Why Make the Linkage?
The intent of this linkage is that solutions developed
during planning could:
Form a substantial core of the NEPA or state
environmental process required reasonable range
Determine political and community support.
Determine whether certain alternatives should
remain in order to be available for consider-
ation as the Least Environmentally Damaging
Practicable Alternative in Clean Water Act
Section 404 and NEPA analysis.
Be used to limit the range of alternatives that
must be evaluated in a NEPA document.
What to Consider?
Combining and re-combining individual project
concepts into an overall systems plan can be
difficult to track and document for transfer of
information to the environmental process.
Getting adequate public and agency input to
minimize requests to consider new alternatives
during project development.
What Data Informs
Categories of information that are available to help
do this from the planning process include:
Needs identified through technical analyses and
Overall community vision and goals.
Transportation goals and objectives.
Land use and other community plans.
Environmental resource plans.
Context Sensitive Solutions context.
Public and agency input.
Analysis and Documentation
The purpose of long-range planning is to define the
combination of improvements, infrastructure, and
operations that can most effectively address the
projected needs. Improvements may be grouped
into solutions scenarios that represent significantly
different policy decisions (examples of policy
scenarios are "high road capacity investment," "high
transit investment" or "integrated land use and trans-
As the planning process continues, individual project
concepts from various scenarios are combined into a
locally preferred alternative that is acceptable to the
community. The planning process should document
all of the initial scenarios, the project concepts that
address the community's major needs (those that
are likely to enter NEPA) and new project concepts
that emerge as the scenario testing proceeds. While
tracking these changes can be complex, it may avoid
the re-analysis of an eliminated solution during the
What Decisions Help
Make the Linkage?
Needs analyses for both the base and future year are
reviewed and accepted by technical teams during
the long-range planning process. Typically, policy
boards review future year assumptions, data, and
need analyses to validate that the planning process is
reflecting the community's vision and goals.