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Environmental Review Toolkit

Interim Guidance on the Application of Travel and Land Use Forecasting in NEPA


   Sent Via E-mail Memorandum

INFORMATION: Interim Guidance on the Application of
Travel and Land Use Forecasting in NEPA
Date: April 12, 2010
Original Signed By:
From: Gloria M. Shepherd
Associate Administrator for Planning, Environment, and Realty
In Reply Refer To: HEPE
To: Directors of Field Services
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers
Division Administrators

Certain transportation analyses have emerged that are critical to a credible and successful National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Some of the most important analyses conducted for transportation projects are travel and land use forecasting as they supply information for purpose and need, alternatives analysis, and environmental impacts.

The purpose of this interim guidance is to encourage improvement in the state-of-the-practice in project-level forecasting as it is applied in the context of the NEPA process. This guidance shares key considerations, collective lessons learned and best practices regarding how to apply forecasting in NEPA. These can be used to help DOTs avoid common issues and improve the quality of forecasts, resulting in faster and more effective project delivery. While technical guidelines for producing forecasts for projects have been documented by others, guidance has not been provided on the procedural or process considerations in forecasting. This guidance attempts to fill that gap.

Webinars and training will be made available to help implement this guidance. Feedback on the guidance is encouraged and will be accepted through September 30, 2010. Feedback will be considered prior to making the guidance final. More information on the training and feedback process can be found in the accompanying Frequently Asked Questions.

This effort fully supports Federal Highway Administration activities to improve the project delivery process and the Every Day Counts Initiative. The guidance recognizes that it is essential to 1) collaborate early with public and the agencies and agree on analysis methods and data, 2) create solid documentation, and 3) manage litigation risk; all of which are characteristics of an improved project delivery process.

For more information concerning this interim guidance, please contact Michael Culp in the Office of Project Development and Environmental Review at, or (202) 366 9229.