Evaluate Area-wide Cumulative Effects Assessment (ACEA) Methodology as a Mechanism for Cumulative Impacts Analysis of Regional Transportation Plans
Indirect Effects/Cumulative Impacts
Air Quality, Environmental Process
Research Idea Scope
Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are confronted with the challenge of performing meaningful and efficient environmental analysis, acceptable to the resource agencies involved, so that environmental information can inform and support decision-making at appropriate points in the transportation process. Within this framework, an area-wide or regional cumulative effects assessment would be designed to define, “the impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of an action when added to other past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (Federal or non-Federal) or person undertakes such other actions.” Colorado has made an initial attempt to address this challenge in its Area-wide Cumulative Effects Assessment (ACEA). The study has provided several environmental resource metrics that hold the prospect for regional resource assessments similar to an air quality conformity analysis.
This research would be designed to apply those metrics to a regional transportation plan for the purpose of assessing cumulative effects on a regional basis, throughout the country. Since modeling the transportation plan would include both the current and future network, the assessment of an individual resource would meet the cumulative effects requirements of past, current, and future impacts.
John Zamurs, SCOE Air Quality Sub-Committee