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91 extension of these methods to environmental justice methods as a substantial constraint in their efforts to con- analyses employed at the systems, corridor, and project sider environmental factors in transportation planning. levels of transportation planning and development. Where agencies have determined a need for new or differ- ent tools, resources have usually been allocated to their development. Examples include Caltrans, FDOT, and TOOLS AND METHODS FOR CONSIDERING ODOT initiatives to develop GIS to catalogue their envi- ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS ronmental resources and analyze the effects of various plan and project alternatives on these resources. Other notable This chapter has examined tools and methods that can be examples are WSDOT's development of an environmental used to consider environmental factors in systems planning. benefit-cost analysis tool, and the San Francisco Bay Area Depending upon the type of environmental factor of concern, MTC's development of GIS capabilities for environmental various tools are available that will enable transportation justice analysis. In this regard, the dissemination of practi- agencies to consider the potential environmental implica- cal applications of emerging tools could be useful to tions of transportation investments. As was shown in the agencies that have identified analytical needs and are iden- Florida ETDM case, such tools can be quite sophisticated tifying options for developing or acquiring capabilities to and comprehensive. But as shown in other case studies, sim- meet these needs. pler tools are being used as well. Beyond agency needs, there also could be value in broadly Such a range of capability was found in a recent survey of 11 disseminating useful applications of emerging methodolo- strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) that covered the gies to showcase how tools and methods could be integrated diverse topics of road, rail, waste management, electricity sup- into existing planning processes. For example, the use of ply, gas development, underground infrastructure, an ecological integrated models, especially land usetransportation mod- district, and a political program (96). In addition, various coun- els, could find a role in agencies that have begun to see a need tries were represented in the survey, including Germany, the for promoting land-use decisions that also provide efficient United Kingdom, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and China. transportation but that have not yet articulated analysis needs Table 14 shows various methods used for such assessments. to support this effort. As indicated by the survey undertaken for this project, Another possible example is the dissemination of GIS very few agencies considered inadequate analysis tools and applications for inventorying and conducting systems-level TABLE 14 Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) methods Phase/Category Method Checklists Case comparison Literature survey Screening, scoping, definition of objectives Model mapping Consultation of experts Formal procedures Impacts prediction · Screening · Scenario development · Computer modeling · Geographic information systems Impact analysis · Project EIA as case study Use of baseline data Uncontroversial aggregation · Index methods · Monetary methods · Natural methods Presentation of information · Textual descriptions Information analysis · Impact matrices · Consistency analysis Further aggregation Scenarios Sensitivity analysis Showing points of view Dealing with uncertainty Decision analysis Geographic methods Postponing decisions Source: National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 2003 (95 ).
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92 environmental assessments. A major prerequisite for moving Tools and methods do not always have to result in quantita- environmental considerations early into the planning process tive output. For example, Table 15 offers different, noncom- is knowing where sensitive environmental resource areas are puterized approaches to providing important information in the located. GIS platforms are ideally suited to providing this early stages of the planning and decision-making processes. type of information. It is not surprising that those states that Given the range in tools and methods that can be used in have progressed the furthest in systems-level environmental environmental analysis, a regular synthesis on such methods assessment have been those that made early investment in and tools, as well as their practical applications, would be very GIS technologies. However, as also was seen in some of helpful in ensuring that transportation agencies have the best these cases, such as in Florida and Wisconsin, determining capability for addressing different environmental issues. possible impacts at such broad scales of application often Forums for sharing DOT and MPO experiences with the use of relies on subjective expertise. various methods and tools would also be useful in this regard. TABLE 15 Tools for identifying environmental values Category Tool Use Strengths Weaknesses Economic Assigns economic cost to Estimates costs directly Some resources Measures Restoration/ environmental damages related to damaged resource irreplaceable; ignores loss of replacement costs use before replacement Assigns economic value to Works well when distance to Trips often have multiple Travel costs resource based on visitation site is key for estimating objectives; confuses payment benefits with value Ecological Relates ecosystem quality Provides useful summary Hard to link cause and effect Relationships Health to the performance of key measures to gauge impacts in ecological relationships; indicators of changes over time choice of indicators may be controversial Focuses on synergistic and Recognizes systemwide Definitions can vary greatly Integrity system relationships characteristics of complex across experts; human ecosystems versus nonhuman factors problematic Assesses the long-term Captures threats to future Difficult to measure; Resilience viability of a resource environmental quality based translation into comparable on past events and policy terms can be ecosystem response controversial Relates fundamental Tracks key threats to future Relation of productivity to Carrying capacity qualities of ecosystem value resource use and availability value may be contested; to productivity choice of impact baseline difficult Expressed Gathers information about Viewed as egalitarian and Subject to strategic and Preference Attitudinal and opinion ecological understanding democratic; can be closely motivational biases; may Surveys surveys and support for policies targeted to issues or market encourage superficial responses Constructed Elicits values used in Attempts to reflect actual Responses may be difficult to preferences making decisions about decision processes and the integrate into cost/benefit environmental choices key tradeoffs of stakeholders framework Assesses affective and Incorporates perceptions Stimulus-response psychological reactions to and beliefs associated with a characteristics tough to Image scenarios or events proposed action anticipate; high geographic variability in responses Elicits concerns of Can yield compelling stories; Subject to bias via small- Narrative and effect stakeholders through methods grounded in familiar sample selection; coding of dialogue and conversation feelings and emotions responses problematic Asks individuals to vote for Provides familiar method for Knowledge level of Referenda or against a specific gauging opinions of diverse participants can vary widely; proposed action stakeholders responses sensitive to framing of questions Small-group Elicits responses to Inexpensive; directly targets Sessions can be dominated Input proposed action through question of concern; uses by one point of view; values Focus groups informal small group insights from diverse remain implicit; and conflicts discussions populations difficult to address Develops broad perspective Allows for open discussion; Objectives and powers of on an issue; involves can increase trust in agency committee may be unclear; Advisory committees interested and and empower local citizens diversity of viewpoints easily knowledgeable suppressed representatives Source: Adapted from DHV Environmental and Infrastructure BV, undated (96).