Illinois Department of Transportation
Processing of Environmental Survey Requests
An Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) project is tracked through the environmental survey process using the Project Monitoring Application (PMA) database. This Microsoft Access database can be accessed by IDOT Environmental staff in both the Central Office and all District Offices.
Electronic Environmental Survey Request (ESR) forms were developed to include only data that the District and Central Offices agreed was relevant and available at the phase when ESRs are submitted. These electronic forms were incorporated into the PMA database and are filled out on-line by District Offices. Because the data is entered by the Districts directly into the database it eliminates duplicate entry work by the Central Office. Therefore, when the hard copies, with attachments, are received in the Central Office they can be immediately distributed to the various survey units for processing. Future development is planned for the electronic submittal of attachments (location maps, plan view layouts, ground level photos, etc. ). This will not only do away with the need for storing and retrieval of paper files, but will also allow for on-line viewing of all information pertaining to a project.
An ESR WEB Site was developed for users that do not have direct access to IDOT's PMA database. Local Road Agencies, Consultants, and Engineers may use this site to fill out forms and submit them electronically to the appropriate IDOT District Office. This eliminates the need for duplicate entry work by the District. The District Office is responsible for verifying the project information submitted from the WEB Site. After verification, downloading the data into PMA is accomplished by pushing a button that indicates they accept the record. The District Office then forwards copies of the request with attachments to the proper Central Bureau.
The ESR form includes check boxes for each type of survey requested by the District (Biological, Cultural, Wetlands, or Special Waste screening). When a box is checked the PMA database automatically creates a corresponding status record for that survey type. Each Central Office Unit is responsible for keeping this status record up to date as the survey proceeds through the process. This not only creates on-line files for each unit, but also allows management and District Offices to monitor a projects progress without interruption to unit staff. These records include some of the following types of information: The status of coordination with other state agencies, dates and types of surveys requested to be performed by consultants, projected report due dates, Design Approval dates, etc.
Each project also has a Project Overview record. Its concise data includes the type of surveys requested, Cleared for Design Approval and Cleared for Letting dates, Consultant's Name, the bulletin the project was published in, etc. If the project requires an environmental document or technical report, this information will also be included in the Overview.
A Commitments record, divided by Commitment Type is included for each project. It is used to record Environmental Commitments (Commitment Date, Party Responsible, Commitment Met, etc. ). There is one section for District input and another for Central Office input.
Other IDOT staff (i.e. Design, Land Acquisition) have been given "read" rights to PMA. This allows them to view the status, approval dates, etc. for a project, cutting down on the number of telephone calls and visits made to the Environment Section.
Unit Sign-Off letters and various other unit correspondence is being automated as a part of PMA. This will allow for interaction between database information and correspondence development. The correspondence will then become a part of the projects electronic file.
In the future, PMA will also include the status reports that are now received from our survey consultants on paper. Consultants will submit electronic versions of their status reports that can then be downloaded into PMA and viewed on-line as a part of the project file. This will also eliminate the need for the Central Office to forward these reports to the Districts.
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