Every Day Counts
Every Day Counts (EDC) in cooperative partnership between the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to speed up the delivery of highway projects and to address the challenges presented by limited budgets. Using a two-year deployment cycle, FHWA and AASHTO facilitate sharing of specifications, best practices, lessons learned, and relevant data among stakeholders. The result is rapid technology transfer and accelerated deployment of innovation across the nation. The FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review (HEPE) oversees two EDC innovations: implementing quality environmental documentation (IQED) and programmatic agreements (PAs).
Virtual Public Involvement
EDC-5 Introduced Virtual Public Involvement (VPI) to promote increased Public Involvement in the transportation decision-making process. Public involvement is a critical component in the transportation decision-making process, allowing for meaningful consideration and input from those potentially affected by such decisions. Transportation agencies can strengthen meaningful public involvement in planning and project development by integrating VPI tools into their overall public involvement approach. Other benefits can include: reduced administrative burden on staff, cost savings, and accelerated project delivery. VPI tools can increase the public’s access to information and opportunity to express their viewpoint and values in the transportation decision-making process.
VPI includes various online communication strategies that utilize websites, mobile applications, tablets, and social media. FHWA has organized the VPI tools into eight categories: Online Mobile Applications, Project Visualization, Do-It-Yourself Videos, Crowdsourcing Videos, Virtual Town Halls, Online Mapping Tools, All-In-One Tools, and Digital Tools to Enhance In-Person Events.
It’s important to note that the use of VPI techniques and strategies do not change existing requirements of public involvement established by statue, regulation, or executive order, and these tools are not intended to completely replace in-person public involvement opportunities, which remain an important part of a balanced public involvement approach.
Implementing Quality Environmental Documentation
On July 31, 2006, FHWA issued a Memorandum detailing its position on the preparation of NEPA documents and providing information on the report, Improving the Quality of Environmental Documents, prepared by AASHTO, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and the FHWA. The report's focus was on improving the quality of NEPA documents and represents FHWA's and the transportation industry's current thinking regarding the use of different formats and alternative approaches to NEPA documentation. FHWA encourages the consideration of ways to improve the effectiveness of NEPA documents, including the use of different formats and alternative approaches to making documents easier to read, while demonstrating compliance with NEPA and other applicable environmental laws that satisfy the needs and expectations of FHWA's partners and stakeholders.
- Visit the Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO's NEPA Process web page and view the report from June 23, 2006.
- On August 17, 2006, FHWA issued a Memorandum outlining requirements for the timely publication of documents in the Federal Register.
EDC-2, the second year-long round of EDC, introduced implementing quality environmental documentation (IQED) through promoting best practices for simplifying and expediting the development of environmental documentation. It focused on ensuring that the efforts for project purpose and need, consideration of alternatives, and impacts were appropriately documented and effectively included in NEPA documentation. The effort was designed to make NEPA documentation more effective in disclosing the information used in making project decisions to the public and participating agencies. In 2014, FHWA published Guidance on Making a Quality EIS Summary that provides a question-and-answer format to use when writing a quality EIS summary.
EDC-3 expanded on IQED efforts introduced by EDC-2 by improving collaborative processes. EDC-3 supported tools to foster collaborative, timely, and transparent interagency reviews, which can cut the amount of work and resources required, save time and money, and improve the quality of NEPA documentation for projects. Efforts included creating systems to facilitate document-sharing and collaboration between two or more agencies.