Linking Long Range Transportation Planning and Project Development
"Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL)"
The North Carolina Department of Transportation undertook a major process improvement to integrate the long range transportation planning process with the project development process. In North Carolina the long range transportation planning process is called the Comprehensive Transportation Planning process and leads to the development of Comprehensive Transportation Plans (CTP). In MPO areas, there are additional federal requirements for long range transportation plans, including for plans to be fiscally constrained (often called Metropolitan Transportation Plans or MTPs). The project development process in North Carolina is handled through the Section 404/ NEPA Merger 01 process (called the Merger process) or other means to follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its state counterpart, State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The Integration Project was designed to improve the linkage between any type of long range transportation plan (CTPs or MTPs) and project development, whether handled through the Merger process or other means.
The Integration Project was designed through the work of a multi-agency ‘Integration Team.' This work resulted in the identification of multiple 'linkages,' or topic areas, between long range planning and project development, where products from the CTP process could inform or serve as the starting point for NEPA/ SEPA. An ‘Integration Implementation Team’ (IIT) was formed to direct the implementation of the Integration Project. Under the leadership of the IIT, small working groups designed best standards and practices for accomplishing the goals of integration. Integration products are being produced as long range transportation plans are being developed or updated. Outreach and training on best practices for development and use of the products is underway. The implementation of Integration is monitored and best practice guidance is modified as needed to remain useful and relevant.
For questions or to provide input, please contact:
Alena R. Cook, PE, CPM
NCDOT, Transportation Planning Branch