Defining Areas of Potential Effects: State of the Practice

Focus Area

Historic Preservation/Cultural Resources


Community & Cultural Concerns




Under $99,000


Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

A nationwide survey of how transportation agencies from all levels are successfully defining Areas of Potential Effect (APEs) for projects across the country. APEs are defined as part of the Section 106 process when projects impact historic properties. A survey of the state of the practice would gather methodologies on defining APEs from state, local, tribal, and federal transportation and historic preservation agencies on defining APEs. The survey could also gather successful methodologies and best practices currently in use around the country, providing a centralized repository that any transportation agency could easily access and use. This research is was developed in coordination with TRB AME60.

Urgency and Payoff

Linear transportation corridors present particular problems to transportation agencies when trying to define APEs. Accurately and effectively defining these areas are a key first step in determining the level of effort required for historic preservation compliance work. For many projects, APEs are defined on a project-by-project basis, without a standard methodology by project type or common approach. With this information at hand, transportation agencies and project proponents could have templates and best practices that could immediately be useful. This is an immediate need that would help drastically speed up project delivery.

Suggested By

amanda ciampolillo Federal Railroad Administration

[email protected]