Transportation planning and project development must reflect the desires of communities, and take into account the impacts on both the natural and human environments. Transportation projects are closely looked at to see how they might impact the community, the natural environment, and our health and welfare. Before any 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.
Three offices within the Federal Highway Administration focus on environmental protection and enhancement. The offices of Natural Environment and Human Environment primarily focus on environmental programs associated with air quality, climate change, sustainability, noise, and on programs associated with the built environment, including transportation enhancements, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The Office of Project Development and Environmental Review focuses on NEPA project development process as a balanced and streamlined approach to transportation decisionmaking that takes into account the potential impacts on both human and natural resources and the public's need for safe and efficient transportation improvements. Information regarding the full range of FHWA environmental programs can be found on this website. If you don't see the topic you are looking for, check our Subject Index.