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Environmental Justice and NEPA in the Transportation Arena: Project Highlights

Appendix A: Methods for Identifying Case Studies and Effective Practices

This report supplements 10 project case studies available on FHWA's Environmental Justice website. The methods used to develop the case studies and report are summarized in this appendix.

Identifying Case Studies

The first step was to conduct a broad scan to identify a minimum of 30 recent transportation projects that effectively addressed environmental justice in the NEPA review process. Potential cases were identified through a wide range of resources:

In addition to the basic project information, the database included a capture of the different aspects of the NEPA process where environmental justice was considered for each potential case:

The database also included an indication of what types of tools or approaches were used:

Finally, any specific issues that were a key component of the environmental justice analysis for each potential case were captured:

Selecting Case Studies

Thirty-eight potential case studies were identified and captured in the database. The consultant team reviewed the information captured for each potential case and recommended 10 for full development. The goal was to collectively address a wide-range of issues, tools, aspects of the NEPA process, project types, locations, and document types in the selected set of cases, while avoiding duplication of the case studies already on the Environmental Justice website. The availability of information was also considered to the extent possible. Recommendations were presented to the FHWA work group which requested some additional information and refinements.

Case Study Development

The cases were intended to be comparable in the level of detail and flow of information to the existing cases on the Environmental Justice website. With that in mind, an annotated outline for the cases was prepared and approved by the work group. The outline was used as a guide for each case study.

The consultant team first requested and reviewed relevant documentation for each case study. The literature review was followed by interviews with those knowledgeable about each project. The goal was to conduct interviews with individuals from the State DOT, the FHWA Division office, and a stakeholder representative from the environmental justice community for each project. For various reasons, including lack of availability and the inability of the transportation agency to identify one individual who could provide a representative picture of the range of environmental justice issues, it was not always possible to interview a community representative. In some cases, consultants working on the project and representatives from other agencies were also interviewed. Interviewees were given a draft copy of the case study and were invited to make comments and corrections to ensure accuracy. At least one interviewee did provide comments on every draft case study. Each case study was reviewed by the FHWA work group and revisions were made.

Preparing the Report

The full case studies are detailed and include much of the surrounding project context. The goal of this report is to highlight the critical aspects and compile and summarize the effective practices documented in the cases. A secondary goal is to draw connections between the effective practices and the 2011 Guidance. An annotated outline was prepared and reviewed by the work group. The work group also reviewed and commented on a draft version of the report.

Updated: 2/4/2013
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