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Planning & Environment Linkages

Recent Developments

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Listed below are recent developments pertinent to environmental considerations in planning from the past six months.  If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the Share Info with AASHTO form.

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FHWA Releases Report on Kansas City Scenario Planning Workshop

The Federal Highway Administration has released a report on noteworthy practices and key recommendations provided during a scenario planning workshop in Kansas City on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2017. The Mid-America Regional Council requested that the FHWA host a workshop to help stakeholders learn more about scenario planning. The workshop provided participants the opportunity to review draft scenarios with regard to a regional plan for sustainable development. Peer MPOs from Phoenix, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City provided assistance. For more information, link to the report. (5-30-17)

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NADO Issues Report on Rural Transportation Planning

The National Association of Development Organizations has released a report concerning a September 2016 peer exchange that focused on rural transportation planning and economic development. The report addresses best practices for rural public involvement to support statewide plans and includes suggestions for planning for development that is sensitive to the region, promotes placemaking and builds upon the community. The report also discusses technology improvements to increase transportation safety and the collection of trip data to understand congestion hotspots. For more information, link to the report. (3-2-17)

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Report Issued on Alaska Regional Models of Cooperation Peer Exchange

The Federal Highway Administration has released a report concerning a Regional Models of Cooperation peer exchange held in Alaska. The workshop addressed issues concerning collaboration and cooperation at local and regional levels and with tribal communities. The exchange identified key strategies for regional cooperation that include communication enhancement, establishing regional forums and creating joint planning products. The workshop included case studies to highlight collaboration techniques, challenges, and next steps to understand best practices. The Regional Models of Cooperation Program promotes effective communication between state departments of transportation, municipal planning organizations and transit authorities. For more information, link to the report. (3-1-17)

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Regional Models of Cooperation Detailed in Report Issued by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration has released a report concerning the Regional Models of Cooperation Program. The program is part of the Every Day Counts 3 Regional Models Initiative to facilitate cooperation among state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations. It emphasizes developing multi-jurisdictional transportation plans and agreements to improve communication, collaboration, policy implementation, technology use and performance management. The report addresses the basis for regional collaboration, including program benefits and examples of forums for communicating, data sharing tools and project planning products. The report also provides case studies from Arizona, California, Texas, Florida and Oregon to provide best practices for communicating and collaborating with various stakeholders. For more information, link to the report. (December 2016)

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FHWA Issues Desk Reference on Developing TSMO Strategies

The Federal Highway Administration has released a reference manual designed to help subarea planning and operations officials to integrate operations, safety, and multimodal transportation planning. Planning for Transportation Systems Management and Operations within Subareas - A Desk Reference provides a foundation for implementing transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) strategies and includes examples of current practices across the country. The reference also includes tools for integrated corridor management, active transportation demand management and principles for metropolitan planning. For more information, link to the reference. (1-25-17)

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Webinar Materials Available on Innovative Mitigation Contracting and Financing

Presentation materials from an Eco-Logical Community of Practice webinar regarding innovative mitigation contracting and financing are now available. The Oct. 5 webinar addresses planning and environment linkages, the Ohio Department of Transportation full delivery process for natural resource mitigation and San Diego’s process for implementing advance mitigation. For more information, link to the presentation materials. (11-7-16)

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FHWA Issues Q and A Guidance on Planning Environment Linkages

The Federal Highway Administration has issued question-and-answer guidance on use of the “planning and environmental linkages” approach for transportation projects. Using the PEL approach, agencies consider environmental, social and economic issues early in their planning processes, and use that information to inform environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act. The guidance describes increased emphasis on a number of areas in implementing PEL, including agency coordination, public involvement, as well as compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For more information, link to the guidance. (11-3-16)

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FHWA Launches PlanWorks Decision Support Tool for Projects, Announces Funding

The Federal Highway Administration has launched an interactive, online tool to support collaborative decision-making in transportation planning and project development. PlanWorks is built around key decision points in long-range planning, programming, corridor planning, and environmental review. PlanWorks suggests when and how to engage cross-disciplinary partners and stakeholder groups, and includes a decision guide, assessment tools, applications, and a resource library. The tool, formerly known in beta-version as Transportation for Communities - Advancing Projects through Partnerships (TCAPP) – is now permanently managed by FHWA. The agency also announced funding assistance to help state DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations implement the tool. The application period for funding will be open May 29 through June 26. For more information, link to PlanWorks and the Round 6 SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Program announcement. (5-14-15)

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Featured Case Study

  • Case Study Photo

    Utah DOT's web-based mapping system helps link transportation planning and environmental decisions.

    Read Case Study >Photo: Utah DOT

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