Corridor Planning and the Integration of NEPA

This paper will evaluate the development of corridor planning as a tool for DOTs and MPOs, touch on several areas within the NCHRP Report 435, and finish by looking at several case study corridors and how they chose to integrate NEPA into the planning process. In the early 1990’s corridor planning came into vogue as a tool to gauge regional impacts of statewide and regional plans on individual facilities and communities along their reach. This was largely in response to sweeping planning reforms for State Transportation Agencies that required, for the first time, that the state transportation agency itself produce coordinated and updated modal and statewide long-range transportation plans. Once the statewide plans were complete there were many policies and projects, identified and initiated but how were they to be implemented on a statewide level. Should policies on level-of-service and air quality be implemented in the same way in Portland, Oregon as they were in the tiny community of Drain, Oregon where OR 38 is the main street running through town? The answer intuitively seemed to be that there should be different levels of compliance and impact to smaller, more rural areas than metropolitan areas within a state. An updated type of corridor planning that emphasized interdisciplinary process, multi-modalism, and involvement of the public, seemed like the ideal tool to both deliver the statewide plans locally, and engage local stakeholders in a state planning process producing feedback at the local level for the state, and developing partnerships that would benefit project development and delivery activities in the future. As a new generation of corridor plans became more accepted and were being implemented in several states, some in the NEPA community of planners and scientists became concerned that the corridor planning process may be circumventing the rigors of NEPA for alternative development and selection. Still others believed more strongly that corridor planning was a blatant end run around many of the NEPA requirements, and that alternatives were in essence winning favor locally with area stakeholders without the NEPA agencies being given the level of environmental detail necessary to concur or disagree with alternative recommendations. In response to State transportation agency needs, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) initiated development of their Report 435 “Guidebook for Transportation Corridor Studies: A Process for Effective Decision-Making.”

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Pagination: 14p
  • Monograph Title: Eighth National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 18-20, 2002, Cincinnati, Ohio

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045169
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 8 2007 4:02PM