Each of the following case studies summarizes the experiences of a state or metropolitan area that decided to implement an approach to conducting planning and environmental processes. The case studies summarize why and how change was achieved, some of the challenges encountered, and a few lessons learned. The table identifies key PEL implementation categories that each case study addresses.
Learn About PEL Activities Nationwide
Learn about PEL activities from across the country and discuss important questions and issues with your peers through the following resources:
Click on the following aspects of the transportation decision-making process to learn more about how it relates to PEL. Click on the title of each case study to view the complete report.
Long-Range Planning is the process by which statewide and metropolitan transportation organizations develop multimodal transportation plans looking at least 20 years into the future. Key areas where transportation organizations must address environmental considerations in long range-planning include:
- Consultation — Compare transportation plans to natural and cultural resource inventories, maps or plans. Consult with Federal, State, Tribal and local agencies as appropriate. (23 CFR 450 Parts 212 and 214)
- Mitigation — Explore potential environmental mitigation opportunities and potential areas to carry out those activities in consultation with Federal, State, and Tribal land management, wildlife, and regulatory agencies. (23 CFR 450 Parts 212 and 214)
Corridor planning can be an effective tool to connect systems-level and project-level decision-making and support stakeholder involvement. Corridor planning studies are used when the long-range plan leaves open the possibility of multiple approaches to fulfill goals and objectives, and they occur prior to project planning. These studies may include scoping, alternatives analyses, preliminary identification of environmental impacts and mitigation opportunities. (23 CFR 450 and Appendix A)
Linking Planning and NEPA
Linking Planning and NEPA is an integral part of PEL. It is the term used when agencies include environmental considerations in transportation planning, such as long-range or corridor planning, and carry activities or decisions into the NEPA process. For example, transportation and environmental staff can identify a project's purpose and need and begin alternatives analysis in planning and use that information when conducting environmental reviews. These activities can lead to streamlined processes by reducing duplication of work, and better decisions by promoting early coordination of planning and environmental staff. Appendix A to 23 CFR 450 provides guidance on Linking Planning and NEPA. Also see CEQ Regulation 1502 on Environmental Impact Statements.
Planning and Environmental Linkages for Historic Preservation
The FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review has developed a report and series of best practices focusing on historic resources to support the goals of the Every Day Counts (EDC) initiatives under Planning and Environmental Linkages. The FHWA and State and local transportation agencies are working hard to deliver projects more quickly and efficiently, and for less cost. One way to achieve these efficiencies is to streamline compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The streamlining practices identified in the report and detailed in the case studies also have the benefit of improving stewardship through early consideration of historic preservation factors in planning and project development. Both the report and a series of case studies that highlight effective practices are available below.
Planning and Environmental Linkages for Historic Preservation Report: HTML PDF (1.26 MB)
For questions or feedback on this subject matter content, please contact Bruce Bender or Spencer Stevens.