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Note: This information was archived in April 2009. For the current information, see http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/integ/related.asp.
A second connection point would be to link the solutions identified during planning with the alternatives identified during NEPA (see Exhibit I).
Develop a range of overall system solutions and individual project concepts that support the long-term goals envisioned by the community in the planning process that can be used as the starting point for identifying the reasonable range of alternatives in NEPA.
The intent of this linkage is that solutions developed during planning could:
Categories of information that are available to help do this from the planning process include:
The purpose of long-range planning is to define the combination of improvements, infrastructure, and operations that can most effectively address the projected needs. Improvements may be grouped into solutions scenarios that represent significantly different policy decisions (examples of policy scenarios are "high road capacity investment," "high transit investment" or "integrated land use and transportation investment").
As the planning process continues, individual project concepts from various scenarios are combined into a locally preferred alternative that is acceptable to the community. The planning process should document all of the initial scenarios, the project concepts that address the community's major needs (those that are likely to enter NEPA) and new project concepts that emerge as the scenario testing proceeds. While tracking these changes can be complex, it may avoid the re-analysis of an eliminated solution during the NEPA process.
Needs analyses for both the base and future year are reviewed and accepted by technical teams during the long-range planning process. Typically, policy boards review future year assumptions, data, and need analyses to validate that the planning process is reflecting the community's vision and goals.