Why link transportation planning to environmental processes?
State and local agencies can achieve significant benefits by incorporating environmental and community values into transportation decisions early in planning and carrying these considerations through project development and delivery. Benefits include:
- Relationship-building: By enhancing inter-agency participation and coordination efforts and procedures, transportation planning agencies can establish more positive working relationships with resource agencies and the public.
- Process efficiencies: Improvements to inter-agency relationships may help to resolve differences on key issues as transportation programs and projects move from planning to design and implementation. Conducting some analysis at the planning stage can reduce duplication of work, leading to reductions in costs and time requirements, thus moving through the project development process faster and with fewer issues.
- On-the-ground outcomes: When transportation agencies conduct planning activities equipped with information about resource considerations and in coordination with resource agencies and the public, they are better able to conceive transportation programs and projects that effectively serve the community’s transportation needs. This can reduce negative impacts, and incorporates more effective environmental stewardship.