As part of Integration, best practices and tools were developed to perform Indirect and Cumulative Effects (ICE) screenings as part of long range transportation planning. Analysis of indirect and cumulative effects is required under NEPA when evaluating environmental impacts associated with a specific proposed project. However, a planning level ICE assessment completed early in the project planning process can provide and improve consistency of the ICE analysis occurring later in the NEPA process, highlighting important issues early and potentially streamlining project delivery.
The proposed best practices for consideration of indirect and cumulative effects in long range planning include four (4) work products: Existing Conditions Assessment, Future Growth Potential Assessment, Indirect and Cumulative Effects Screening, and Best Management Practices.
- Product 1: The Existing Conditions Assessment provides a baseline assessment of the long range planning study area based on seven human and environmental factors, such as forecasted population and employment growth, land, water and sewer availability, market for development, public policy, and notable environmental features. This product sets the stage for the subsequent ICE analysis that follows.
Product 2: The Future Growth Potential Assessment produces future growth potential map(s) that identify the difference between current and future utilities, current and future land use scenario(s), available land for development, and areas projected for short, medium, and long-term growth.
- Product 3: The Indirect and Cumulative Effects Screening is conducted for the draft multi-modal long range planning project proposals. A Plan-Level Screening is conducted for the study area as a whole for both indirect and cumulative effects. A Project-Level Screening is conducted for indirect effects if specific project proposal(s) are anticipated to result in a higher potential for impacts.
- Product 4: The Best Management Practices product identifies potential tools and resources for the local jurisdictions to manage/minimize the potential for indirect and cumulative effects of the proposed projects identified in the long range transportation plan.
A pilot study conducted for the New Bern Area MPO is the first effort in North Carolina to apply a planning level ICE assessment in preparing a metropolitan transportation plan (MTP). The implementation of the ICE assessment during a development of an MTP helped to identify the potential outputs from systems planning that would be available and useful to inform the project level ICE analysis required by NEPA. There are multiple benefits to the study, analysis and assessment of ICEs that are important for both project-level and systems-level planning work:
- Promotes interagency coordination among teams such as advisory groups, including MPOs, State DOTs, FHWA, environmental resource agencies and locals.
- Helps identify potential challenges and obstacles to project delivery early in planning process
- Enhances project credibility by reducing risk/ uncertainty and informs project scoping and scheduling
- Yields specific best management practices recommendations which help the local jurisdictions to minimize the potential for indirect and cumulative effects of the proposed transportation projects identified in the long range plan
ICE in Long Range Transportaiton Planning Overview Materials
Pilot Study: ICE Assessment for a Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP)
Procedures and Tools for Best Practices of ICE Assessment in Planning
Draft Procedures/ Templates/ Tools
Note this example was developed using the Eden CTP but was generated after completion of the plan and therefore is a hypothetical example only, not adopted or officially endorsed.