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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Community Impact Assessment

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Community Impacts Assessment Cover

Community Impact Assessment (CIA) is an iterative process to evaluate the effects of a transportation action on a community and its quality of life. It is a way to incorporate community considerations into the planning and project development of transportation projects. Several Federal regulations, statutes, policies, technical advisories, and Executive Orders support the need for a process to evaluate impacts on the human environment.

CIA serves as a framework that helps agencies comply with requirements related to Environmental Justice, Civil Rights, and Public Involvement. It helps agencies identify issues, needs, and possible solutions early in the planning and project development processes and strengthens public involvement by ensuring that affected communities are reached for input. CIA also helps agencies understand the "context" of a community's human environment, which is an essential part of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS), through its iterative data collection process. CSS is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders in providing a transportation facility that fits its setting.Understanding a community's context and the needs of its members helps agencies develop solutions that promote healthy and livable communities.

The Community Impact Assessment: A Quick Reference for Transportation provides information on how transportation agencies can implement CIA. The reference guide defines CIA, outlines the community impact assessment process, and identifies tools and information sources. Below is a list of additional CIA resources to increase awareness.


Related Laws

Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000, Section 601: Protects against discrimination based on race, color, and national origin with respect to Federal programs and benefits. Related statutes added the protected groups: age, sex, and disability.

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA): Requires Federal agencies to conduct analyses for any major Federal actions that may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.

23 USC 109(h), Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970: Requires that the development of Federal projects be made in the best overall public interest, taking into consideration the need for fast, safe and efficient transportation, public services, and the costs of eliminating or minimizing adverse effects on the human environment. This statute lists specific adverse effects to be aware of and eliminate or minimize adverse effects, if possible.

Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970: Establishes a uniform policy for the fair and equitable treatment of persons displaced as a direct result of programs or projects undertaken by a Federal agency or with Federal financial assistance.

Intermodal Surface Transportations Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA): Expanded public participation and made available highway funds for activities that enhance the environment, such as mitigation of damage to wildlife habitat, historic sites, projects to meet air quality standards, bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Executive Order (EO) 12898 on Environmental Justice (1994): Directs Federal agencies to identify and address the disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their actions on minority and low-income populations and to develop a strategy for addressing environmental justice concerns.

Updated: 3/16/2016
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