BTS Navigation Bar

NTL Menu


A Guide to Metropolitan Transportation Planning Under ISTEA - How the Pieces Fit Together - U.S.D.O.T.





Click HERE for graphic.





Click HERE for graphic.





A Message to the Reader:

Each day, the lives of almost all 260 million Americans are affected by
our Nation's transportation system.  Anyone who wants to go anywhere
finds the opportunities--and limitations--determined by whether and how
the transportation system provides a safe, efficient, and effective
means of travel.  Improving that system is the goal of the Intermodal
Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), which authorizes
Federal highway and transit funding programs.  The ISTEA views planning
as a key strategy to improve the system and investment decisionmaking. 
It provides the framework for better planning and management of the
Nation's transportation system.

President Clinton and Secretary Pea understand the importance of the
transportation network to the Nation's prosperity and quality of life. 
They have committed the Federal Government to providing the funding,
guidance, and technical assistance to State and metropolitan areas that
need it to meet their particular transportation challenges.  As part of
that effort, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal
Transit Administration (FTA) have prepared this guide for transportation
professionals, elected officials, and policymakers, as well as community
and business interests, who want to understand and participate in the
transportation planning and decisionmaking process.

We have two objectives in publishing this guide: first, to provide a
framework for linking the various elements of ISTEA's transportation
planning process together in a comprehensive manner; and second, to
provide information, suggestions, and examples of ways to carry out the
metropolitan planning process.

Part One describes the changes Congress and the President envisioned in
the transportation planning and investment process when they enacted
ISTEA.  Part Two discusses the products of the transportation planning
process: the transportation plan and the Transportation Improvement
Program (TIP).  Part Three describes the elements of transportation
planning and how metropolitan areas can use them to develop
transportation plans and TIP's that meet their needs and the
expectations of the Federal Government.  Part Four provides a reference
guide to Federal regulations, guidance, and other useful information
that have been published on ISTEA and the planning process.

We commend transportation professionals and elected officials throughout
the Nation for their enthusiastic response to the new directions
outlined in ISTEA.  In visiting metropolitan areas throughout the
country, we have seen many examples of good planning practices and
responses to the new requirements.  This guide includes several examples
of how the various elements of the planning practices in ISTEA are being
implemented in different parts of the country.

In spite of the broad progress made thus far, we recognize that the
vision of integrated planning called for in ISTEA is an evolutionary
process that takes time to implement.  The planning process must take
into account local plans and expectations, community values, financial
resources, and prior commitments.  By providing this guide, the FHWA and
the FTA hope to better provide those

                                       1





participating in transportation planning and decisionmaking with the
necessary information to make the most of ISTEA's opportunities for
better meeting the transportation needs of their people and businesses.

We depend on good mobility to build and retain economic competitiveness
in the global marketplace.  We intend to facilitate the transportation
planning and investment process in ways that will provide the
flexibility needed at the State and local levels while ensuring that the
Nation's transportation systems work harmoniously, fully involve our
partners, and fully integrate environmental concerns.  As we work to
improve the Federal Government's operations, we also aim to streamline
and simplify our requirements wherever possible to better serve our
State and local partners.  This guide is one product of this effort and
we hope it proves useful.


   Rodney E. Slater                    Gordon J. Linton
   Administrator                       Administrator
   Federal Highway Administration      Federal Transit Administration

                                       2





                               TABLE OF CONTENTS

  A Message to the Reader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

  Part One: Changes in Metropolitan Planning Under ISTEA. . . . . . . . . 5

  Part Two: Products of the Transportation Planning Process . . . . . . . 7
     Transportation Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
     Transportation Improvement Programs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

  Part Three: Elements of Transportation Planning Under ISTEA . . . . . .11
     How Do the Pieces Fit Together?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
     Public Involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
     Expectations for Public Involvement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
     Metropolitan Planning Factors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
     Expectations Regarding Consideration and Analysis of Planning
     Factors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
     What will Result from Considering and Analyzing these Factors? . . .16
     Major Investment Study (MIS) Requirements. . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
     Expectations in the MIS Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
     What is the Relationship Between the MIS and NEPA
     Requirements?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
     Management Systems Development and Integration into the Planning
     Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
     Congestion Management Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
     How Will the Planning Process Reflect the Input of the Management
     Systems? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
     Transportation and Air Quality Considerations (Conformity) . . . . .24
     Expectations With Respect to Conformity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
     Financial Planning and Constraints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
     Expectations for Financial Constraint of Plans and TIP's . . . . . .26
     National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

Part Four: References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

APPENDIX A-Overview of Transportation Conformity. . . . . . . . . . . . .33

APPENDIX B-Overview of the NEPA Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

APPENDIX C-Relationship Between MIS Process and NEPA Documents. . . . . .41

                                       3





Part One: Changes in Metropolitan Planning Under ISTEA

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) was
a landmark piece of legislation.  It recognizes that the Interstate
Highway System is nearly complete, and that system preservation rather
than construction needs to become the higher priority.

Further, ISTEA recognizes the changing development patterns, the
economic and cultural diversity of metropolitan areas, and the need to
provide metropolitan areas with more control over transportation in
their own regions.

It envisions achieving this through strengthening planning practices and
coordination between States and metropolitan areas and between private
and public sectors, and improving linkages and connections between
different forms of transportation.

The ISTEA recognizes the need for a new outlook on transportation and
how it serves the Nation's economic, mobility, and accessibility needs. 
While metropolitan areas historically have been required to undertake
the "3C" process of "continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive"
planning, ISTEA calls for a more integrated planning process to better
meet the needs of all constituencies.

The ISTEA places significant emphasis on broadening participation in
transportation planning to include key stakeholders who have not
traditionally been involved, including the business community, members
of the public, community groups, and other governmental agencies.  This
challenges transportation professionals and elected officials because
meaningful engagement of diverse interests can be difficult.  However
broader participation should ensure that decisions will be more
responsive to local needs.

The ISTEA also reflects an understanding of the constraints imposed upon
further expansion of the highway network, particularly in metropolitan
areas, and that the maximization of system efficiency and system
preservation need to become priorities.

The ISTEA promotes protection of the human and natural environments (the
fabric of metropolitan areas) and accessibility to--and equity in--the
provision of transportation services.

Finally, ISTEA includes unprecedented linkages to achievement of the air
quality objectives embodied in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990
(CAAA) and in State air quality plans.

The CAAA recast the planning function to ensure that, in areas failing
to meet Federal air quality standards, transportation planning is geared
to improving air quality as well as mobility.  The CAAA challenges
officials to reduce vehicle emissions, to reduce the number of single
occupant vehicles, and to make alternatives such as transit and bicycles
a more viable part of the transportation network.

Given these changes, how can transportation professionals and
decisionmakers fully realize ISTEA's potential?  The balance of this
document provides information and assistance on how to fit the planning
elements of ISTEA together to meet both local needs and national
priorities.

                                       5





Part Two: Products of the Transportation Planning Process

The ISTEA promotes transportation systems that maximize mobility and
accessibility and minimize transportation-related fuel consumption and
air pollution.  To do this, metropolitan planning organizations (MPO's),
in cooperation with the States and key transportation providers, must
develop transportation plans and programs for metropolitan areas.

The metropolitan planning process set forth in ISTEA emphasizes the link
between improved planning and better decisions and provides the tools
for comprehensive planning.  It includes six major elements which,
together, will ensure a planning process which produces investment
decisions that result in safe and efficient mobility and accessibility
and protection of the human and natural environments.

The planning process produces the transportation plan and the
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).  Elements of the planning
process which result in the development of the plan and TIP are depicted
in Chart #1 on the following page and briefly discussed below.  The
chart shows the interactions between these elements and portrays the
continuous nature of transportation planning. (Part Three of this guide
discusses each element in more detail.)

Major Elements of Transportation Planning in Metropolitan Areas

   -  A proactive and inclusive public involvement process;

   -  Consideration of 15 specific planning factors to ensure that the
      transportation planning process reflects a variety of issues and
      considers other concerns such as land-use planning, energy
      conservation, and environmental management;

   -  As part of plan development, major investment studies are
      conducted to address significant transportation problems in a
      corridor or subarea that might involve the use of Federal funds;

   -  Development and implementation of management systems including:

      -   intermodal management system
      -   congestion management system
      -   public transit facilities management system
      -   pavement management system
      -   bridge management system
      -   safety management system

   -  Development of financial plans for implementing the transportation
      plan and TIP; and

   -  Assurance that the transportation plan and UP conform to the State
      implementation Plan (SIP) pursuant to the standards of the CAAA,

These requirements apply to local, metropolitan, and State agencies
involved in metropolitan transportation planning and program
development.

                                       7





                                   Chart #1
                Major Elements of Metropolitan Planning Process


Click HERE for graphic.


                                       8





Transportation Plans

Based on consideration of the six major elements of transportation
planning, the MPO must develop a transportation plan which covers a 20-
year period and identifies facilities (including but not limited to
major roadways, transit, and intermodal facilities) that should function
as an integrated regional system.  The plan needs to include both short-
and long-term actions that develop and maintain an integrated,
intermodal transportation system that is accessible and that efficiently
moves people and goods.

The MPO, in cooperation with the State and such transportation providers
as public transit operators, carries out the metropolitan transportation
planning process.  That includes development of the transportation plan
and the TIP.  They should be developed with input from the public and be
coordinated with transportation providers including regional airports,
maritime operators, rail-freight operators, and others within the area.

      The transportation plan reflects environmental and intermodal
      considerations and provides a financially-constrained vision of
      future transportation investments.

Transportation Improvement Programs

The TIP is a short-term document covering at least 3 years, and it must
be updated at least every 2 years.  The TIP includes the list of
priority projects to be carried out in each of the 3 years.  Projects
included in the TIP must be consistent with the transportation plan.


These projects originate in the following way: the MPO develops a
transportation plan in cooperation with the respective implementing
agencies and the implementing agencies carry out the plan's elements in
the priority reflected in the TIP.

      The TIP serves as a strategic management tool which accomplishes
      the objectives of the plan.

The MPO, the FHWA, and the FTA must determine that new or amended TIP's
conform with the SIP's purpose of attaining the National Ambient Air
Quality Standards (NAAQS).  The only exception is for amendments
involving projects explicitly exempted by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) conformity regulation.

In air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas, the plan and TIP
must give priority to and provide for timely implementation of eligible
Transportation Control Measures (TCM's) included in the approved SIP for
attainment of air quality standards.

In addition, the TIP must be financially constrained by year and include
only those projects for which funding has been identified using current
or reasonably-available revenue sources.  It's financial plan is
developed by the MPO in cooperation with the State and transit
operators.  In order to enable the MPO to conduct adequate financial
planning, the State and transit operators provide the MPO with
information early in the TIP development process concerning the likely
amount of Federal and State funding available to the MPO.

                                       9





in air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas, projects included in
the first 2 years of the TIP must be limited to those for which funds
are available or committed.

The TIP may be modified at any time, with appropriate public
involvement.  However, minor TIP amendments may, unless specifically
required by the MPO public involvement process, be made without public
involvement.  Additionally, projects may be advanced from the second and
third years of the TIP to the first year without a TIP amendment.  In
air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas, modifications must also
be made in accordance with the EPA's conformity requirements.

The TIP must be approved by the MPO and the Governor and a conformity
determination must be made by the FHWA and the FTA.  It then becomes,
without modification, part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement
Program (STIP).  The frequency and cycle for updating the TIP should be
compatible with that of the STIP

                                      10





Part Three:
Elements of Transportation Planning Under ISTEA

How Do the Pieces Fit Together?

This section reviews each of the six major elements of the planning
process, how they fit together to form the basis for the plan and TIP,
and the Federal expectations for each element.  It is designed to guide
metropolitan areas in formulating their strategy for plan and program
development and updates.  It also prepares them for the planning
certification review which the FHWA and the FTA must undertake every 3
years in metropolitan areas with populations of over 200,000.  These
areas are called Transportation Management Areas (TMA's) and they often,
though not always, have the same boundaries as the MPO.

Public Involvement

The ISTEA recognizes that transportation investment decisions have far-
reaching effects.  It requires that planning processes consider such
factors as land-use and "the overall social, economic, energy, and envi-
ronmental effects of transportation decisions."

   Public involvement and input is essential to adequately consider
these impacts.  The intended outcome of the public involvement process
is that better decisions will be made and that those decisions will
reflect the community's mobility and accessibility needs.

Expectations for Public Involvement

While each metropolitan area will have different needs, concerns,
values, and priorities, there are general guidelines on the Federal
Government's expectations of the public involvement process.  It may
also be helpful for the MPO to compare its process to other attempts in
the metropolitan area (for example, by the State, city, county, or
transit operator) to elicit public involvement in planning or service
delivery.

      Effective public involvement will result in opportunities for the
      public to participate in the planning process.

The ISTEA regulations require that a formal public involvement process--
itself the product of public involvement--be adopted by the MPO.
Desirable outcomes of public involvement include:

   -  Informed and involved citizens who have access to public records
      and the decisionmaking process;

   -  A planning approach that is proactive and open to participation by
      all;

   -  A process that not only encourages broad public participation but
      also considers and responds to public input;

   -  Appropriate interagency consultation in air quality nonattainment
      areas;

                                      11





   -  Ample opportunity for public comment when the final plan or TIP
      differs from the draft.  In air quality nonattainment areas which
      are TMA's, at least one public meeting must be held to review
      planning assumptions and the plan development process.  At least
      one meeting must be held during the TIP development process. 
      These meetings may be combined.

MPO's are encouraged to have public involvement in all planning
activities.  Some elements, such as the provision of timely information
and accessibility to information, should be part of the MPO's routine
operations.

In planning certification reviews, Federal agencies will consider
whether adequate public involvement opportunities are provided and they
may suggest that the planning partners augment their efforts to increase
participation of under-served groups.

                          Public Involvement Includes
                         Improved Public Communication

             The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the MPO
             for the San Francisco Bay Area, has compiled a Citizens'
             Guide to MTC to give community members an understanding of
             MTC's roles and responsibilities.  The guide also helps to
             clarify the transportation programming and decision making
             processes.  For information contact:

                                 Ellen Griffin
                                      MTC
                         101 Eighth Street-Third Floor
                           Oakland, California 94607
                                 510/464-7700

The MPO's are encouraged to make continuous efforts to broaden and
improve participation in planning.  MPO's should periodically assess
their efforts and make necessary adjustments.  Plans and programs should
reflect community needs, encompass community values, interests and
priorities, and have broad community support.  Lack of controversy
resulting from planning decisions is not necessarily a measure of
effective public involvement.  Public involvement's impact should be
apparent on all aspects of the overall planning process-including on the
choice of priorities and investment decisions.

                                      12





             Public Involvement Efforts Play Key Role in Minnesota

             The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) has two
             parallel processes to bring citizens and local officials
             into transportation planning--the Process for Transportation
             Investment Decisions (PTID) and the Strategic Management
             Strategy (SMS).

             The PTID places a priority on preserving existing facilities
             and improving their operation, promoting shared authority
             and responsibility for decisions between State and local
             agencies, broadening the planning process, and increasing
             public involvement.

             The SMS is intended to bring a fresh perspective to the
             agency's operations by involving the people and focuses on
             basing State transportation project decisions on long-range
             planning and regional cooperation.  The SMS is designed to
             guide the Mn/DOT staff to increase their responsiveness to
             the public.  The Mn/DOT sponsored eight regional forums to
             gather views on how to create a framework for future
             decisions.  The participants identified forces affecting
             transportation, including trends in education, the economy,
             health care needs, demographics, environment, technology,
             resource availability, and government.  Ten strategic
             directions were set and a "Global Equilibrium" scenario was
             selected.  The scenario reflects a world in which
             collaborative efforts on the part of government, business,
             and citizens effectively utilize resources, technology,
             labor, communication, and funds in ways that benefit
             Minnesotans without penalizing others.  The scenario serves
             as a guide for the Mn/DOT to follow.

             For more information contact:

                          Jon A. Bloom/Barbara Nelson
                    Minnesota Department of Transportation
                     395 John Ireland Boulevard, Room 807
                              St. Paul, MN 55155

                                      13





Metropolitan Planning Factors

The metropolitan planning process must explicitly consider and analyze,
as appropriate, 15 factors that reflect sound planning principles.  It
may be helpful to think about them in three general groupings which
reflect major themes of the ISTEA: Mobility and Access for People and
Goods; System Performance and Preservation; and Environment and Quality
of Life.

These factors should be incorporated in the planning process at an early
stage, although the relevance of each factor will vary depending upon
local circumstances.  The 15 factors, arrayed in the three general
groupings, are:

Mobility and Access for People and Goods

   -  Effects of all transportation projects, whether Federal-aid funded
      or not;
   -  International border crossings and the promotion of access to
      critical areas and activities;
   -  Road connectivity from inside to
   -  outside metropolitan areas;
   -  Enhancement of efficient freight
   -  movement; and,
   -  Expansion and enhancement of transit services and use.

System Performance and Preservation

   -  Congestion relief and prevention
   -  Preservation and efficient use of existing transportation
      facilities
   -  Transportation needs identified through the implementation of man-
      agement systems;
   -  Preservation of rights of way and,
   -  The use of life-cycle costs in the design and engineering of
      bridges,

Environment and Quality of Life

   -  Overall social, economic, energy, and environmental effects of
      transportation decisions;
   -  Consistency of planning with energy conservation measures;
   -  Relationships between transportation and short- and long-term
      land-use planning;
   -  Programming of expenditures on transportation enhancement activi-
      ties; and,
   -  Capital investments that increase transit system security.

          While the manner in which MPO's will consider and analyze the
          planning factors will vary, it is important that the factors be
          given explicit and appropriate consideration.

The FHWA and the FTA recognize the complexities involved in the
consideration and analysis of some of these factors.  Their
consideration may be also be a part of the public involvement process, a
Major Investment Study (MIS), or adjustments to management systems
implementation, all of which are required in the metropolitan planning
process.  Nonetheless, these agencies have established general
guidelines with respect to the consideration and analysis of the 15
factors.


                                      14





             Environment and Quality of Life Concerns Reflected in
                           North Carolina's Planning

          North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt signed an Executive Order
          that called for every reasonable effort" to be made to
          accommodate the development of greenway systems in North
          Carolina." This order was the result of a report developed by
          the North Carolina Greenways Advisory Panel.

          The report called for close ties between greenways, and
          historic preservation and for coordination between the two
          efforts.  It also recommended that State transportation
          officials work with greenway advocates to integrate greenway
          and highway planning.  For more information contact:
                   North Carolina Department of Environment,
                 Health, and Natural Resources P.O. Box 27687
                               Raleigh, NC 27611

Expectations Regarding Consideration and Analysis of Planning Factors

   -  Have processes been developed to consider and assess all fifteen
      factors?

Methods to assemble or collect relevant information about these factors
should be part of the planning process.  This requires an understanding
of many facets of the metropolitan area and linkages with a variety of
officials and organizations.

Consideration of the appropriate factors will benefit from positive
working relationships between State and local governments;
transportation operators and system users; environmental, energy, land-
use planning, housing and development officials and organizations;
citizen advocates; and the general public.

For example, consideration of freight enhancements may require regular
contact with shippers or port authorities.  Assessing land use
implications may require contacts with cities, counties, or other
agencies responsible for zoning and land-use, as well as major
developers.

Transit expansion and enhancements may require contacts with transit
agencies and user groups.  Social, economic, energy and environmental
effects may require active contacts with a wide variety of agencies and
public groups.

          The actual process of considering these factors will differ
          from one metropolitan area to the next and may be qualitative
          or quantitative, as appropriate.

The important point is that processes be put in place to gather
information about the factors and to use the information to consider and
analyze the factors throughout the planning process.  Mechanisms to
gather information about these factors may be formal or informal, but
should provide the MPO with useful information for the analysis of each
factor.

                                      15





   -  Is consideration and analysis of the factors reflected in the
      transportation plan?

Consideration and analysis of the 15 factors is evidence of good
planning and should be reflected in the plan.  For example, a MIS may
result from identification of freight movement problems or problems with
accessibility to jobs by transit in a particular corridor or subarea.

The study may also need to consider and analyze environmental effects,
congestion relief, or short- and long-term land-use plans.  Some of the
factors may not apply to the metropolitan area, and others may be of
greater importance in one area than in another.

What will Result from Considering and Analyzing these Factors?

Integration of the 15 factors into all stages of the planning process
will shape the decisions made on projects and programs included in the
plan and TIP.  As a result of considering these and other relevant
factors, transportation plans and programs should better reflect local
needs and interests and improve decisionmaking.

The public involvement process may be a forum through which complex
linkages and trade-offs between transportation needs and other community
needs and values can be discussed.

            Access and Mobility for People Matters in St. Louis-MPO
                           Strives to Improve Access

          The East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, the MPO for St.
          Louis, Missouri, is initiating a Community Mobility Market
          Analysis in tandem with the Missouri Department of Social
          Services.

          The MPO's goal is to include specific design improvements for
          individual access to the St. Louis region by mid-1995.  An even
          more important initiative is one among several major public
          agencies in the State to locate and deliver services, such as
          child care and social programs, to areas where residents can
          reach them on foot or public transit.  For more information
          contact:

                                 Blair Forlaw
                               East-West Gateway
                             Coordinating Council
                             911 Washington Avenue
                           St. Louis, Missouri 63101

                                      16





Major Investment Study Requirements

Where the planning process identifies a problem in a corridor or subarea
that suggests the possible need for a major investment using Federal
funds, then a MIS may be required.  A "major investment" in the trans-
portation industry is the construction of a large new facility or a
substantial expansion of an existing facility.  Examples of major
investments might include adding lanes to a freeway or limited access
highway or building a light-rail line.  Such projects are likely to have
substantial costs and substantial transportation benefits.

The MIS's purpose is to analyze solutions to address substantial
transportation problems and present this information to decisionmakers. 
As part of the metropolitan planning process, the MIS leads to better
decisions on strategies to be included in the plan.

The identification of the need for a major investment and the need for
an MIS should be a collaborative process in which all stakeholders,
including the public, participate.  Each MIS should be conducted in
accordance with the MPO's adopted public involvement process, which can
be tailored, as needed, to the MIS.

The MIS also provides a framework for addressing transportation problems
that suggest the need for a major Federal investment.  While the MIS
process is not specifically required by ISTEA, it is necessary to
reconcile the various requirements of the ISTEA, the CAAA, and the
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

          The MIS process provides an opportunity for transportation
          professionals to plan with the public and to consider public
          input as crucial to decisionmaking.

Therefore, the MIS integrates the planning and environmental processes. 
For example, if alternatives are adequately considered during the MIS
process with the involvement of citizens and environmental agencies,
they should not need to be reconsidered in the subsequent project
development process.

The overall planning and environmental process can be streamlined
because analyses are only done once.  Chart #2 shows how the MIS process
fits into the overall planning process and a detailed discussion of NEPA
and the MIS relationships appears in Appendices B and C.

The MIS requirement provides a general framework that is extremely
flexible.  The FHWA and the FTA expect that each MIS will be tailored to
the decisions that will be made, the choices available, and the in-
formation that decisionmakers, the public, and other stakeholders need.

The level of detail of the MIS should be appropriate to the decision to
be made and must be sufficient to distinguish between alternative
options.  All aspects of the MIS should be thoroughly documented
including alternatives considered and their impacts on the factors
listed below.

                                      17





                                   Chart #2


Click HERE for graphic.


                                      18





         Strength of the MIS Process Demonstrated in Pocatello, Idaho

          In July 1994, the Bannock Planning Organization (BPO) urged the
          State of Idaho Department of Transportation (IDOT) to do an MIS
          in conjunction with an evaluation it was conducting to deter-
          mine the best way to solve a congestion problem.  The project
          chosen 10 months and $40,000 later, was not one of the original
          three under review.  Thus, the "best" solution was identified
          through the MIS/planning process.  The IDOT was much more
          informed than before the MIS, and the BPO considered funding
          constraints as real issues.  Through the MIS process, all
          stakeholders had good information, and this helped to produce
          public consensus.  The solution chosen was the one that best
          combined cost effectiveness and congestion reduction.  The MIS
          also carried out studies which probably will not need to be
          duplicated under NEPA, saving time and money.  For more
          information contact:

                         Bannock Planning Organization
                            80 South Arthur Avenue
                            Pocatello, Idaho 83204

Expectations in the MIS Process

The MIS should evaluate the overall effectiveness and cost-effectiveness
of alternative investment strategies.  Alternatives selected for study
should include reasonable solutions to the problem, including different
combinations of modes of transportation.

The MIS also should consider factors such as direct and indirect costs
of the alternatives, mobility and accessibility improvements, and the
impacts on social, economic, environmental, safety, operating
efficiencies, land-use, economic development, financing, and energy
consumption.

What is the Relationship Between the MIS and the NEPA Requirements?

The FHWA and the FTA have integrated the MIS requirement with that of
NEPA and its subsequent guidance.  For ease of reference, and a better
understanding of how the MIS process and NEPA fit together, more
information on NEPA requirements is included the next section of this
guide and in Appendix B.

As envisioned by the FHWA and the FTA, the MIS can be documented in two
different ways: either in a final report or in a draft environmental
document.  The choice of which process to use lies with the cooperating
partners and should be carefully considered prior to initiating the MIS. 
The two scenarios anticipated by the Federal agencies in the
documentation of an MIS and the integration with existing NEPA
requirements discussed in detail in Appendices B and C.

Management Systems Development and Integration into the Planning Process

To ensure that transportation infrastructure is effectively managed and
maintained and that it operates as efficiently as possible, ISTEA called
for each State to develop six management systems.  Three of these
systems (pavement, bridge, and public transit facilities) focus
primarily on asset management.   They are intended to track asset
conditions concerning the operational, maintenance, safety, repair, and
replacement needs of these assets and provide input to the
transportation

                                      19





planning and program development process so their continued viability is
ensured.

The other three systems (intermodal, congestion management, and safety)
are oriented toward ensuring efficient performance of the transportation
network.

While all but the congestion management system (CMS) are to be developed
by State DOT's, the CMS should be developed for metropolitan areas with
close coordination between the State, the MPO, and other major
stakeholders such as freight operators, ports, airports, and transit
agencies.  In nonattainment TMA's, ISTEA explicitly limits SOV capacity
projects to those which are products of a CMS.

The actions, strategies, and needs identified through the implementation
of the management systems, including those which enhance system
performance, should be considered and reflected in the development of
and revisions to the transportation plan and TIP.

The States must certify annually that the management systems are being
implemented.  Chart #3 provides an illustration of how management
systems and their input can be incorporated into the planning process.

          Management systems should provide information that will enhance
          investment decisions and improve system efficiency.

Congestion Management System

The Congestion Management System (CMS) should include an ongoing method
to provide information on the performance of the transportation system
and on alternative strategies to alleviate congestion and enhance
mobility.

The key to the CMS in metropolitan areas is monitoring and analysis of
the entire transportation system's performance, in the broadest terms,
not the performance of one mode or another as measured by narrowly-
defined mode specific criteria.  Performance can be measured in terms of
congestion relief and other State- and- locally- selected performance
indicators.

The CMS is designed to emphasize effective management of existing
facilities through use of travel demand and operational management
strategies.

In TMA's that are in nonattainment of ozone or carbon monoxide (CO)
standards, Federal funds may not be advanced for any new project that
will significantly increase the carrying capacity for single-occupant
vehicles (SOV's) unless the project results from a CMS.

SOV projects that are a part of the CMS must include operational
management and/or travel demand reduction strategies to effectively
manage these facilities so system performance does not worsen after the
facilities are constructed.

                                      20





                                   Chart #3


Click HERE for graphic.


                                      21





The CMS should include the following components as appropriate:

   -  Performance measures;

   -  A program for continuous data collection and system monitoring;

   -  Identification and evaluation, as part of the planning process, of
      possible congestion management strategies, including but not
      limited to:

      -   travel demand management measures;
      -   traffic operational improvements;
      -   measures to encourage use of high occupancy vehicle lanes
          (HOV);
      -   public transit capital and operational improvements;
      -   measures to encourage use of nonmotorized modes;
      -   congestion pricing;
      -   growth management;
      -   access management techniques;
      -   incident management techniques;
      -   intelligent transportation systems applications;
      -   addition of general purpose lanes;

   -  Incorporation of strategies into plans and TIP's; and,

   -  Evaluation of the effectiveness of implemented strategies.

Intermodal Management Systems

Since new transportation investments should complement existing
infrastructure and improve the efficiency of the transportation system
as a whole, intermodal management systems (IMS) are meant to ensure that
connections and transitions between modes for both passenger and freight
service are as seamless as possible.

States are taking different approaches to developing their IMS.  Since
the ISTEA was enacted, much emphasis has been placed on improving
connections between modes, particularly for the freight sector.  Many
examples exist of projects which have been adopted into plans and TIP's
to achieve smooth connections, and MPO's are encouraged to consider the
needs reflected in the State's IMS in their plan and TIP.

Public Transit Facilities Management System

The public transit facilities management system (PTMS) is intended to
provide decisionmakers with sufficient information to select cost-
effective strategies for providing and maintaining transit assets in a
serviceable condition.

The PTMS supports Statewide and metropolitan planning and programming by
identifying transit capital needs.  Development of the PTMS should be a
collaborative effort, with State DOT's, MPO's, and transit operators
cooperatively defining system goals and objectives which best meet
community needs.

          Information gathered in management systems implementation
          should be used in planning.  Potential strategies identified to
          manage system deficiencies or to enhance system performance
          should be analyzed in the development of plans and TIP's.


                                      22





How Will the Planning Process Reflect the Input of the Management
Systems?

The integration of the results of management systems into plans and
TIP's could result in strategies that reduce congestion and travel
demand; improve safety; improve mobility; reduce vehicular emissions;
and improve the efficiency of transportation facilities.

The performance measures or other evaluative processes used in the
management systems should assist the MPO in assessing the needs and
priorities for projects and programs.

                                      23





Transportation and Air Quality Considerations (Conformity)

One of the most dramatic examples of how transportation planning changed
under ISTEA is the linkage with the transportation conformity
requirements of the CAAA.

The integration of transportation and air quality planning is required
in areas that fail to meet the NAAQS and in so-called "maintenance"
areas.  The EPA issued the transportation conformity rule in 1993, and
compliance with its requirements is mandatory for nonattainment or
maintenance areas.

Basics of Transportation Conformity

The essence of transportation conformity is that, in nonattainment and
maintenance areas, transportation plans and programs which are financed
wholly or partly with Federal-aid are required to be in conformance with
the transportation provisions of the SIP--the statewide planning
document which demonstrates how each State will attain the NAAQS.

          Requirements to consider the linkages between transportation
          and air quality planning have served as a catalyst to encourage
          broader thinking about the impacts of transportation
          investments.

For ozone and CO nonattainment areas, the MPO must coordinate the
development of the transportation plan with the process for developing
TCM's included in the SIP.

The TIP must be consistent with the transportation plan.  Additional
requirements of ISTEA for prioritization of projects in the TIP within
3-year time periods complement the CAAA's priority and 3-year emission
reduction requirements applying to the more serious nonattainment areas.

The roles of the FHWA and the FTA are explicitly articulated in the
conformity regulation, and the planning process in affected areas must
address conformity and air quality issues in several ways.  Appendix A
contains an overview of the EPA's transportation conformity
requirements.

Expectations With Respect to Transportation Conformity

Conformity with a SIP means conformity to a SIP's purpose of eliminating
or reducing the severity and number of violations of the NAAQS and
achieving expeditious attainment of the standards.  There are
significant differences in the way the MPO's will address air quality
issues depending on whether they are attainment areas (i.e. never been
designated as nonattainment areas) or nonattainment or maintenance areas
(i.e. previously nonattainment but redesignated as attainment).

The MPO must make conformity determinations on the plan and TIP to
ensure they conform to the SIP.  The FHWA and the FTA must also review
the plan and TIP and make a conformity determination in order for the
projects contained in the plan and TIP to be eligible for Federal
funding or approvals.

                                      24





Financial Planning and Constraints

One of the most challenging requirements of ISTEA is that financial
planning needs to be fully integrated into the plan and TIP development
process.

Resources are limited at all levels of government, and financial
planning is fully appropriate for transportation plans and TIP's.  The
purpose of this requirement is to encourage good financial planning and
to prevent plans and TIP's from becoming "wish-lists" of projects with
no realistic chance of implementation.  Without constraints, the need to
make choices and set priorities is often ignored.  Financial constraint
requirements also ensure that maintenance and operation of the existing
system is funded.

The plan must also include a financial element which identifies
resources that are reasonably expected to be available to carry out the
plan and recommends any innovative financing techniques needed to fund
projects and programs, including such mechanisms as value capture,
tolls, and congestion pricing.

One of the reasons that the financial constraint requirement is so
challenging is that it forces policymakers, to consider trade-offs and
make choices among alternative transportation investments and policies.

Although the MPO adopted plan must be financially constrained, at the
option of local officials, a "vision plan" may be prepared that provides
value by illustrating additional facilities and services that the region
may wish to implement.  Vision plans are useful as way to explore new,
imaginative, or innovative funding sources for transportation
investments.

                      Vision Plan Pays Off in Los Angeles

          In 1980, in response to the development of a long-range
          transportation plan presented by the then-Los Angeles County
          Transportation Commission, the voters of Los Angeles County
          approved a  percent sales tax to be dedicated to transpor-
          tation investments.

          The voters approved another  percent sales tax in 1990.  These
          two tax measures now provide approximately 70 percent of the
          transportation funds available in Los Angeles County, over $700
          million in riding per year that was not available prior to
          1980.

Financial Element of Transportation Plans

"Fiscal constraint" for transportation plans means that the total
estimated costs of projects included in a plan cannot exceed estimated
revenues and the estimated cost of constructing, operating, and
maintaining the total (existing plus planned) transportation system over
the period of the plan.

          Financial constraint requirements for plans do not prohibit the
          inclusion of projects where funding is uncertain, but merely
          require that such projects be linked to new funding sources,
          and that a reasonable strategy for securing funds be included
          in the plan.

The financial plan should identify which projects can be implemented
using current revenue sources and which projects are to be implemented
using proposed revenue sources.

                                      25





If these funds are proposed from new revenue sources, realistic
strategies to ensure their availability must be identified.

Financial Element of the TIP

The TIP must be financially constrained by year and cover at least 3
years.  Only projects for which funds can reasonably be expected to be
available during the period of the TIP may be programmed.

          For TIP's, financial constraint means funds must be identified
          for the period of the TIP and associated with specific pro-
          jects.  In nonattainment areas, the TIP must be constrained for
          the first 2 years to available and committed funds.

Expectations for Financial Constraint of Plans and TIP's

Below are suggestions to help MPO's in their financial planning.

   -  Revenue estimates and estimated costs of building, operating, and
      maintaining the transportation system in the metropolitan region
      should be developed, recognizing that uncertainties exist about
      the availability of funds from other agency's budgets, economic
      forecasts, and unforeseeable events.  In addition, more reliable
      cost estimates will emerge from the project development and
      detailed planning process.

   -  Notwithstanding such uncertainties, the State, transit operators,
      and other involved agencies are encouraged to provide timely and
      accurate revenue estimates to the MPO concerning what sources and
      amounts of Federal and other funds they estimate will be available
      to the region.

   -  Realistic cost and revenue estimates should be incorporated into
      the goals, priorities, and criteria for transportation plan and
      TIP development.  One reason for this requirement is that it
      prevents capital investments in new capacity while ongoing
      operations, rehabilitation, and maintenance needs go unfunded.

   -  Financial studies and cost projections should be documented in a
      consistent and realistic manner.

   -  All parties participating in the planning process should be
      informed about project costs and available financing.

   -  When a new revenue source is proposed in a plan or a TIP, a
      reasonable and timely strategy for securing the additional revenue
      is essential.

For example, funds requiring a technical change in a State tax law might
reasonably be available if the law has already received considerable
support, although not formal approval, from the Governor and a majority
of the State legislature.

However, reliance on funding from a ballot initiative that has failed
five times may not be reasonable.  Further, funds from a sales tax
increase that will become available 2 years from the effective date of
the TIP may be assumed to be available in year three, but not year one
or two of the TIP.

                                      26





NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT

   NOTE:  While the NEPA requirements were not changed as a result of the
   ISTEA, the FHWA and the FTA continue to streamline the NEPA process
   and integrate the various planning and project development components
   of the ISTEA with NEPA procedures. Therefore, this guide provides
   basic information on NEPA requirements especially because of the many
   linkages with the MIS and planning processes.  It should be stressed
   that the NEPA process focuses on projects after they have been
   included in the plan and TIP.  For a more detailed look at the NEPA
   process and its relationship to MIS, refer to Appendices B and C
   where both processes are discussed

In August 1987, the U.S. DOT issued regulations governing environmental
impact statements and related documents under grant programs
administered by the FHWA and the FTA.  The rules were designed to
streamline the project-development process and delegate greater
decisionmaking authority to Federal agency field offices.

The regulations were also intended to contribute to the establishment of
a streamlined, "one-stop environmental process" in which public
involvement is fully integrated with the other project development and
environmental procedures.

When U.S.DOT concludes the NEPA process with a Record of Decision (ROD),
a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), or a Categorical Exclusion
(CE), it has made a determination of a proposal's concept, location, and
major design features.  This is in addition to a comprehensive review of
social, economic, and environmental impacts along with mitigation and
enhancement.

This entire process is a collaborative effort involving the public,
affected parties, decisionmakers, and other Federal, State, and local
agencies.  This combining of requirements into the NEPA documentation is
a clear attempt to avoid situations such as having an agency meet all
the necessary requirements to be in full compliance with NEPA, only to
then, for example, request a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, and be forced to go back and revisit the same issues covered
in the NEPA document.

          The NEPA process is much more than a simple review of factors
          relating to the environment, such as wetlands, community
          impacts, or air quality.  It has been carefully nurtured over
          the years to create a framework for project decision-making
          relating to the location and major design features of the
          proposed project.

          The NEPA process involves the consideration of alternatives,
          identification of the impacts of those alternatives, public
          involvement, and an interdisciplinary approach before decisions
          are made.  The NEPA is not just about preparing documents.

          In order to create the opportunity for "one-stop" shopping at
          the Federal level, the document prepared to comply with the
          NEPA is the instrument used to address the requirements all
          other related environmental laws, such as the CAAA, Clean Water
          Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.

                                      27





                   Pittsburgh's Southern Expressway Project:
             Cooperation between Agencies Pays-off in NEPA Process

          In the mid-1980s, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
          approved a FONSI for the relocation of the Greater Pittsburgh
          International Airport.  The FAA's FONSI included a reference to
          a new expressway to serve the airport.

          The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the
          FHWA worked together to advance an Environmental Impact
          Statement (EIS) quickly with the FAA's cooperation.  A series
          of monthly meetings were convened to resolve major concerns and
          objections which had been raised over the original Draft
          Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

          Issues such as project need, traffic projections, land-use
          plans, development of alternatives, wetlands avoidance and
          mitigation plans were revisited.  Through a cooperative
          approach and effort, the Final Environmental Impact Statement
          (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) were completed in time to
          construct the road before the new terminal opened.  This model
          served in the development of techniques later employed by the
          FHWA's Region 3 NEPA/404 Integration Task Force.

When the U.S. DOT is the lead agency for a proposal, the NEPA process is
used to build agency and public consensus for the location and major
design features, not just the "environmental clearance." The primary
focus is on ensuring an efficient process that includes concurrent
reviews and involvement and avoids sequential review by Federal
agencies.

The greatest impact the ISTEA and the CAAA have had on the NEPA process
has been to place even more emphasis on considering environmental and
social factors in the early stages of decisionmaking.

In air quality nonattainment areas, since projects must come from a
transportation plan that is in conformance with the SIP, the design
concept and scope must be adequately defined to make that determination.

Many of U.S. DOT's current efforts with the MPO's, State DOT's and
resource agencies are devoted to developing ways to merge traditional
planning processes with improved social and environmental
considerations.

                                      28





Part Four: References

The following is a chronological list of references, including
regulations and guidance that have been issued by the FHWA, the FTA, or
the EPA concerning various aspects of the metropolitan planning process
and related activities.  Copies of any of these publications,
regulations, or guidance may be obtained by contacting the FHWA or the
FTA at 400 Seventh St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590.

In addition, many other publications have been issued relating to ISTEA
implementation by both public and private sector organizations, States,
and non-profit groups.  Information on obtaining such documents may be
obtained by contacting trade associations, non-profit organizations,
State departments of transportation, MPO's, and the Transportation
Research Board.

Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Title
23, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 771, (1987) Final Rule:
Environmental Impacts and Related Procedures August 28, 1987.

Federal Highway Administration, (1992) Air Quality Programs and
Provisions of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of
1991, August 1992, FHWA-PD-92-022.

Federal Highway Administration, (1992) Transportation Prop-rams and
Provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, October 1992, FHWA-
PD-92-023.

Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, (1993)
Management and Monitoring Systems; Proposed Rule, Federal Register,
Title 23 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 500, et al., Title 49, Code
of Federal Regulations, Part 614,
March 2, 1993.

Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, (1993)
Statewide Planning, Metropolitan Planning; Rule Federal Register, Title
23, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 450, Title 49, Code of Federal
Regulations, Part 613, October 28, 1993.

U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency, (1993) Air Quality:
      Transportation Plan, Programs, and Projects: Federal or State
      Implementation Plan Conformity: Rule Federal Register, Title 40
      Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 51 and 93, November 24, 1993.

Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, (1994)
Innovations in Public Involvement for Transportation Planning.  FHWA-PD-
94-02 1, January 1994.

Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice
in Minority and Low Income Populations, February II, 1994.

Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, (1994)
Federal Certification of the MPO (TMA) Planning Process, April 28, 1994.

                                      29





Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, (1994)
Financial Planning Technical Assistance, May 31, 1994.

Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, (1994)
Guidance on Major Investment Studies, August 19, 1994.

Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, (1994)
Public Involvement in Transportation Decisions, November 16, 1994.

Federal Highway Administration, (1994) Draft DOT Environmental Order,
December 23, 1994.

Federal Highway Administration, (1994) Rebuilding America: Partnership
For Investment FHWA-PL-95-023, December, 1994.

Federal Highway Administration, Innovative Financing Initiative:
Innovative Financing-Test and Evaluation Project TE-045.

Federal Transit Administration, (1994) Livable Communities Initiative.

National Transit Institute, (1995) Video conference on Major Investment
Studies.

Federally Sponsored Planning Reviews

U.S.  Department of Transportation, (March 1993) Review of the
      Transportation Planning Process in the Chicago Metropolitan Area,
      Research and Special Programs Administration, John A. Volpe
      National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA. 
      RSPA/VNTSC-SS-TM39202.

U.S.  Department of Transportation, (August 1993) Review of the
      Transportation Planning Process in the Southern California
      Metropolitan Area Research and Special Programs Administration,
      John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge,
      MA.  RSPA/VNTSC-SSTM392-03.

U.S.  Department of Transportation, (March 1993) Review of the
      Transportation Planning Process the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area,
      Research and Special Programs Administration, John A. Volpe
      National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA. 
      RSPA/VNTSC-SSTM392-04.

U.S.  Department of Transportation, (July 1993) Review of the
      Transportation Planning Process in the Houston Metropolitan Area,
      Research and Special Programs Administration, John A. Volpe
      National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA. 
      RSPA/VNTSC-SS-TM39205.

                                      30





U.S.  Department of Transportation, (March 1993) Review of the
      Transportation Planning Process in the Minneapolis-St.  Paul
      Metropolitan Area, Research and Special Programs Administration,
      John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge,
      MA.  RSPA/VNTSC-SS-TM392-06.

U.S.  Department of Transportation, (November 1994) Review of the
      Transportation Planning Process in the Portland, Oregon
      Metropolitan Area, Research and Special Programs Administration,
      John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge,
      MA.  RSPA/VNTSC-SS-TM392-07.

U.S.  Department of Transportation, (September 1994) Review of the
      Transportation Planning Process in the Sacramento Metropolitan
      Area, Research and Special Programs Administration, John A. Volpe
      National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA. 
      RSPAIVNTSC-SS-TM392-08.

U.S.  Department of Transportation, (November 1994) Review of
      Transportation Planning Process in the Denver Metropolitan Area,
      Research and Special Programs Administration, John A. Volpe
      National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA- RSPA/VNTSC-
      SS-TM3 9209.

                                      31





                                ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This guide contains several examples of planning practices found
throughout the United States and documented through the efforts of the
Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP).  The work of the
Transportation Systems Center (TSC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has
also been extremely helpful and used extensively in assembling this
guide.  The TSC, under contract to the FTA and the FHWA has thoroughly
reviewed and documented planning activities in nine metropolitan areas
over the past several years.  The gracious assistance and sharing of
information by both groups is much appreciated.  This guide was prepared
by Sarah J. Siwek & Associates under contract to the FHWA.

                                      32





                                  APPENDIX A
                     OVERVIEW OF TRANSPORTATION CONFORMITY

What is Conformity?

Conformity is a determination made by MPO's and U.S. DOT that
transportation plans and programs in air quality nonattainment and
maintenance areas meet the "purpose" of the SIP: reducing pollutant
emissions to meet the NAAQS.

Specifically, the transportation plan and program must contribute to
reducing motor vehicle emissions; and projects must be drawn from a
conforming transportation plan and TIP.  All regionally-significant
projects, including non-federally assisted projects, must be included in
the plan and TIP conformity analysis.  Chart #4 illustrates the steps in
the conformity process.

According to the CAAA, transportation plans and programs cannot:

   -  Create new NAAQS violations
   -  Increase the frequency or severity of existing NAAQS violations
   -  Delay attainment of the NAAQS

Who Makes the Conformity Determination?

The MPO and the U.S. DOT have an "affirmative responsibility" to ensure
that the metropolitan transportation plan and program conform to the
SIP.  Conformity determinations for projects within and outside of the
metropolitan area's boundaries1 are the responsibility of the U.S. DOT
and the project sponsor.

How Often Is the Conformity Determination Made?

Conformity determinations are to be made no less than every 3 years or
as changes are made to plans, TIP's, and projects.  Certain events, such
as SIP revisions that establish or revise a transportation related
budget or that add or delete TCM's will also trigger a new conformity
determination.  For exact schedules, see the transportation conformity
regulation promulgated by the EPA (Federal Register, Title 40, Code of
Federal Regulations, Parts 51 and 93) on November 24, 1993.
___________________________

   1  In air quality nonattainment areas, the planning boundaries
coincide with the nonattainment boundaries, except as otherwise provided
by agreement between the affected MPO and the Governor.  This will
include the "donut-shaped" area located outside the urbanized planning
boundaries, but within the nonattainment boundaries.  If boundaries are
revised, it is the responsibility of the MPO and the State to determine
how conformity in the nonattainment area outside the planning area will
be ensured.

                                      33





Click HERE for graphic.


                                      34





What help is available to an MPO to ensure its transportation plan and
TIP conform to the SIP?

Conformity determinations for transportation plans, TIP's, and projects
are based on the EPA transportation conformity regulations and
summarized below:

Transportation Plans and Programs

   -  The transportation plan and program must be fiscally constrained.
   -  The transportation plan and program must use the most recent
      estimates of mobile source emissions and latest planning
      assumptions.
   -  The transportation plan and program must provide for expeditious
      implementation of TCM's in the SIP.
   -  The transportation plans and programs of MPO's for areas
      designated as nonattainment and maintenance areas for ozone or CO
      must contribute to annual emissions reductions and/or meet
      emissions budgets.
   -  The transportation plan and programs of MPO's for areas designated
      nonattainment and maintenance areas for PM10 and NOx must
      contribute to emissions reductions or must not increase emissions;
      or meet emission budgets.

Transportation Projects

   -  Transportation projects must come from conforming transportation
      plan and TIP.
   -  The design concept and scope of the project that was in place at
      the time of the conformity finding must be maintained throughout
      implementation.  The design concept and scope refer to the number
      and types of roadway lanes, degree of access control, etc.
   -  Project design and scope had to be sufficiently defined to
      determine emissions at the time of the conformity determination
      for the TIP.
   -  A project in CO nonattainment areas must show a reduction in the
      number and severity of CO violations in the area substantially
      affected by the project.

             or, if these criteria cannot be met:

   -  Demonstrate that the project emissions, when considered with the
      emissions projected for the conforming transportation plan and
      TIP, do not cause the plans and programs to exceed the emissions
      budget in the SIP.

Other procedures and criteria that are addressed by the conformity
regulations are:

   -  Consultation procedures to ensure coordination and cooperation by
      the MPO, State transportation and air quality agencies, and the
      DOT before the conformity determination is made;

   -  How conformity determinations will be made with respect to
      maintenance plans.

                                      35





Each State must revise its SIP to include conformity procedures and
criteria based on those established in EPA's regulations.  It is
important for State and local transportation and air quality officials
to work together in the initial development and periodic updates of
these procedures.

What happens if a transportation plan, TIP, or project does not meet the
conformity requirements?

If a transportation plan, TIP, or project does not meet conformity
requirements, transportation officials have the following options:

   -  Modify the plan, TIP, or project to offset the emissions;
   -  Work with the appropriate State agency to modify the SIP to offset
      the plan, TIP, or project emissions;

If the above is not accomplished, the plan, TIP, or project cannot
advance.  This can affect both transit and highway projects.

Other Requirements

Agreements and procedures must be in place between the MPO and the air
quality agency describing roles and responsibilities for transportation
related air quality issues.

   -  For ozone and CO nonattainment areas, the MPO must coordinate the
      development of a transportation plan with the process for
      development of the TCM's in the SIP.

   -  Any projects that will significantly increase capacity for SOV's
      in TMAs that are classified as nonattainment for ozone and/or CO
      must result from a CMS and must incorporate all reasonable
      strategies to effectively manage the SOV facility.

   -  The environmental effects of transportation decisions must be
      considered as one of the planning factors regardless of the
      metropolitan area's air quality classification.

   -  Environmental effects of transportation decisions must be
      considered in the MIS process.

   -  The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) for each TMA must
      describe all metropolitan transportation and transportation
      related air quality planning activities planned during the next 1
      or 2 year period.

   -  Plans and TIP's must be financially constrained in accordance with
      the financial constraint requirements of the metropolitan planning
      regulations.  In nonattainment areas, all funds for the first 2
      years of the TIP must be shown to be available by year and
      committed to those projects.  In addition, the nonattainment area
      must show that it can operate and maintain the existing
      transportation system and services.

                                      36





                                  APPENDIX B
                         OVERVIEW OF THE NEPA PROCESS

Policy Context of 1987 NEPA Regulation

As stated in the 1987 Final Rule, "to the fullest extent possible, all
environmental investigations, reviews, and consultations be coordinated
as a single process, and compliance with all applicable environmental
requirements be reflected in the environmental document required by the
regulation."  NEPA documentation also will ensure that "alternative
courses of action be evaluated and decisions be made in the best overall
public interest based upon a balanced consideration of the need for safe
and efficient transportation, the social, economic, and environmental
impacts of the proposed transportation improvement, and of National,
State, and local environmental protection goals.

Classes of Actions

There are three classes of actions which prescribe the level of
documentation required in the NEPA process.  The actions relate to the
type of transportation investments and, in normal circumstances, their
anticipated impacts on the environment.

Class I (Environmental Impact Statements)  These are actions which
significantly affect the environment and require an Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS).  Examples of such actions are a new controlled-access
freeway or new construction or extension of fixed-rail transit
facilities.

Class II (Categorical Exclusions)  Categorical Exclusions (CE's) are
actions which normally do not individually or cumulatively have a
significant environmental effect and are excluded from the requirement
to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) (See class 3).  Examples of
such types of projects are:

   -  Activities which do not involve or lead directly to construction,
      such as planning and technical studies, engineering to define the
      elements of a proposed action or alternatives so that social,
      economic, and environmental effects can be assessed;
   -  Approval of utility installations along or across a transportation
      facility;
   -  Construction of bicycle paths, pedestrian lanes, and facilities;
   -  Activities included in a State highway safety plan;
   -  Installation of noise barriers or alterations to existing publicly
      owned buildings to provide for noise reduction;
   -  Landscaping;
   -  Installation of fencing, signs, pavement markings;
   -  and Emergency repairs.
___________________________

   2  Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration,
Title 23 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 771, Final Rule:
Environmental Impacts and Related Procedures, August 28, 1987.

                                      37





Additional actions may be designated as CE'S Subject to Federal
approval.  To obtain such approval, the applicant (MPO, State, or
transit operator) should demonstrate that the specific conditions or
criteria for these CE's are satisfied and that significant environmental
effects will not result.  Examples of actions whose impacts may be such
that they may be classified as CE's include:

   -  Modernization of a highway by resurfacing, restoration, or
      rehabilitation;
   -  Reconstruction, adding shoulders, or adding auxiliary lanes;
   -  Highway safety or traffic operations improvement projects
      including the installation of ramp metering control devices and
      lighting;
   -  Bridge rehabilitation, reconstruction, replacement, or
      construction of grade separations to replace existing at-grade
      railroad crossings; and,
   -  Approvals for changes in access control.

Class III (Environmental Assessments)  Actions in which the significance
of the environmental impact is not clearly established call for
Environmental Assessments (EA's).  All actions that are not Class I or H
are Class HI.  All actions in this class require the preparation of an
EA to determine the appropriate environmental document required.  An EA
can result in a recommendation to the FHWA or the FTA for a finding of
no significant impact (FONSI) or for a full EIS.

An EA must be prepared by the applicant in consultation with the Federal
agency (FHWA or FTA) for each action that is not a CE and does not
clearly require the preparation of an EIS, or where the Federal
Government believes an EA would assist in determining the need for an
EIS.

Public Participation Process for Environmental Assessments

For actions which require an EA, the applicant, in consultation with
DOT, should at the earliest appropriate time, begin consultation with
interested agencies and others, including the public, to advise them of
the scope of the project.

The scope of the EA should achieve the following objectives: determine
which aspects of the proposed action have potential for social,
economic, or environmental impacts; identify alternatives and measures
which might mitigate adverse environmental impacts; and identify other
environmental review and consultation requirements.  The applicant must
accomplish this through an early coordination process or through a
scoping process.  Public involvement must be documented and summarized
and the results of agency coordination included in the EA.

The EA need not be circulated for comment but the document must be made
available for public inspection at the applicant's office and at the
appropriate Federal agency field offices.  Notice of the availability of
the EA must be sent to affected units of Federal, State, and local
governments.  State public involvement procedures for the NEPA process
contain criteria for whether a public hearing is held on an EA project.

                                      38





if no significant impacts are identified in the EA, the applicant shall
furnish the Federal Government with a copy of the EA, the public hearing
transcript (if held), copies of any comments received and responses
thereto, and recommend a FONSI. When the Federal agency expects to issue
a FONSI for an action, copies of the EA will be made available for
public review for a minimum of 30 days before the Federal agency makes
its final decision.  The public availability will be announced by a
notice similar to a public hearing notice.

If, at any point in the EA process, a Federal agency determines that the
action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment, the
preparation of an EIS will be required.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement Requirements

A draft EIS (DEIS) must be prepared when a determination is made that
the action is likely to cause significant impacts on the human or
natural environment.  When that determination is made, the FHWA or the
FTA, in cooperation with the applicant, will begin a "scoping" process.

The scoping process identifies the range of alternatives and impacts and
the significant issues to be addressed in the EIS.  Again, there are
many linkages with the MIS documentation process and combining the
processes can save time and effort.  The scoping process is normally
achieved through public and agency involvement procedures required by
early coordination, public involvement, and project development aspects
of the NEPA procedures.

The DEIS must evaluate all reasonable alternatives and discuss the
reasons why other alternatives, which may have been considered, were
eliminated from detailed study.  The DEIS shall also summarize the
studies, review, consultation, and coordination required by
environmental laws or Executive Orders, to the extent appropriate, at
this stage in the environmental process.

The DEIS must be circulated for comment by the applicant on behalf of
the FHWA or the FTA and made available to public officials, interest
groups, and members of the public known to have an interest in the
proposed actions or the DEIS.  The DEIS shall also be made available to
Federal, State and local government agencies expected to have
jurisdiction or responsibility over, or interest or expertise in, the
action including State and Federal land management entities that may be
significantly affected by the proposed action or any of the
alternatives.  A State must hold a public hearing or offer the
opportunity for a public hearing.

Final Environmental Impact Statement Requirements

After circulation of a DEIS and consideration of comments received, a
final EIS (FEIS) must be prepared by the FHWA or the FTA in cooperation
with the applicant or where permitted by law, by the applicant with
appropriate guidance and participation by the FHWA or the FTA.  The FEIS
will identify the preferred alternative and evaluate all reasonable
alternatives considered.  It will also discuss substantive comments
received on the DEIS and responses thereto, summarize public
involvement, and describe the mitigation measures that are to be
incorporated into the proposed actions.  Mitigation measures presented
as commitments in the FEIS must be incorporated

                                      39





into the project as specified.  Every reasonable effort must be made to
resolve interagency disagreements on actions before processing the FEIS. 
The FEIS is reviewed for legal sufficiency prior to FHWA or FTA
approval.

Record of Decision

The FHWA or the FTA will complete and sign a Record of Decision (ROD) no
sooner than 30 days after publication of the FEIS notice in the Federal
Register or 90 days after publication of a notice of the DEIS, whichever
is later.  The ROD will present the basis for the decision, summarize
any mitigation measures that will be incorporated in the project, and
document any required findings or approvals.  Until the ROD has been
signed, no further approvals may be given except for administrative
activities to secure further project funding.

Supplemental EIS

A DEIS, FEIS, or supplemental EIS (SEIS) may be supplemented at any
time.  An EIS shall be supplemented whenever the Federal Government
determines that changes to the proposed action would result in
significant environmental impacts that were not evaluated in the EIS or
new information or circumstances relevant to environmental concerns and
bearing on the proposed actions or its impacts would result in
significant environmental impacts not evaluated in the EIS.

                                      40





                                  APPENDIX C
             RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THIS PROCESS AND NEPA DOCUMENTS

OPTION #1

The first option is to complete the MIS using a final report, leading to
selection of one alternative strategy to be included in the
transportation plan and TIP.  The NEPA documents such as draft and final
EIS's, or EA's, reflecting the results of the MIS, would be prepared
subsequently as part of project development.

OPTION #2

The second option is for the DEIS/EA to be developed in conjunction with
the MIS.  Under this option, the MIS process would again lead to
selection of one alternative to be included in the plan and TIP.

The difference in the two options is the point at which the NEPA
documentation is formally initiated and prepared.  In both cases, the
MIS leads to selection of a preferred strategy at the level of design
concept and scope.  Chart #5 illustrates the two options and their
relationship to NEPA documentation requirements.

Technical Activities Associated with an MIS

The MIS will identify, analyze, and consider all reasonable alternative
methods for meeting the anticipated transportation need in a corridor or
subarea.  The MIS is envisioned as a collaborative process with an
initial meeting to be held to establish roles and responsibilities of
participating agencies, the range of alternatives to be studied, and the
scope of the analysis to be conducted. (Under Option #2, this meeting
would be part of the NEPA scoping process.)

The alternative investment strategies which are examined should include,
as appropriate, consideration of alternative modes and technologies,
general alignment and capacity options, and low capital cost options
such as demand and systems management strategies.  Land-use, pricing,
and other policy options may also be considered.  The general principles
to be followed in the analysis include consideration of all reasonable
investment strategies to respond to the problem which has been
identified.  This may include goods and freight movement issues, as well
as mobility, accessibility, safety, economic development, and clean air
objectives.  Use of growth projections, modeling assumptions and travel
demand should be consistent for all alternatives considered and with
conformity, TIP, and plan assumptions.

Public involvement in the MIS should be proactive, tailored to each
specific MIS, started early in the process, be continuing, and assist in
the impact analysis and in the final decisions which result from the
MIS.  In addition, the public should have access to complete information
and timely public notice of meetings.  Due to the size and scope of
alternatives anticipated to be the subject of the MIS process, the FHWA
and the FTA expect public interest and involvement in the MIS process to
be substantial.

                                      41





Click HERE for graphic.


                                      42








(424MTP.html)
Jump To Top