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Environmental Review Toolkit

Other Environmental Topics

Air Quality

This website provides information on FHWA’s Air Quality programs, including transportation conformity, air toxics, and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program.

Community Impacts

Transportation investments have major influences on society, with significant economic and social consequences. The community impact assessment process alerts transportation planners, decisionmakers, and stakeholders to the likely consequences of a project, and ensures that human values and concerns receive proper attention during project development. Several Federal regulations support the need for a process to evaluate impacts on the human environment. The following resources are available to provide additional information on community impact assessments:

Hazardous Waste & Brownfields

Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or under-used commercial, industrial, and institutional properties where redevelopment and reuse are complicated by light to moderate contamination from hazardous substances and wastes. These properties are most often in urban areas previously used by industrial and commercial operations that generated waste materials. The following resources are available to provide additional information on Hazardous Waste and Brownfields:


This website provides information on FHWA’s highway traffic noise programs, including Noise Compatible Planning, Source Controls, and Highway Project Noise Mitigation.

For a list of more environmental topics, click here.


Integrating the HSM into the Highway Project Development Process

The Integrating the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) into the Highway Project Development Process guide provides information for State and local practitioners on how to integrate the HSM into their project development process. Each section provides an overview of some of the implementation opportunities for the HSM during each stage of the project development process. The HSM, integrated into agency processes and considerations, will support regional, State, and national fatality reduction goals alongside the goals of mobility, the environment, and other competing needs.

Integrating Road Safety into NEPA Analysis

A new tool created by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Transportation Safety Planning Working Group (TSPWG), Integrating Road Safety into NEPA Analysis: Practitioner’s Primer, presents a brief introduction to the topic of addressing safety in the NEPA process. It presents practitioners with basic concepts for including meaningful, quantitative analysis of project safety issues and for taking advantage of the latest tools, research, and techniques for improving road safety. The primer is designed for NEPA practitioners who want to learn more about best practices for analyzing and addressing project safety issues during each stage of the NEPA process. It also is intended to help safety practitioners understand the basics of the NEPA process and where safety considerations can be incorporated.

The Primer is organized into easy-to-use sections that walk users through the steps to accomplish the integration. These steps include:

  • Considering Safety Prior to NEPA;
  • NEPA Overview and Levels of Documentation;
  • Public and Stakeholder Outreach;
  • Purpose and Need Statements;
  • Alternatives Analysis;
  • Defining the Affected Environment; and
  • Analysis of Environmental Impacts and Mitigations.

Further information is provided in the Appendices, including links to on-line courses, tools, and research documents, and several case studies describing best practice approaches used by several States.

FHWA and the TSPWG also developed a brochure that highlights the content in the Primer.


Subject/Title Publication
Integrating Road Safety into NEPA Analysis: Practitioner’s Primer Primer (PDF)
Integrating Road Safety into NEPA Analysis Brochure Brochure (PDF)

Section 6(f)

Section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Act requires that the conversion of lands or facilities acquired with Land and Water Conservation Act funds under the State Assistance program be coordinated with the National Park Service. The following resources are available to provide additional information.

Travel and Land Use Forecasting

Certain transportation analyses have emerged as critical to a credible and successful 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 Interim Guidance on the Application of Travel and Land Use Forecasting in NEPA (PDF) was written to encourage improvement in the state-of-the-practice in project-level forecasting as it is applied in the NEPA process. This guidance shares key considerations, collective lessons learned and best practices regarding how to apply forecasting in NEPA. The guidance can 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.

In February 2018, FHWA released instructions for its staff to help ensure that adequate forecasts are prepared during the NEPA process. These instructions are also released below to facilitate the development of adequate NEPA documents, and to streamline NEPA approvals by ensuring that all necessary information about travel and land use forecasts is present in the NEPA documents.


Subject/Title Publication
Interim Guidance on the Application of Travel and Land Use Forecasting in NEPA Report (PDF)
Instructions for Reviewing Travel and Land Use Forecasting Analysis in NEPA Documents Document (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ (PDF)
11th Street Bridges, Washington DC Case Study (PDF)
Intercounty Connector, Maryland Case Study (PDF)
Mountain View Corridor, Utah Case Study (PDF)
St. Croix River Crossing, Minnesota Case Study (PDF)

Visual Impacts

The public nature and visual importance of our highways necessitates that visual impacts-beneficial as well as adverse-be adequately assessed and considered when a highway project is developed. Public concern over adverse visual impacts can be a major source of project opposition. Highway agencies can help to resolve these controversies by assessing visual impacts, determining the effectiveness of mitigation measures, and incorporating any opportunities for enhancing the visual experience of both travelers and neighbors in the design of their facilities. These guidelines represent the FHWA’s current thinking about best practices on this topic.