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OCR for page 70
70 Through TPEAC, WSDOT has formed formal collabora- transportation, and environmental planning that occurs tions with several resource agencies to implement environ- within a broader state-defined legislative framework. This mental streamlining procedures. TPEAC currently includes framework requires statewide comprehensive planning, with a liaison program to fund 31 staff members in natural transportation as just one element of the overall comprehen- resource agencies. This is similar to the previous example in sive plan. The case study highlights the evaluation of alter- Pennsylvania. native plan scenarios based on well articulated criteria to To simplify and clarify the permitting process for projects enhance accessibility, support predetermined land-use effecting water resources, several agencies further developed choices, protect the environment, and preserve regional qual- the Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA). ity of life. These attributes are tracked through multiple mea- JARPA consolidates seven aquatic resource permit applica- sures of performance. This case study also illustrates a tion forms from federal, state, and local agencies into a sin- process in which environmental quality is achieved primar- gle form, including the following: ily through land-use strategies. Transportation planning is viewed as a supporting activity for land-use goals. Section 404 permit of the Clean Water Act (U.S. Army The Florida case study described a long-term involve- Corps of Engineers), ment on the part of a DOT in linking environmental factors required permit of the Rivers and Harbors Act (U.S. to transportation planning and programming. FDOT has Coast Guard), been a national leader in context-sensitive solutions and Hydraulic Project Approvals (Washington State Depart- community impact assessment. These efforts have been ment of Fish and Wildlife), and integrated into a new approach for screening plans and proj- Water Quality Certifications and Short-Term Modifica- ects early in planning and project development to identify tions of Water Quality Standards (Washington State critical environmental and community effects. An extensive Department of Ecology). involvement of transportation and environmental agency staff in developing the ETDM process is an indication of the Finally, WSDOT is studying a state highway as one of level of effort that might be necessary to develop a similar three national pilot projects chosen by FHWA to test a new process statewide. process for streamlining the review and approval of trans- The important role of technology in fostering the exchange portation projects. The pilot project moves completion of of information is also well illustrated by this case study. It is NEPA requirements into the early project planning stage (83). not likely that resource agencies would participate in the ETDM process if they did not have access to the web-based GIS Environmental Screening Tool. The rapid exchange of SUMMARY information and the visualization capabilities of identifying the extent of potential environmental impacts have provided This chapter presented a conceptual framework that was an important enabler for the type of process that FDOT is used to illustrate how environmental factors could be con- spearheading. sidered in the early stages of transportation systems planning, The Maryland case study is a good example of evolving as well as in the initial steps of project development. The rel- transportation planning in the context of a smart growth evant case studies presented provide important lessons on framework where increasing emphasis is placed on trans- how some DOTs and MPOs have been developing institu- portation improvements that will support smart growth from tional strategies for promoting this early consideration. the outset rather than focusing solely on project mitigation at The Caltrans case study illustrates the importance of a the end of project development. vision in guiding the activities of a state DOT. This vision The Minnesota case study illustrates the use of perfor- includes important concepts relating to sustainability, envi- mance measures/indicators in transportation planning, as well ronmental preservation, and social equity. as how environmental considerations can be included in such The Cape Cod Commission has been at the forefront of an approach. In addition, Mn/DOT's experience with project using GIS for inventorying and analyzing environmental delivery streamlining and context-sensitive design is directly resources. As such, it provides a good example of the types relevant to the different types of strategies that could be used of environmental impacts that can be incorporated into such for better linking planning and environmental factors. an approach and how this information can be used. The The New York State example illustrates the significant Regional Policy Plan that guides all other planning efforts on progress that can be made in linking environmental quality Cape Cod is also a good example of how policy-level guid- to the everyday activities of a DOT. This has been done by ance can provide greater sensitivity to environmental con- modifying the mission of the organization and establishing a siderations as they relate to development and infrastructure new value system among DOT employees. The internal decisions. NYSDOT engineering procedures have been modified to The Eugene/Lane Council of Governments example reflect this new environmental ethic and to provide an insti- shows an MPO using a well integrated approach to land use, tutionalized means of keeping this approach in place over the

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71 long term. New staff capabilities were introduced into the strained transportation planning, which produces transporta- organization, and new approaches to planning and design tion decision-making supportive of land-use choices that pro- were employed. The results have shown that not only does tect and preserve the environment and other natural resources. an environmentally sensitive approach toward planning, The Southern California case study illustrates that the tra- design, and operations provide for better decisions, but it also ditional institutional framework for transportation and land- expedites project delivery. use decision making faces significant challenges in attempt- The Oregon DOT experience highlights the critical impor- ing to solve regional growth and quality of life problems in tance of a legislative framework to support integrated plan- a large metropolitan area that is struggling to keep up with ning and a proactive approach to preserving and protecting growth. The activities of SCAG illustrate how a transporta- the environment in planning. It illustrates how a formal tion planning agency with such constraints can take the ini- linkage can be created between land use and transportation tiative to forge interagency partnerships that allow them to planning. Oregon's CETAS process demonstrates how inter- influence land-use decisions that have a direct effect on agency partnerships can be used to accomplish environmen- transportation. tal consideration early in the planning process. ODOT's The Tahoe Region case study probably represents the most model for integrating NEPA with planning is one of the first extensive application of environmental principles to compre- in the country to formalize and advance environmental con- hensive planning of any region in the United States. Starting siderations in transportation planning. with the vision of the region and ending with the ordinances The Pennsylvania case study shows how a DOT can that are used to implement and enforce the comprehensive aggressively pursue coordination in project development plan, environmental quality is a driving force in the planning based on many innovative partnerships with environmental and decision-making process. In addition, this case study resource agencies. PennDOT has a public-driven process for illustrates the concept of environmental carrying capacity and generating the overall policies for the long-range transporta- the use of environmental performance measures. tion plan. In addition, there is a clear link between trans- The Toledo case study, which represents a typical MPO portation system policies and goals and the measurable approach toward transportation planning and environmental objectives and targets developed to achieve these goals concerns, introduces the use of a formalized multiattribute within specified time frames. Furthermore, there is a compo- framework for the analysis of plan alternatives. The trans- nent of accountability in the process in which PennDOT portation plan was developed through extensive public annually presents an achievement report on its progress involvement and with important input from the public and toward the system objectives and targets clearly defined in private sectors. One of the four goals that guided plan devel- the long-range plan to the public. opment was to create a "sustainable transportation system" The Portland Metro case study highlights an integrated (i.e., to reduce transportation effects on the natural environ- approach to land use, as well as environmental and trans- ment). In addition, enhancing environmental quality was part portation planning supported by a legislative framework that of another plan goal aimed at improving the quality of life in enables comprehensive planning. The case study shows how the region. These goals were applied as various environmen- transportation planning is used as a tool to achieve predeter- tal attributes in the multiattribute scorecard. mined goals for managed growth that protects and preserves The Washington State DOT case study highlights the a region's environment and other natural resources. important role that legislation can play in elevating environ- The San Francisco Bay case study shows how a metropol- mental considerations to a high priority level in planning. In itan area can consider the environment at the systems plan addition, it demonstrates the importance of funding to level in response to a state environmental law. This MPO has develop the required tools and human resources to support been proactive in implementing various programs to arrest new planning procedures and techniques. It also illustrates major environmental problems in the metro area, including the importance of formalizing institutional arrangements to air quality, noise, loss and degradation of wetlands, and com- advance environmental considerations in transportation munity disruption. The agency's ITS Program and Livable planning and achieving environmental stewardship in a cost- Communities Program; involvement in the area's Smart effective manner. Growth Initiative; and efforts to address the transportation Finally, the Wisconsin DOT case study shows the effect of needs of minority, low-income, elderly, and disabled popu- a state rule that requires environmental assessment of trans- lations all point to continuing efforts to address environmen- portation system plans, and the level of analysis that accom- tal quality in transportation planning. panies such an assessment. The most important benefit of the The Seattle case study provides a good example of address- TRANS 400 process, as identified by WisDOT officials, was ing environmental factors in planning. Planning is aimed at the early involvement of other agencies and interest groups managing regional growth as well as providing long-range in the environmental issues associated with transportation transportation planning. The PSRC showcases land-use con- investment.