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93 CHAPTER 5 INCORPORATING ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP INTO TRANSPORTATION PLANNING AND PROJECT DEVELOPMENT Establishment of procedures for early and continual coor- better projects. However, it might not speed project develop- dination and cooperation in developing mitigation plans will ment, an objective identified by many DOT officials as a provide more cost effective and efficient mitigation, and ulti- reason for moving environmental concerns into systems mately, a higher level of protection and conservation of our planning. It seems clear from this research that the trans- valuable resources. (97) portation and environmental participants' joint identification of the benefits of moving environmental considerations early into planning is a prerequisite for successfully doing so. INTRODUCTION The concepts illustrated in Figure 21 and described in Table 16 can act as a checklist for agencies seeking ways to This chapter presents the lessons learned from this research incorporate environmental considerations into agency oper- and recommends steps that transportation agencies can take to ations, especially into systems planning. For example, the integrate environmental considerations into their system plan- following questions could serve as an assessment or audit ning. To do so, the conceptual framework presented in Chap- tool for determining where additional steps were needed to ter 3 will be revisited; major findings (as determined from the implement an effective environmental stewardship program: literature search, surveys, and case studies) presented; institu- tional aspects of implementing change in organizations, with 1. Has your agency included concern for the environment particular attention given to examples from this research that in its mission or vision statement? Have guidelines or show how transportation agencies have successfully done so, standard operating procedures been developed to dis- discussed; and additional research needs identified. seminate this vision throughout the agency? 2. Has transportation planning included environmental CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK REVISITED issues in the goals and objectives statement? 3. If your agency has defined a set of performance mea- This report began with the presentation of a conceptual sures relating to system or agency performance, are framework that pointed to parts of transportation planning and environmental measures a part of this list? project development where environmental factors could be 4. Does your agency collect data on environmental con- more fully considered. Considering environmental factors early ditions on a systematic basis? Are sufficient resources in planning could provide an important opportunity to discover available for continuing such data collection? potential environmental problems and build a working rela- 5. Has your state or region developed an inventory of sen- tionship with those environmental resource agencies that would sitive environmental resources? If so, is this inventory be likely to play key roles in project implementation. used for planning or project development purposes, in Figure 21 shows the conceptual framework that was used particular, in efforts to avoid or minimize environmen- to guide this research and indicates where environmental fac- tal impacts caused by project implementation? tors could be incorporated into system planning and project 6. Does your state or metropolitan area's transportation development. Table 16 describes the types of actions and planning provide sufficient information that can be activities that might be found in each of these steps. It seems used in a determination of "need and purpose" for sub- likely that considering environmental factors in the different sequent project development? planning and project development steps indicated in Figure 7. Does your agency systematically consider environ- 21 would have varying degrees of benefit as perceived by dif- mental factors in the definition of alternatives? Is at ferent participants. For example, including environmental least one of the alternatives designed to minimize envi- concerns in the vision and goals/objectives/performance ronmental impacts to the extent possible? measures planning steps could be an important issue to plan- 8. Has your agency defined project alternatives that both ners and environmental specialists. By so doing, the influ- provide transportation benefits and enhance environ- ence of this important point of departure could permeate mental quality? Does your agency actively pursue such throughout planning and project development, resulting in project alternatives?