Click for next page ( 25


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 24
24 California--The California Environmental Quality Oregon--Oregon has 19 state planning goals of which Act (CEQA) is one of the most influential state envi- transportation is one element. These planning goals ronmental laws in the United States. Regional trans- include guidance to "protect and enhance the environ- portation plans (RTPs) and any subsequent revisions, ment, promote energy conservation, and improve qual- amendments, or updates to the plan must be in compli- ity of life." ance with the law, and the regional planning agency Pennsylvania--In January 1999, the governor issued must prepare and certify an environmental document Executive Order 1999-1 requiring all Commonwealth before adopting an updated plan. A program or master agencies to identify laws, regulations, practices, and environmental impact report (EIR) is typically prepared policies that advance the Commonwealth's land-use for the RTP. An EIR must be prepared if the proposed objectives. Furthermore, Acts 67 and 68, signed into action will have a significant effect on the environment. law in 2000, amended the municipal planning code to In the EIR, consideration of alternatives that would allow multimunicipality planning for the first time. All avoid or reduce significant environmental effects is counties are required to have a comprehensive land-use required. A negative declaration or mitigated negative plan under the new regulations. State agencies are declaration may be prepared if no significant environ- allowed to consider municipality and county plans as mental impacts are identified, or if all identified poten- well as zoning when they make decisions to permit and tially significant effects will be mitigated below the fund projects. level of significance. The CEQA environmental docu- Washington--Transportation planning in Washington ment must address specific issues, the number and must comply with the State Environmental Policy Act scope of which are determined by the potential environ- (SEPA). As part of this compliance, state transportation mental impacts. plans are required to identify and document potential Georgia--Title 32 (32-2-3) of the Georgia Code affected environmental resources. The plans are exempt requires the Department of Transportation to develop a from the requirement for an environmental impact comprehensive, statewide 20-year transportation plan statement (EIS). However, actions to implement the that must include "the total environment of the commu- plan(s) are subject to further, detailed analysis under nity and region including land use, state and regional SEPA. Also, the 2001 Washington State Legislature development goals and decisions, population, travel passed the Environmental Permit Streamlining Act, patterns, ecology, pollution effects, esthetics, safety, which established the Transportation Permit Efficiency and social community values." and Accountability Committee. Although the commit- Maine--Maine's Sensible Transportation Policy Act tee's primary aim is to develop permit-streamlining (STPA) sets the framework for Maine DOT's planning processes, the law requires the committee to work with- and programming. The STPA resulted from a 1991 in the structure of existing environmental laws and citizen-initiated referendum that mandated public par- regulations. ticipation in transportation decisions. It requires the Wisconsin--Wisconsin DOT is required to complete a analysis of alternatives before major highway invest- System-Plan Environmental Evaluation (SEE) as per ments are made. Wisconsin Administrative Rule TRANS 400, which Maryland--The Maryland Smart Growth and Neigh- implements the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act as borhood Conservation Act and Executive Order became it relates to DOT planning activities. The rule has been effective in 1997. This initiative directs growth to areas applied to several statewide modal plans, resulting in a where it is most environmentally suitable while protect- systems-level environmental evaluation. ing some of the state's most ecologically and environ- mentally valuable landscapes. It calls for transportation SURVEY OF DOTS, MPOS, AND STATE investments that satisfy current and projected travel ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE AGENCIES demands while supporting smarter growth patterns. Maryland's Transportation Performance Act, passed in To gain a better understanding of the current state-of-the- May 2000, requires the Maryland DOT to apply perfor- practice in linking environmental factors and transportation mance measurements to the Maryland Transportation planning, web-based surveys were administered to state Plan and the state's Consolidated Transportation Pro- DOTs, MPOs, and state environmental resource agencies. gram or capital improvement program. Although respondent-specific questions were incorporated Minnesota--As per Minnesota state statutes (Chapter into each survey, similar questions allowed for comparisons 174.01, Subdivision 2 [1994]), one of Minnesota's 14 on key topics. (The survey instruments are found in Appen- transportation goals is "to ensure that the planning and dix C, which is contained in NCHRP Web-Only Document implementation of all modes of transportation are con- 77). Some surveys were pretested by state transportation sistent with the environment and energy goals of the planning officials, and the feedback from these pretests was state." incorporated into the final survey instrument. An electronic

OCR for page 24
25 mailing was sent to 685 survey respondents to request their years in the future. Most state respondents thought that envi- participation in the web-based survey. Those not responding ronmental factors were somewhat important for both the last to this initial effort were contacted through a second elec- update as well as for the future update of the plan. For MPOs, tronic mailing, which was followed with telephone calls to most responses fell into the "more important" category. identified respondents who still had not completed the survey. Generally, there also seemed to be a consensus that incor- The survey was sent to 51 members of the American Asso- porating environmental factors earlier in planning leads to ciation of State Highway and Transportation Officials better decisions and shortens the time for project implemen- (AASHTO) who represented each state DOT and Washing- tation. Several DOTs were able to identify specific examples ton, D.C.; 340 members of the Association of Metropolitan where incorporating environmental factors earlier in plan- Planning Organizations (AMPO); and 293 members of envi- ning had resulted in tangible benefits. ronmental resource associations--the State and Territorial The 12 areas detailed below summarize the major results Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA), the Asso- of the survey effort. A more detailed summary of the key ciation of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO) findings, as well as detailed reports from the three surveys, and the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS). A total are included in Appendix C, which is contained in NCHRP of 42 responses were received from the state DOTs (82% Web-Only Document 77. response rate); 45 responses from MPOs (13% response rate); and 13 responses from environmental resource agen- 1. The most considered environmental factors in current cies (4% response rate). transportation planning are air quality, land use, socio- Although special efforts were made to obtain responses economic considerations, and environmental justice. from environmental resource agencies, the response rate was quite low. The study team found that many resource agency DOTs considered air quality to be the most important officials had not considered how to better integrate environ- factor in the most recent plan update as well as likely mental considerations into transportation systems planning being the most important factor in the update of the plan and, in many cases, did not know what the system planning 10 years hence. MPOs considered land use to be the process was. Therefore, these respondents felt there was lit- most important factor both in the most recent plan and tle they could offer to the survey. in the pending 10-year update of the plan. Environmen- While the low MPO response rate is cause for some con- tal resource agencies considered air quality to be the cern, these concerns are offset by the fact that of the 293 most important factor for DOTs and MPOs, both for MPOs asked to participate in the survey, some represented the most recent plans and for plan updates 10 years in very small urban areas. The 45 responses from MPOs the future. included the largest MPOs in the country, and reflect the DOTs identified land use, socioeconomic considera- environmental concerns that would most likely be found in tions, and environmental justice as the next most impor- large metropolitan areas. This bias toward large MPOs is not tant factors in planning in the most recent and 10-year considered a threat to the validity of the research results updates of the plan. MPOs identified air quality, socio- because large metropolitan areas typically face the widest economic considerations and environmental justice as range of environmental problems. Smaller metropolitan the next most important environmental factors. areas encounter environmental issues similar to those faced by larger MPOs, although on a lesser scale. Because of the 2. The most widely used tools for considering environ- ability of large MPOs to confront the full range of environ- mental factors in transportation planning are data mental issues, as well as their ability to draw upon greater trend analysis, geographic information systems (GIS), resources in addressing these issues, the survey should ade- environmental-impact-specific models, overlay maps, quately represent the current state-of-the-practice in envi- and focus groups. ronmentally sensitive planning. The following sections sum- marize the results of the survey effort. According to the DOT respondents, the most commonly used tools for environmental assessment are data trend analysis, GIS, environmental-impact-specific models, Key Findings from the Surveys socioeconomic impact assessment, surveys, and focus groups. The survey findings indicate that 38% of the state respon- According to the MPO respondents, the most com- dents and a similar percentage of MPO respondents thought monly used tools are data trend analysis, GIS, overlay that environmental considerations were important (rated 4 or maps, and environmental-impact-specific models. 5 on the survey question) in the development of their latest According to the environmental resource agency respon- transportation plan. This percentage increased to 45% for state dents, the most commonly used tools are environmental- DOTs and 52% for MPOs when asked how important envi- impact-specific models, overlay maps, data trends, and ronmental factors are likely to be in the update of the plan 10 focus groups.

OCR for page 24
26 3. There is general agreement that only part of the data agencies, the governor's office, environmental advocacy needed for considering environmental factors in trans- groups, and public interest groups in transportation portation planning is available. planning. Sixty-six percent of the responding DOTs, 51% of the Approximately 46% of DOTs stated that they interact responding MPOs, and 57% of the responding environ- with MPOs, environmental resource agencies, the gov- mental resource agencies (i.e., most each group) were of ernor's office, environmental advocacy groups, and the opinion that only part of the data needed for consid- public interest groups (other than environmental ering environmental factors in transportation planning groups) in transportation planning. The DOTs interact is currently available. most closely with MPOs. Approximately 79% of MPOs stated that they interact 4. The most readily available types of data within agen- with DOTs, environmental resource agencies, the gov- cies relate to air quality, socioeconomic, noise, energy ernor's office, environmental advocacy groups, and consumption, storm water runoff, and erosion. public interest groups (other than environmental groups) in transportation planning. The MPOs interact According to the DOTs, the most readily available in- most closely with the U.S. Department of Transporta- house data are air quality and socioeconomic data. tion. According to the MPOs, the most readily available in- Approximately 74% of the environmental resource house data relate to noise, energy consumption, storm agencies indicated that they interact with DOTs, MPOs, water runoff, and erosion. other environmental resource agencies, public interest According to the environmental resource agencies, the groups (other than environmental groups), and the gov- most readily available types of data in MPOs and DOTs ernor's office in transportation planning. relate to air quality, erosion, and water quality. 8. Competing priorities that detract from environmental 5. The most readily available types of data from outside issues and a lack of appropriate planning analysis tools agencies are environmental justice, hazardous wastes, were identified by DOTs, MPOs, and environmental historic properties, water quality, biological, and climate. resource agencies as the most significant obstacles to con- sidering environmental factors in transportation plan- According to the DOTs, the most readily available data ning. Lack of data and lack of regulations were perceived from outside the agency relate to environmental justice, as less important obstacles to considering environmental hazardous wastes, and historic properties. factors in transportation planning. According to the MPOs, the most readily available data from outside the agency relate to climate, water quality, Most DOT respondents (76%) selected "competing pri- biological, community cohesion, and historic proper- orities that distract from environmental issues" as an ties. obstacle to considering environmental factors in trans- According to the environmental resource agencies, the portation planning; 53% of the DOT respondents indi- types of data most readily available to transportation cated that a lack of appropriate planning analysis tools planning agencies relate to air quality, water quality, was an obstacle. erosion, wetlands, and storm water runoff. Most MPO respondents (64%) indicated that "compet- ing priorities that distract from environmental issues" 6. Most DOTs and some of MPOs use performance mea- was an obstacle to considering environmental factors in sures that include environmental factors in transporta- transportation planning; 58% of the MPO respondents tion planning. Most states and MPOs use performance indicated that the lack of appropriate analysis tools was measures in transportation planning. an obstacle as well. Most sustainability environmental resource agency Approximately 59% of the responding DOTs and 36% respondents (85%) also saw "competing priorities that of the responding MPOs use performance measures that distract from environmental issues" as an obstacle to include environmental factors for transportation plan- considering environmental factors in transportation ning. planning; 38% of the environmental resource agency Approximately 12% of the states and 43% of the MPOs respondents perceived the next most important obstacle use performance measures that do not include environ- was a lack of appropriate analysis tools. mental factors. 9. Most DOT and MPO respondents had taken action to 7. DOTs and MPOs have a relatively high level of inter- promote the consideration of environmental factors action with each other and with environmental resource before the project development stage.