Environmental Review Toolkit
Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife

The Florida Department of Transportation

Efficient Transportation Decision Making Process

EDTM Environmental Screening Tool Process.
EDTM Environmental Screening Tool Process.

In response to "environmental streamlining" initiatives outlined in the Intermodal Systems and Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) implemented the Efficient Transportation Decision Making (ETDM) process. The ETDM process was designed to improve transportation decision-making in a way that preserves and protects Florida's natural, cultural, and built environments.

ETDM is the result of FDOT reexamining the entire environmental review process for transportation projects from the early stages of planning through project development and permitting. Working in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), FDOT invited Federal and state agency leadership to come together in a "summit" in February 2000 to request their support in reexamining Florida's transportation planning and environmental review processes. A multi-agency working group was formed, consisting of 23 Federal, state, and regional agencies, who worked together with FDOT and FHWA to redefined how transportation projects would be planned, reviewed, and subsequently permitted. The result of their work was a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in December 2001 and an accompaning report which defined a new streamlined process in Florida. To implement the MOU, these agencies also entered into individual interagency agreements with FDOT and FHWA; each agency actively participates in the ETDM process by using its supporting technology called the Environmental Screening Tool (EST).

EDTM Public Site.
EDTM Public Site.

The ETDM process begins with two opportunities for all participating agencies to provide early review and screening of projects: the "Planning Screen" and the "Programming Screen." During these screening events, agencies work together to provide information to FDOT regarding the potential environmental affects the proposed transportation project may have on surrounding resources. The comments received during the planning screen help FDOT and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) determine the feasibility of proposed projects in their Long Range Transportation plans. The programming screen occurs when projects are identified as priorities and are being considered for funding in the FDOT Five-Year Work Program. Agency input, at this stage, is more detailed during the programming screen, focusing on project scoping.

The intent of the two screening events is to:

  • Integrate land use, resource, and transportation planning early in the decision-making process through interagency collaboration and coordination;
  • Provide specific information on important environmental issues of concern related to transportation projects so avoidance, minimization, and mitigation can be considered early in planning and during the project development and eliminate fatally-flawed projects from additional study and reduce the need to study insignificant issues in future phases.
EDTM Performance Measure Reporting.
EDTM Performance Measure Reporting.

Throughout the ETDM process, the EST, an Internet-accessible interactive database, is used to input and update information about transportation projects and community characteristics. EST allows users to perform standardized analyses of the effects of a proposed project on natural, cultural, and community resources; report and read review comments; and provide read-only project information to the public. The EST integrates resource and project data from multiple sources into one standard format and its database maintains the project record throughout the project's life cycle. Implementation of the ETDM process has improved and expedited the transportation decision-making process. Benefits resulting from the ETDM process include: 1) improved interagency relationships, communication, and trust; and 2) a streamlined project review process that allows FDOT to maintain project schedules.

For more information about the ETDM process, please visit the ETDM public website at http://etdmpub.fla-etat.org/est/ or contact Buddy Cunill at buddy.cunill@dot.state.fl.us or Peter McGilvray at peter.mcgilvray@dot.state.fl.us

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