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Publications

Browse Publications by Topics

The resources listed below provide guidance on a number of key initiatives that encourage the integration of planning and the environment in the transportation decision-making process.

Click on a topic to browse relevant publications.

PEL - General

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Freight

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PEL Program Annual Reports

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Funded Positions

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Climate Change

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Historic Preservation

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Collaborative Decision Making

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Land Use

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Corridor Planning

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Performance Measures

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Results: 13

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PEL in Practice: Examples from Discussions with States

This report is a compendium of interviews with State DOTs concerning their PEL implementation approaches. These summaries provide highlights and key takeaways from FHWA’s discussions with these states.

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PEL Benefits: Measuring the Benefits of Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL)

FHWA developed the PEL Benefits report to showcase the benefits that five transportation agencies yielded by taking a PEL approach to planning and environmental review.

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TxDOT Resource for Linking Planning with Project Planning in Support of NEPA

This report was developed as a resource for various Texas agencies involved in transportation planning, project planning, and NEPA compliance. The resource includes recommendations and identifies areas where these agencies can facilitate the NEPA process by linking it with regional transportation planning and project planning. While developed for agencies within Texas, the material and recommendations are relevant to agencies involved in transportation planning and project development across the country.

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Community Impact Assessment

This website allows for a community's concerns (mobility, safety, employment effects, relocation, isolation, etc.) to be addressed in transportation decision-making. The information-gathering activities promoted by CIA represent the human environment side to the environmental factors to be incorporated into the planning process as described here.

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NCHRP 25-25 (55): Awareness Guidance for Mainstreaming Environmental Stewardship and Enhancement Activities into Planning and Project Development (2009)

This report provides information for transportation agency staff on the options and opportunities for integrating environmental considerations into the transportation planning process. The report is intended to serve as a resource for connecting planning and NEPA; improving consultation and data sharing with resource agencies; expanding efforts to integrate planning realms; and as an education tool for increasing awareness of the importance of integrated planning approaches. The report also includes case studies of noteworthy practices from agencies across the country.

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NCHRP 25-25 (38): Guidelines on the Use of Tiered Environmental Impact Statements for Transportation Projects

This study presents guidelines for State Departments of Transportation on the use of tiered environmental impact statements in the transportation planning process.

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AASHTO's Practitioner's Handbook: Using the Transportation Planning Process to Support the NEPA Process (2008)

This handbook is intended to help transportation planners and NEPA practitioners improve linkages between planning and NEPA processes, while also complying with recent legislative changes that require increased consideration of environmental issues in the planning process. PDF version

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AASHTO Practitioner's Handbook: Defining the Purpose and Need and Determining the Range of Alternatives for Transportation Projects (2008)

This handbook provides practical suggestions for defining the purpose and need and determining the range of alternatives in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). If planners consider the purpose and need and range of alternatives early in the planning process, they can work with their project development counterparts to carry those decisions into NEPA. PDF version

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PEL: A Path to Streamlining and Stewardship (2008)

This article in FHWA Public Roads Magazine highlights how FHWA's PEL program works to ease project delivery through efficient and integrated decision-making.

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NCHRP 8-36 (48): Improved Linkage Between Transportation Systems Planning and NEPA (2006)

This report explains the benefits of and methods for linking planning and NEPA processes, particularly in the context of SAFETEA-LU requirements. It details how to integrate these processes and overcome potential barriers. The report was based in part on experience from FHWA's Linking Planning and NEPA workshops and describes approaches and activities similar to those described here. PDF version

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NCHRP Report 541: Consideration of Environmental Factors in Transportation Planning (2005)

This report presents an approach for integrating environmental factors in systems level transportation planning and decision-making. The report describes changes in planning regulations, institutional relationships, and emerging technologies that will help make transportation agencies better stewards of the environment. PDF version

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GAO Study: Transportation Planning: State and Metropolitan Planning Agencies Report Using Varied Methods to Consider Ecosystem Conservation (2004)

The United States General Accounting Office (GAO) completed this study to evaluate the extent to which transportation planners consider ecosystem conservation in planning, factors that affect the consideration of ecosystem conservation in planning, and the effects of such consideration. This study is based on interviews with staff from resource agencies as well as state and metropolitan planning agencies. PDF version

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AASHTO's Environmental Considerations in Planning

This webpage provides an overview of environmental considerations in transportation planning, as well as research documents, case studies and training opportunities.

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Results: 2

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NCHRP Web-Only Document 112: Integrating Freight into Transportation Planning and Project-Selection Processes (2007)

This PDF documents the approach and findings resulting from a project that explored techniques designed to help states and MPOs more fully incorporate freight throughout the entire transportation planning and programming process and more effectively plan, develop, program, and implement freight improvement projects.

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NCHRP Report 594: Guidebook for Integrating Freight into Transportation Planning and Project Selection Processes (2007)

This PDF explores a framework for incorporating freight needs for all modes into transportation planning and priority programming by state, regional, metropolitan, local, and special transportation agencies. The report covers technical issues, organizational suggestions, and communication requirements of freight planning and programming.

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Results: 9

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PEL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2015

Highlights the range of PEL activities undertaken by FHWA in FY15, including technical assistance, training, outreach, and communication. In addition, information on FHWA's vision for PEL activities in Fiscal Year 2016 is provided. PDF version

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PEL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2014

Highlights the range of PEL activities undertaken by FHWA in FY14, including technical assistance, training, outreach and communication. In addition, information on FHWA's vision for PEL activities in Fiscal Year 2015 is provided. PDF version

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PEL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013

Highlights the range of PEL activities undertaken by FHWA in FY13, including technical assistance, training, outreach and communication. In addition, information on FHWA's vision for PEL activities in Fiscal Year 2014 is provided. PDF version

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PEL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2012

Highlights the range of PEL activities undertaken by FHWA in FY12, including technical assistance, training, outreach and communication. In addition, information on FHWA's vision for PEL activities in Fiscal Year 2013 is provided. PDF version

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PEL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2011

Highlights the range of PEL activities undertaken by FHWA in FY11, including technical assistance, training, outreach and communication. In addition, information on FHWA's vision for PEL activities in Fiscal Year 2012 is provided. PDF version

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PEL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2010

Highlights the range of PEL activities undertaken by FHWA in FY10, including technical assistance, trainings, outreach and communications. In addition, information on FHWA's vision for PEL activities in Fiscal Year 2011—2012 is provided. PDF version

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PEL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2009

Highlights the range of PEL activities undertaken by FHWA in FY09, including technical assistance, trainings, outreach and communications. In addition, information on FHWA's vision for PEL activities in Fiscal Year 2010–2011 is provided. PDF version

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PEL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2008

Highlights the range of PEL activities undertaken by FHWA in FY08, including technical assistance, trainings, outreach and communications. In addition, information on FHWA's vision for PEL activities in Fiscal Year 2009 is provided. PDF version

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PEL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2007

Highlights the range of PEL activities undertaken by FHWA in FY07, including technical assistance, trainings, peer exchanges, outreach and communications. In addition, information on FHWA's vision for PEL activities in Fiscal Year 2008 is provided. PDF version

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Results: 3

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State Transportation Liaison Funded Positions Study (2009)

This study describes the use of funded positions and provides recommendations to State DOTs and resource agencies to support more effective use of funded positions. The study is based on a literature review of funded positions and agreements and a series of interviews with funded position program managers and individuals in those positions.

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Interagency Guidance: Transportation Funding for Federal Agency Coordination Associated with Environmental Streamlining Activities (2006)

This guidance provides information about how transportation and resource agencies can arrange for Federal funding to support resource agency collaboration and staff time in efforts such as Planning and Environment Linkages.

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AASHTO report: DOT supported positions and federal and state resource agencies, local governments, and tribes (2005)

This report from the AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence is based on a 2005 survey administered to State DOTs. It presents an overview of funded position arrangements and documents improvements to project delivery timeframes that DOTs attribute to funded positions, including relevant performance measurements and lessons learned.

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Results: 1

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Integrating Climate Change into the Transportation Planning Process (2008)

This report explores the possibilities for integrating climate change considerations into long range transportation planning at state DOTs and MPOs. It reviews the experience of a number of DOTs and MPOs that are already incorporating climate change into their transportation planning processes and identifies their successes as well as challenges.

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Results: 2

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NCHRP 25-25(49): Effective Practices for Considering Historic Preservation in Transportation Planning and Early Project Development (2009)

This report examines how State Departments of Transportation (DOT) effectively engage historic preservation agencies and organizations, and Federally recognized tribes, during planning and the initial stages of project development. It also compiles effective practices for considering historic preservation factors during transportation systems planning and early project development.

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PEL for Historic Preservation (2012)

Report and best practices focusing on early consideration of historic preservation factors in planning and project development. PDF version

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Results: 2

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A Framework for Collaborative Decision Making on Additions to Highway Capacity (2012)

This SHRP2 Capacity Project CO1 report describes a framework—including for long-range planning, corridor planning, project programming, environmental review, and environmental permitting—that supports collaborative business practices for reaching decisions on adding highway capacity when necessary.

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Environmental Consultation Peer Exchange, Summary Report (2009)

This report summarizes the results of the Environmental Consultation Peer Exchange held January 27, 2009 at the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters. The purpose of the Environmental Consultation Peer Exchange was to explore and showcase several approaches that agencies have taken to coordinate on environmental considerations and successfully meet the consultation requirements of Section 6001 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), as implemented by the final rule on statewide and metropolitan transportation planning. You may also view presentations from the event. PDF version

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Results: 4

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Scenario Planning

Scenario Planning is an analytical tool for developing a shared vision for the future by analyzing various forces (e.g., health, transportation, economic, environmental, land use, etc.) that affect growth. This tool can compare various future alternatives with regard to transportation and community needs to educate stakeholders about growth trends and trade-offs, enabling them to offer targeted feedback that can be incorporated into plans. Scenario planning is an analysis tool that can help achieve the stronger linkages between planning and environment described here.

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FHWA's Tool Kit for Integrating Land Use and Transportation Decision-Making

This tool kit provides a user-friendly source of methods, strategies, and procedures for integrating land use and transportation planning, decision-making, and project implementation. Much of the approach discussed here is about such integration, so these tools, if applied, would achieve stronger Planning and Environment Linkages as well.

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Projecting Land-Use Change: A Summary of Models for Assessing the Effects of Community Growth and Change on Land Use Patterns, U.S. EPA by Schock, Susan; 2000

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Green Infrastructure Plans

This website provides a way to plan and implementing interconnected green space systems (such as parks, trails, and other green spaces) in conjunction with existing and planned gray infrastructure (such as roads and buildings). Green infrastructure planning efforts can provide geographic resource information and conservation priorities that can be used as inputs in the transportation planning process. See the Events section of the website to learn about The Conservation Fund's Green Infrastructure Course, or contact Kris Hoellen at khoellen@conservationfund.org.

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Results: 3

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PEL and Corridor Planning: State of the Practice Review of Planning and Environment Linkages Implementation in Corridor Planning (2014)

This report summarizes a review of transportation corridor plans to determine the extent to which these plans have utilized FHWA's PEL approach, as described in the FHWA Guidance on Using Corridor and Subarea Planning to Inform NEPA. The review found that several States have taken steps to explicitly incorporate PEL elements and mention PEL and the NEPA process in corridor plans. The review found that the most common elements in corridor plans included: transportation problem statement, study purpose and need, corridor definition, and transportation modes.
PDF version

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Guidance on Using Corridor and Subarea Planning to Inform NEPA (2011)

FHWA published this guidance as part of the Every Day Counts and PEL initiative to assist transportation planners and environmental practitioners in the use of corridor and subarea planning to inform the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. This document responds to the need for additional guidance on how best to use corridor and subarea planning to bridge the transportation planning and NEPA processes as described in 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 450 – Linking the Transportation Planning and NEPA Processes.
PDF version

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Using Corridor Planning to Inform NEPA Peer Exchange Summary Report (2010)

This report summarizes the FHWA Peer Exchange on Using Corridor Planning to Inform NEPA, held December 2 and 3, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The peer exchange workshop examined the use of corridor planning studies as a foundation for NEPA decisionmaking. It highlighted several different approaches that states and metropolitan areas across the country have taken in the use of corridor studies. Peers shared lessons learned and made recommendations on how best to use corridor planning to bridge the transportation planning and environmental review processes. PDF version

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Results: 2

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The Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST 1.3)

INVEST is an online self-evaluation tool intended to help transportation agencies incorporate sustainability in decisionmaking. INVEST provides agencies with performance metrics to evaluate progress and chart goals in many areas, including integrated planning and linking planning and NEPA. INVEST was developed by the FHWA Sustainable Highway Initiative.

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A Guide to Measuring Progress in Linking Transportation Planning and Environmental Analysis (2009)

This guide can assist transportation agencies in developing their own programs to measure the successes of PEL-related activities. The guide provides a measurement framework, an overall PEL goal, four sample objectives, and an array of example metrics to track progress toward achieving the goals and objectives.


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