Transportation Planning Process Resource Guide
FHWA Division Offices and the Federal Lands Highway offices work with other federal agencies in the transportation development process. Many of the agencies involved are federal land management agencies (FLMAs). FLMAs include: the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Navy, Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Bureau of Reclamation.
- FHWA Successes in Stewardship is a monthly newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining notable practices, Environmental streamlining and stewardship requires transportation agencies to work together with natural, cultural, and historic resource agencies to establish realistic timeframes for the environmental review of transportation projects. The efficient and effective coordination of multiple environmental reviews, analyses, and permitting actions is essential to meeting mandates under SAFETEA-LU.
- Path to Partnership: Rehabilitation of Going-to-the-Sun Road. This project provides a good example of federal agencies working together and with the public. A three-part video is on YouTube
SAFETEA-LU establishes consultation requirements with FLMAs through the Statewide and Metropolitan planning and programming processes. There are other governmental agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that are not FLMAs but are consulted. Each agency has it own guidelines for public involvement and you will want to contact them for specific details:
EJ/Title IV/Traditionally Undeserved Communities
Effective public involvement programs enable transportation professionals to develop systems, services, and solutions that meet the needs of the public, including minority and low-income communities and persons with limited English proficiency.
- FHWA/FTA Environmental Justice Website provides an overview of transportation and environmental justice.
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Discrimination on the grounds of race, color, or national origin shall not occur in connection with programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance.
- Executive Order 12898: "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations," February 11, 1994, and
- Executive Order 13166: "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency," August 11, 2000.
- How to Engage Low-Literacy and Limited-English-Proficiency Populations in Transportation Decisionmaking February 2006.
- Identifying and Engaging Low Literacy and Limited English Proficiency Populations in the Transportation Decisionmaking Process, FHWA Peer Exchange Report, May 2004.
- FHWA course, Fundamentals of Title VI/Environmental Justice (NHI #142042), Environmental justice and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to every stage of transportation decisionmaking. This course presents a framework for using a variety of approaches and tools for accomplishing environmental justice goals in Federal-aid programs and other transportation projects.
- Access Now is an environmental justice handbook and campaign created by the Transportation and Land Use Coalition (TALC) available via web.
- TRB Research Underway-NCHRP Case Studies of Best Practices, Model Initiatives and Mitigation Strategies that incorporate the Principles of Title VI and Environmental Justice in Transportation Decisions (#08-72). This proposed research will seek to show how an awareness of and sensitivity to different cultures and income levels affect the ways in which communities, neighborhoods, and people should be approached.
Engaging Freight Stakeholders
Private sector freight stakeholders are a valuable resource in the statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes. Their involvement can help identify regional, statewide, and multi-jurisdictional challenges and influence transportation programming and investment decisions.
- FHWA Engaging the Private Sector workshop, Provides techniques to initiate private-public sector cooperation, identifies key private sector stakeholders, and suggests ways to improve communication. Length: 1 day in person workshop.
- FHWA Talking Freight Webinar Archives, These web-based seminars provide information to help the freight and planning workforce meet the transportation challenges of tomorrow. Monthly seminars are open at no cost to all interested parties.
- Economic Development Agencies/Groups, These groups have contacts with the business community and can help identify private sector freight stakeholders:
- Freight Industry Groups, These associations have members that are public and private sector freight stakeholders:
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969
Before a project can move forward to construction, the FHWA must address and comply with laws related to the environment. These laws cover social, economic, and environmental concerns ranging from community cohesion to threatened and endangered species. To get through this detailed process, FHWA and FTA use the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to evaluate impacts associated with each individual project.
- An Act to establish a national policy for the environment, to provide for the establishment of a Council on Environmental Quality, and for other purposes.
- FHWA NEPA Project development link can be accessed from the FHWA Environment website,
- FHWA course, NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking (NHI #142005), covers FHWA's policies and procedures for applying the NEPA to the project development and decisionmaking processes related to transportation facilities.
Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS)
CSS is a collaborative approach that involves stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources, while maintaining safety and mobility. CSS principles include the employment of early, continuous and meaningful public involvement and all stakeholders throughout the project development process.
Community Impact Assessment (CIA)
Community Impact Assessment (CIA) evaluates the effects of transportation planning and project implementation on a community and its quality of life. The inclusion of CIA allows for a community's concerns (e.g. mobility, safety, employment effects, relocation, and isolation) to be addressed in the transportation decisionmaking process.
- CIA website, This web site is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and
administered by the University of South Florida.
- California DOT's Environmental Handbook (Volume 4 - Community Impact Assessment), describes the methodological approaches and various sources available for obtaining information on the effects of transportation projects on the community. Key topics include social, economic and public services impacts, land use, and growth.contains methods for CIA.
- Florida DOT's Public Involvement Handbook describes CIA.(socio-cultural) methods.
- Pennsylvania DOT's CSS guidelines require a community context audit. The Community Context Audit is part of the overall Community Impact Assessment (CIA) that is conducted in conjunction with PennDOT's environmental review process as an integral part of the project development process. The Community Context Audit process incorporates views of various stakeholders within the community along with PennDOT from a multi-disciplinary approach. (See Appendix C)