parties, ensure their active support and commitment, and enable broad public participation; raise public Guideline 10. awareness and provide education programs. Ensure that all actions are consistent with global responsibility for sustainable development. Source: OECD, 2000 (40). practical experience with SEA in the transport sector, but no From a legislative perspective, the EC has adopted COM legal requirements. The report found that the existence of 511 (41), the directive on the assessment of plans and pro- legislation promotes consistency and greater influence in grams on the environment. In 1999, this directive was further SEA application. In addition to the benefits of early detection defined to extend existing, project-level environmental and mitigation of environmental effects, SEA was found to assessment approaches to the planning and programming provide a more efficient approach to both policy develop- level (42). The directive requires early consideration of envi- ment and implementation. The report also identified some ronmental impacts in decision making, which, in essence, is obstacles in the successful implementation of SEAs, such as SEA. The directive pertains to a range of public plans and pro- lack of expertise and lack of institutional collaboration. grams in areas such as transport, energy, waste, water, indus- Another recent EC publication on transport SEAs is try, tourism, telecommunications, town and country planning, Strategic Environmental Assessment of Transport Corri- and land use. The EC's Case Studies in Strategic Environ- dors: Lessons Learned Comparing the Methods of Five mental Assessment (43) provides an overview of the status of Member States (39). This study analyzed five SEAs of multi- SEA legislation in the EU member states and includes three modal transport corridors, and found that an SEA can be case studies in which SEA principles were integrated into more effective if initiated at the earliest stages of planning. existing decision-making procedures at the strategic level. The report demonstrates that SEAs are feasible for transport In broader work on SEA, a 2001 report by the EC (44) corridor assessment, and that flexibility is important for examines the benefits, challenges, and methods for integrat- adoption. It concludes that SEAs are vital in the effort to pro- ing environment factors into decisions concerning plans, mote multimodal approaches and optimize the combination policies, and programs. A collection of SEAs is studied in of infrastructure and noninfrastructure solutions. Partidrio and Clark (45), with a focus on the use of SEA to

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19 promote sustainability. Therivel and Partidrio (46) analyze needed to provide sufficient incentive to carry out an the strengths and challenges of SEA, and detail case studies SEA and promote accountability. of SEA from around the world. Partidrio (47) reviews prac- tical approaches for SEA efforts and identifies key issues The EU's experience with SEA points to the importance raised by practitioners. Therivel (48) examines several exist- of legislation in elevating environmental consideration to the ing and then-emerging SEA systems in European countries. systems level of planning and the subsequent effect of Numerous guidebooks have been developed that outline the environment as a criterion in identifying and selecting the principles, processes, and methods that could be tailored plan alternatives. Guidelines for the application of SEA are to different applications (49). A large portion of SEA litera- included in Appendix A, which is contained in NCHRP ture provides useful guiding principles and frameworks for Web-Only Document 77. the application of SEAs, along with specific methodologies. Sustainable Transportation Planning--Although sus- A report by the EC (50) provides detailed guidance and tainability was discussed in an earlier section, sustainable methods for SEA for transport infrastructure plans. This transportation planning has received such attention in the report examines principles and processes of SEA, such as international literature that it is important to describe levels of planning (network, corridor, and project), steps to those aspects of the literature that relate to this topic. conduct an SEA, and methods of impact assessment for the The United Nations World Commission on Environment transport sector. An earlier publication by the EC (51) set out and Development defines sustainable development as methods to incorporate environmental issues into the defini- "development that meets the needs of present without com- tion and preparation of regional plans and programming doc- promising the ability of future generations to meet their own uments in the context of the EU's structural funds process. needs." (52) A sustainable process or condition is one that The key factors identified for a successful SEA in all of can be maintained indefinitely without progressive diminu- these guidance materials include the following: tion of valued qualities inside or outside the system in which the process operates or the condition prevails. (53) Legislative Support--The most successful SEA gener- A review of the international literature indicated that ally occurs where there is a legal obligation requiring its Canada, the Baltic Region, New Zealand, the City of San performance. Francisco, and the UK are noted for their work to incorporate Transparency--SEA needs to be a clear process that sustainability in long-range transportation planning. OECD allows environmental considerations to be highlighted. and the World Bank also are noted for integrating sustain- Early Consideration--Successful SEAs have been at ability and systems-level planning (54). the start, rather than the end, of a process of integration and may serve as a catalyst for developing further guid- In Canada, Transport Canada (as well as several other ance and training. organizations, e.g., Environment Canada, National Alternative Options versus Option Alternatives--A Round Table of the Environment and the Economy, successful SEA assesses the effects of alternative Ontario Round Table on Environment and Economy, options rather than option alternatives. Transportation Association of Canada and Victoria Pol- Public Participation--Widespread involvement of icy Institute) is involved in the development of perfor- stakeholders, policymakers, and the wider public is cru- mance measures for systems-level decision making. In cial for a successful SEA. response to a legislative requirement, Transport Canada Open Communication--A successful SEA is an active, outlined its Sustainable Development Strategy in 1997, participatory, and educational process for all parties, in setting the direction for integrating environmental con- which stakeholders are able to influence the decision cerns with safety and efficiency in developing policies maker, and the decision maker is able to raise aware- and programs and carrying out its day-to-day operations ness of the strategic dimensions of the policy, plan, or (55). Two years later, Transport Canada adopted a Sus- program. tainable Development Action Plan (SDAP), which out- Information Accessibility--A successful SEA involves lined eight sustainability challenges that articulate the the wide use and dissemination of baseline and assess- agency's sustainable development goals. In partnership ment information. with other agencies and various stakeholders, Transport High-Quality Assessment--A successful SEA depends Canada is presently involved in developing perfor- on high quality and rigorous application of assessment mance measures, collecting data, and developing analy- methodologies, whether qualitative, quantitative, or both. sis tools to monitor and advance its progress toward Systematic Process--An SEA needs to be a systematic sustainability (56). process involving different institutions in a common Baltic 21 is a multicountry process of regional coopera- reporting framework. tion and environmental improvement involving coun- Independent Review--An independent body that can tries bordering the Baltic Sea. The effort focuses review or audit the assessment process and content is on seven sectors of crucial importance in the region:

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20 agriculture, energy, fisheries, forestry, industry, tour- The OECD has developed a framework of indicators for ism, and transportation. Sustainable transportation indi- integrating environmental concerns into transportation cators have been developed as part of the monitoring policies. The OECD model has been adopted by most effort toward meeting the objectives of sustainability members of the European Union, and by some interna- set out in the Baltic 21 agreement. The proposed set of tional organizations that deal with environmental indicators is based on outcome-oriented indicators information, as the most appropriate way to structure linked to specific goals. environmental information. Details on the OECD model In June 1999, the New Zealand Ministry of the Envi- are presented in the Appendix A, which is available as ronment published Proposals for Indicators of the Envi- NCHRP Web-Only Document 77. Table 4 lists the sus- ronmental Effects of Transport. The main purpose of the tainability indicators related to transportation policies. document was to provide the basis for agreement on the In 1996, the City of San Francisco developed a sustain- use of a core set of indicators to measure the environ- ability plan with transportation as one of 15 major ele- mental effects of transportation decisions. The proposal ments given priority. The city identified seven major identified the following factors as major components of transportation and land-use goals and developed a set of a framework for performance assessment: root causes of four transportation indicators to monitor progress toward transport activity; indirect pressures; direct pressures, these goals. An extensive community consultation, and state or effects indicators. which involved 400 volunteers, was used in developing TABLE 4 OECD's framework of sustainability indicators Environmentally Significant Trends by Sector 1. Overall Traffic Growth and Mode Split 2. Infrastructure Passenger traffic trends by mode (private cars, buses Capital expenditure, total and by mode and coaches, railways, air) in passenger-kms Freight traffic trends in vehicle-kms/road traffic trends in 3. Vehicles and Mobile Equipment vehicle-kms Number of road vehicles (autos, commercial vehicles): Trends of airport traffic, number of movements total, gasoline, diesel, others Trends in tonnage handling in national harbors Environmental Impact 1. Resource Use 4. Noise Total final energy consumption of the transport sector Population exposed to noise greater than i65 dB(A) from (share in total, per capita, by mode) in tonnes of oil transport equivalent 5. Waste 2. Air Pollution Tonnage of transport-related waste Transport emissions (CO2, NOx, VOC, CO, etc) share in Tonnage of hazardous waste imported or exported total, per capita, by mode) Emissions per vehicle-km: CO2, NOx, VOC, CO, etc. 6. Risk and Safety Number of people killed or injured 3. Water Pollution Tonne-kms of hazardous materials transported Tonnage of oil released through accidents and dis- charges during current operations Economic Considerations 1. Environmental Damage 3. Taxation and Subsidies Environmental pollution damage relating to transport Direct subsidies Direct and indirect subsidies 2. Environmental Expenditure Total economic subsidies Total expenditures on pollution prevention/clean-up Relative taxation of vehicles and vehicle use Research and development expenditures on quiet, clean, energy-efficient vehicles 4. Price Structure Research and development expenditures on clean trans- Trends in gasoline (leaded, unleaded), diesel, and other port fuels fuel prices and public transport prices in real terms 5. Trade and Environment Indicator not yet developed Source: Transport Canada, 1999 (55).

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21 the plan. The plan formulation was dependent on work decisions and taking action. The International Standards done for the European Union's Agenda 21 Implementa- Organization's (ISO) 14001 standard for an EMS consists of tion Plan. five main elements: The Department of the Environment, Transport, and Regions of the United Kingdom has developed indica- Environmental Policy--Establishes overall policy related tors of sustainable development grouped around 21 to laws and regulations for continuous improvement of main issues, one of which is transportation. Following environmental quality, requiring the attainment of targets the June 1992 commitment made at the Earth Summit in and objectives with a periodic audit of the EMS. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1994 the U.K. government Planning--Addresses all environmental aspects of an published its Strategy for Sustainable Development. organization's activities, operations, products and ser- One of the commitments made at the Earth Summit was vices that affect the environment--based on establish- the development of a set of indicators that would help to ment of objectives, targets and time schedule for meeting assess whether the country's development was becom- targets, consistent with policy. ing more sustainable, and also whether U.K. govern- Implementation and Operation--Monitors and mea- ment was meeting its objectives as set out in the sures environmental performance and assesses progress Sustainable Development Strategy. in achieving environmental objectives and targets. The World Bank, the world's largest source of eco- Checking and Corrective Action--Addresses noncon- nomic development assistance, maintains a large infor- formance and provides preventive and corrective action. mation base that includes environmental, economic, Management Review--Assesses the suitability, ade- demographic, and other information, and has an exten- quacy, and effectiveness of EMS over time and sive range of activities involving the development of addresses needed changes to all elements of the system. indicators for sustainability. Examples of these are the Environmental Performance Indicator Project, which For transportation agencies, an EMS would relate closely discusses indicator frameworks, selection criteria for to the activities undertaken in planning, programming, proj- environmental project indicators and issues to consider ect development, operations, and maintenance for any mode for various areas; the Indicators-on-the-Web Project, of transportation. In particular, it would most likely interface which provides managers with ideas for environmental closely with other management systems that are already in performance indicators at the project and national lev- place in many transportation organizations, such as those els; and, the Development Goals Project, which aims to relating to pavement management, bridge management, con- develop a set of indicators to measure progress toward gestion management, safety management, maintenance and sustainable development. construction management, and project tracking. One of the best sources for information concerning the International experience with strategic environmental potential application of EMS procedures in transportation assessment (SEA) and sustainable transportation planning agencies is found in the Environmental Information Man- indicates that environmental considerations in transportation agement and Decision Support System--Implementation planning are being elevated to the national agenda increas- Handbook (58). This report comes from an NCHRP project ingly. At least two important messages emerge from these that was initiated to respond to the need of state transporta- international experiences: (1) the passage of relevant legis- tion agencies and metropolitan planning organizations for lation is an enabler for effective consideration of the envi- systems to manage environmental information and to support ronment in planning and (2) development of performance decision making. The project objective was to develop a con- measures lends more credibility to the entire process of cept and implementation approach for an Environmental considering the environment in planning. Hence, the EU Information Management and Decision Support System agencies with more effective SEAs have adopted legisla- (EIM & DSS) that addresses all levels of decision making-- tion to validate and support these assessments. Several planning, programming, project development, operations, countries that have adopted sustainability goals have begun and maintenance--for all modes of transportation. This initiatives to develop ways to measure their progress implementation handbook describes the EIM & DSS concept toward these goals. Although both initiatives are still and provides guidance to state DOTs and MPOs on develop- relatively new, as they evolve they will continue to offer ing and implementing such systems. pertinent lessons for others in incorporating environmental This NCHRP project concluded from interviews with state factors earlier in planning. DOT officials that an EMS that is ISO 14001 compliant is Environmental Management Systems--An environ- not sufficient to meet their decision-making needs. However, mental management system (EMS) is a framework for con- the value gained from the ISO 14001 EMS concept was con- tinuously improving measurable environmental outcomes sidered to be in its focus on explicitly creating environmen- that result from decisions made by agencies (56). Outcomes tal policies, objectives, and targets, and measuring the effects are defined as the results, effects, or consequences of making of decisions on these objectives and targets.