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Integration and Streamlining Transportation Development and Decision Making: State of the Practice Synthesis Report

1 Introduction

Federal transportation and environmental policy in the 1990s, as embodied in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) of 1990 and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA21), has prompted the need for new planning and decision-making processes in the development of transportation solutions by State Departments of Transportation (STDs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). These transportation and environmental policies have focused attention on the efficiency of coordinated, multimodal planning to meet the need for transportation services.

Multimodalism ensures that all potential solutions to transportation problems - ranging from those that increase supply of transportation to those that manage demand - are considered within the context of the planning process. Multimodalism also emphasizes comprehensive and integrated planning as a way to better equilibrate supply and demand while concurrently minimizing externalities such as air pollution, energy consumption, safety and congestion. This new emphasis on utilizing multimodal solutions to achieve our overall societal goals highlights the need for integration among the disciplines of planning, engineering, real estate and environment in the transportation planning process.

Jack Faucett Associates (JFA), an economics and public policy consulting firm, is conducting a project for the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Planning, Environment, and Real Estate Core Business Unit (CBU) entitled, "Integrating and Streamlining Transportation Development and Decision-Making." The goal of the project is to identify successful practices currently employed in the development of transportation solutions by means of integrating the disciplines of planning, environment, real estate, and engineering. The three main products of this project are:

  1. This "State of the Practice" synthesis report which identifies current practices in State Departments of Transportation (STDs) and other transportation agencies.
  2. A "Best Practices" report developed from site visits to 5 or 6 transportation agencies which will illustrate the best examples of integrating and streamlining in the transportation development and decision-making process.
  3. A "Recommendations Report" which will provide recommendations for how the process of transportation decision-making can be improved by better integrating the different disciplines in transportation agencies.

This "State of the Practice" synthesis report constitutes the first of the three main products. The information in this report was developed based upon a review of available literature regarding the development of transportation solutions and the results of the FHWA Integration Solutions Survey. A Sounding Board which included members with expertise in each of the four disciplines provided guidance and support throughout the development of this report. The findings from this report, summarized in the concluding chapter, will serve as a basis for developing the other two main products of this project: the best practices and recommendations reports.

Updated: 9/5/2014
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