Identification of multi-modal technologies, if any
Community vision context
Land use context
Air quality context
This analysis, though at a higher level, still supports a
PEL approach. The fundamental goals of developing
partnerships and achieving a balanced decision-
making process are unaffected. In fact, when done
correctly, corridor studies and programmatic environ-
mental impact statements can be used to streamline
work typically done during a project-level NEPA
process. Subsequent documents need only summarize
and incorporate discussions from the prior work
done in the NEPA document. This allows decision
makers to build on previous decisions.
Planning and the environment are intricately
connected. As new issues emerge in either planning
or the environment, new linkages should be inves-
tigated. Some examples of emerging issues that
have potential linkages include how best to address
freight movement within the planning process, the
heightened attention paid to climate change, and the
renewed emphasis paid to non-motorized transpor-
Freight in the Planning Process
Freight transportation has increasingly emerged as an
important part of the planning process, especially as
our economy has become tied to the global market.
State DOTs and MPOs became responsible for
making sure that freight movement is considered in
the planning process when the Intermodal Surface
Transportation Efficiency Act was enacted in 1991.
Traditionally few agencies identified freight-specific
projects that could be programmed, developed, and
implemented. Moreover, in the past two decades,
the global freight market has grown rapidly and
changed. Many regions around the country have
become increasingly reliant on freight transport as a
mean to their economic development.
Likewise, many of these regions have increasingly
recognized the impact that freight transport has on
the overall health and efficiency of the transportation
system. Metropolitan areas (especially ports), with
their air cargo airports, intermodal freight yards,
large trucking terminals, and shipyards, are especially
affected by freight movement issues.
and MPOs have begun to develop freight planning
Nonetheless, much of freight planning has been outside
of a typical long-range planning process. Goods
movement via rail, air, and marine modes has been
driven largely by the private sector, although some
regions have taken a more active approach by building
statewide or metropolitan pictures of freight movement
through the development of stand alone, integrated,
multimodal freight plans. Still others have begun to
develop analytical tools or freight data collection
programs to develop freight performance measures
or to help guide a broad freight policy and statewide/
regional transportation investment decisions.
Logical linkages to this work include highlighting
the environmental benefits associated with
integrating freight in the planning process.
Investments made in freight transportation could
6 The Transportation Planning Process: Key Issues. The Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program. Federal Highway Administration,
Federal Transit Administration. Updated September 2007.
7 Freight Planning Capacity Building workshop. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/