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About CIA

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Community Impact Assessment (CIA) is an important part of transportation planning and project implementation. The inclusion of CIA allows for a community's concerns (mobility, safety, employment effects, relocation, isolation, etc.) to be addressed in transportation decisionmaking. Various laws, publications, and events have impacted the development of CIA policies and measures. The history of CIA in Transportation began with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the process continues to develop. Listed below are some of the important items in the background and development of Community Impact Assessment in Transportation. While this listing is not exhaustive, it does provide valuable information and is a starting point for further research.

If you have a specific question, it might have been asked before! Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page and see if your question is answered there.

1964 - Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) established the United States' policy that all programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance are prohibited from practicing discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin.

1969 - National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

In 1969, the United States Congress enacted the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the first act of its kind that addressed issues of sustainable development, and brought environmental concerns to the level of national policy. NEPA requires that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared for all federally funded transportation actions that significantly impact the human or natural environment, and also emphasizes the importance of community involvement in this process. More importantly, NEPA provides a framework for considering impacts of Federal-aid projects, and the creation of a Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) uses this framework for the simultaneous consideration of all relevant environmental laws and regulations—thus, the term FHWA NEPA is also used.

1970 - Federal-aid Highway Act

The Federal-aid Highway Act of 1970: 23 United States Code 109(h) specifies that federally funded highway projects assure that all possible adverse effects be fully considered in developing a project, and make final decisions in the "best overall public interest" considering adverse economic, social, and environmental effects such as:

1990 - Federal Highway Administration Environmental Policy Statement

The FHWA Environmental Policy Statement of 1990 (PDF) states that it is FHWA policy to:

1994 - Federal Highway Administration - Environmental Policy Statement (FHWA-EPS)

The FHWA Environmental Policy Statement 1994 states:

It is FHWA policy to:

  • Aggressively pursue improved communication and collaboration with our Federal, State, and local partners in the transportation and environmental communities, including other modal administrations within the DOT.
  • Seek new partnerships with tribal governments, businesses, transportation and environmental interest groups, resource and regulatory agencies, affected neighborhoods, and the public.
  • Ensure that those historically underserved by the transportation system, including minority and low-income populations, are included in our outreach.
  • Actively involve our partners and all affected parties in an open, cooperative, and collaborative process, beginning at the earliest planning stages and continuing through project development, construction, and operation.
  • Ensure the development of comprehensive, cooperative public involvement programs during statewide and metropolitan planning and project development activities.

1996 - Community Impact Assessment: A Quick Reference for Transportation

In 1996, the FHWA, at the request of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), began efforts to refocus transportation professionals and enhance their expertise on addressing community impact issues. Community Impact Assessment: A Quick Reference for Transportation outlines the community-impact-assessment process, highlights critical issues, identifies tools and sources, and heightens awareness of the impacts of proposed transportation actions on communities, neighborhoods, and people.

1997 - National Community Impact Assessment Design Team

In 1997, Leroy Irwin, Manager of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Environmental Management Office, and Gene Cleckley, Chief of the FHWA Environmental Operations Division in Washington, DC, invited several representatives of State departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to serve as members of a CIA Design Team on activities for improving the community-impact-assessment process. Many invitees had participated in the preparation of the Community Impact Assessment: A Quick Reference for Transportation primer. The National Community Impact Assessment Design Team was charged to: form and serve as a steering committee for a National CIA Conference in 1998, and serve as a technical resource to FDOT in the development of a CIA Handbook on Methods. (The handbook is an FDOT-funded research project, separate from the conference).

1998 - Community Impact Mitigation: Case Studies

Community Impact Mitigation: Case Studies was designed to complement the primer, Community Impact Assessment: A Quick Reference for Transportation. The Community Impact Mitigation: Case Studies book provides examples of how major transportation projects have been planned, designed, and constructed across the United States to be neighborhood friendly; avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts; and, in many instances, enhance the livability of communities and neighborhoods.

1998 - First National Community Impact Assessment Workshop

As part of the CIA Design Team's action plan and the continuing initiative to refocus transportation professionals and enhance their skills in addressing the impacts of transportation actions on communities, the first National Community Impact Assessment Workshop was held in Tampa, Florida, September 15 through 16, 1998.

The workshop, hosted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and sponsored by FHWA, was attended by more than 80 practitioners from the United States and Puerto Rico.

Immediately following the workshop, the Research Design Team and other meeting attendees met to discuss early workshop impressions. The goals of that meeting included formulating a program goal statement and strategic plan, National Community Impact Assessment Research Design Team Recommendations for Development of the Strategic Plan. One action item in the strategic plan recommendations was the development of this web site.

1999 - Community Impact Assessment: Strategic Plan

In 1999, the FDOT, in cooperation with FHWA, developed the Community Impact Assessment: Strategic Plan pamphlet for transportation managers to promote the importance of CIA in transportation decisionmaking within their respective organizations.

2000 - Second National Community Impact Assessment Workshop

The Second National Community Impact Assessment Workshop was held in San Diego, California, on August 29 through September 2, 2000. The workshop was hosted by the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) and sponsored by CALTRANS, FHWA, and Federal Transit Administration (FTA). There were 153 attendees, primarily including technical specialists who prepare community analyses, and government transportation practitioners with an interest in transportation planning and project-development decisionmaking. The workshop included a one-half day practicum. The CIA Design Team, chaired by the CALTRANS Headquarters Environmental Program, developed the agenda topics.

2001 - Transportation Research Board Community Impact Assessment Joint Subcommittee

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Community Impact Assessment Joint Subcommittee was established in January 2001 at the Transportation Research Board 80th Annual Meeting. The TRB Community Impact Assessment Joint Subcommittee organized two regional CIA workshops to bring together practitioners and provide the practical tools for CIA.

The first regional workshop, the Northeastern Community Impact Assessment Workshop was held in Newark, New Jersey, on October 29 through 31, 2001. The second regional workshop, the Southern Region Community Impact Assessment Workshop was held in Raleigh, North Carolina, on December 5 through 7, 2001.

2002 - Third National Community Impact Assessment Workshop

The Third National Community Impact Assessment Workshop was held in Madison, Wisconsin, on August 19 through 21, 2002.

2003 - Regional Community Impact Assessment Workshops

In 2003, TRB sponsored two regional CIA workshops. The Workshop, Community Impact Assessment: Connecting with People Today for a Well Designed Tomorrow - Addendum was held in Spokane, Washington, on April 8 through 10, 2003. The Midwest Regional Community Impact Assessment Workshop was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, on September 9 through 12, 2003. A CIA Peer Roundtable was also held at the Indianapolis workshop. The Peer Roundtable brought together representatives of nine state departments of transportation and one representative of a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) to discuss the creation and implementation of CIA guidance.

2004 - Fourth National Community Impact Assessment Workshop

The Fourth National Community Assessment Workshop was held in Portland, Maine, on August 21 through 26, 2004. This Workshop promoted the latest information on the integration of transportation planning and decision making with cultural change, community impact assessment, land-use planning, conflict resolution, and tools to engage the public.

2005 - Pennsylvania DOT Hosts First FHWA CIA Course

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) hosted the pilot of a new FHWA course on CIA in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on March 22 through 24, 2005. This introductory course explained the CIA process and educated participants about how to collect, analyze, and develop solution options that reflect community values. Following anticipated revisions, FHWA held the course again before the end of the year.

2005 - Fifth National Community Impact Assessment Workshop

The Fifth National Community Assessment Workshop was held in Trenton, New Jersey, on September 12-14, 2005.

2005 - TRB Forms a CIA Related Subcommittee

In 2005, TRB reorganized the Community Impact Assessment Joint Subcommittee and designated it as a subcommittee under ADD20 (A1C06) Social and Economic Factors of Transportation.

2006 - Sixth National Community Impact Assessment Workshop

The Sixth National Community Assessment Workshop was held in Denver, Colorado, on July 31 through August 2, 2006.

Updated: 06/20/2014
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