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Purpose & Need Class How to Write a Better Statement FHWA-Ohio Division Presented by: ODOT Office of Environmental Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Purpose & Need Class How to Write a Better Statement FHWA-Ohio Division Presented by: ODOT Office of Environmental Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Purpose & Need Class How to Write a Better Statement FHWA-Ohio Division Presented by: ODOT Office of Environmental Services

2 Agenda  Introductions/Course Objectives  Administrative & Regulatory Process  Developing P&N  Putting It All Together  Course Wrap-Up  Test 2

3 Introductions  Name  Company  Environmental Experience  Class Expectations 3

4 Course Objectives  Understand Federal Requirements  Understand the foundation of an approved NEPA Document is the P&N  Understand P&N relationship with Alternative Analysis, Section 4(f), Wetland Findings, Logical Termini, etc. 4

5 Course Objectives  Write and review P&N Statements that:  Focus on transportation problems  Advance a project efficiently  Provide a clear basis for evaluating alternatives  Are legally defensible 5

6 Regulations Policy & Procedures

7 Federal Law & Regulations  Law  National Environmental Policy Act of 1969  Regulations  CEQ (40 CFR 1502)  FHWA (23 CFR 771) 7

8 Policy & Guidance  FHWA Technical Advisory (T6640.8a)  10/3/87  Purpose & Need in Environmental Documents  9/18/1990  FHWA/FTA Joint Guidance on Purpose & Need  7/23/2003  Development of Logical Termini  11/5/1993  FHWA Guidance-Linking Planning and NEPA  2/22/2005  CEQ 40 Most Asked Questions  8

9 Federal Law & Regulations National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 The purpose of this Act are: To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation  Established a systematic, interdisciplinary approach for decision-making  Study, develop, and describe appropriate alternatives to recommended courses of action 9

10 CEQ Regulations  40 CFR 1500.1 (c) - Purpose  Ultimately…it is not better documents but better decisions that count. NEPA’s purpose is not to generate paperwork - even excellent paperwork - but to foster excellent action.  40 CFR 1502.13 - Purpose and Need  The statement shall briefly specify the underlying purpose and need to which the agency is responding in proposing the alternatives including the proposed action 10

11 CEQ Regulations  40 CFR 1502.14 - Alternatives  Heart of the environmental document  Agencies shall: “…evaluate all reasonable alternatives, and for alternatives which were eliminated from detailed study, briefly discuss the reasons for their having been eliminated.” 11

12 FHWA Regulations  23 CFR 771.111(f) …the action evaluated in each EIS or finding of no significant impact (FONSI) shall:  Connect logical termini  Have independent utility  Not restrict consideration of alternatives for other reasonably foreseeable transportation improvements  Guidance and Policy for preparation of P&N based upon 40 CFR 1500 and 23 CFR 771 12

13 FHWA Definition Purpose  States concisely and clearly why the undertaking is being proposed  Articulates intended positive outcomes Need  Transportation problem(s) to be addressed  Defines causes of existing problems  Factual, quantifiable data 13

14 FHWA Guidance FHWA Technical Advisory (T6640.8A) (10/30/1987) Guidance for Preparing and Processing Environmental and Section 4(f) Documents Section II - Part B Purpose & Need for Action  Describe location, length, termini, proposed improvements, etc.  Identify and describe the transportation or other needs which the proposed action is intended to satisfy (e.g., provide system continuity, alleviate traffic congestion, and correct safety or roadway deficiencies) 14

15 FHWA Guidance FHWA Technical Advisory (T6640.8A) Section V - Part D  Clearly demonstrate that a "need" exists and define the "need" in terms understandable to the public  Forms the basis for the “No Build" discussion in the Alternatives section and assist with the identification of reasonable alternatives and selection of the preferred 15

16 FHWA Guidance FHWA Technical Advisory (T6640.8A)  On projects where a law, Executive Order, or regulation mandates an evaluation of avoidance alternatives, explanation of the project need should be more specific so that avoidance alternatives that do not meet the stated project need can be readily dismissed 16

17 FHWA Guidance Purpose & Need in Environmental Documents (9/18/1990)  In many ways, P&N is the most important section of an environmental document  Establishes why the agency is proposing to spend public funds, while at the same time causing significant environmental impacts 17

18 FHWA Guidance Purpose & Need in Environmental Documents  A clear and well-justified P&N explains to the public and decision-makers why expenditure of funds is necessary and worthwhile  Priority being given to the action relative to other needed highway projects is warranted  Although significant environmental impacts may be expected, P&N should justify why impacts are acceptable 18

19 FHWA Guidance FHWA/FTA Joint Guidance on P&N (7/23/2003)  Lead agency has the authority and responsibility to define 'purpose and need' for NEPA analysis  For Federal-Aid (FHWA Title 23 US Code funded) projects, lead federal agency is FHWA 19

20 FHWA Guidance  Joint-lead or cooperating agencies should afford substantial deference to the lead agency's articulation of a project’s P&N  P&N is the cornerstone for the alternatives analysis, but should not discuss solutions  Care should be taken to ensure P&N is not so narrow as to unreasonably point to a single solution 20

21 FHWA Guidance  Logical Termini  Rational end points for a transportation improvement  Rational end points for review of environmental impacts 21

22 FHWA Guidance Guidance on the Development of Logical Project Termini (11/5/1993)  In developing a project which can be advanced through stages of planning, environmental, design, and construction, the project sponsor needs to consider a “whole” or integrated project  Should satisfy an identified need and consider the context of the local area’s socioeconomics and topography, future travel demand, and other planned infrastructure improvements 22

23 FHWA Guidance  Proposed improvements may miss the mark by only peripherally satisfying the need or by causing unexpected side effects which require additional corrective action  “Segmentation" may occur where a transportation need extends throughout an entire corridor but environmental issues and needs are discussed for only a segment of the corridor 23

24 FHWA Guidance  Three general principles at 23 CFR 771.111(f) used to frame a highway project:  Logical termini connection should be of sufficient length to address environmental matters on a broad scope  Independent utility or significance Reasonable expenditure even if no additional transportation improvements in the area are made  Consideration of alternatives for other reasonably foreseeable transportation improvements is not restricted 24

25 FHWA Guidance LINKING PLANNING & NEPA (2/22/2005)  A sound transportation planning process is the primary source of an undertaking’s P&N  P&N is where planning and NEPA intersect 25

26 FHWA Guidance LINKING PLANNING & NEPA  The following information from planning studies can be used in the P&N:  Goals and objectives from the transportation planning process  Results of analyses from management systems (e.g., congestion, pavement, bridge, and/or safety) 26

27 FHWA Guidance LINKING PLANNING & NEPA  With proper documentation and public involvement, a P&N derived from the planning process can legitimately narrow the alternatives analyzed for NEPA 27

28 FHWA Guidance LINKING PLANNING & NEPA  Alternatives eliminated during the planning process because they do not meet P&N, can be omitted from the detailed analysis of alternatives in the NEPA document  Explain the rationale for elimination of alternatives in the NEPA document 28

29 FHWA Guidance  A statement of the transportation problem  Not solution-based  Based on articulated planning factors and developed through a certified planning process 29

30 FHWA Guidance  Specific enough so range of alternatives developed offer solutions to the transportation problem  Not so specific as to "reverse engineer” a solution  May reflect other priorities and limitations in the area (i.e. environmental resources, growth management, land use, and economic development) 30

31 Purpose & Need and ODOT’s PDP

32 ODOT’s PDP 32

33 ODOT’s PDP 33

34 ODOT’s PDP  Revised PDP b eing used on all new projects  No more Major, Minor, Minimal  Replaced with five paths that are based on project type and complexity  Five phases of project development:  Planning  Preliminary Engineering  Environmental Engineering  Final Engineering  Construction 34

35  Path 1 projects typically Exempt or CE Level 1  No documentation required for Exempt projects  Anything above Exempt requires a P&N  For projects that are not CE Exempt and those in Paths 2-5, P&N should be prepared in Task 1.3.G of the Planning Phase  Complete P&N before identifying alternatives 35 ODOT’s PDP

36  District’s Role  Research and prepare May hire consultant to prepare  Locals and consultants must send P&N to district for review and approval For local projects, districts can no longer prepare CE 2 documents or higher  Seek local stakeholder concurrence  Ensure consistent quality control 36

37 ODOT’s PDP  ODOT-OES will advise and assist with:  Finalizing P&N for all projects during NEPA  Any questions you may have  P&N for CE Level 3 projects and above must be sent into OES for concurrence  OES submits draft P&N for CE Level 4s and higher to FHWA for concurrence DO NOT WAIT - involve OES early 37

38 ODOT’s PDP  OES submits draft to FHWA for concurrence that the P&N:  Defines the existing transportation problem(s) and need(s) to the level independent utility can be established  Establishes logical termini and any intermediate control points to address environmental matters  Is adequate to evaluate, eliminate or advance planning level conceptual alternatives  Does not restrict consideration of alternatives for other foreseeable transportation improvements 38

39 ODOT’s PDP  P&N refined throughout the Planning, Preliminary Engineering, and Environmental Engineering Phases (the Planning and Environmental stages of a project)  Draft P&N until approved in the NEPA document  FHWA Ohio Division has delegated authority to ODOT to review and approve P&Ns for CE Level 1-3 projects  Based on acceptance of the PDP  Based on implementation of the Programmatic CE Agreement 39


41 Developing Purpose & Need

42 Importance of P&N  P&N is used to:  Communicate and coordinate effectively with stakeholders and the public  Evaluate alternatives  Justify impacts  Establish logical termini/independent utility  Manage controversy 42

43 Importance of P&N  A well-written P&N will:  Describe how the project was developed  Present a shared understanding of the transportation problems and objectives  Assist in defining project scope  Guide the development and evaluation of alternatives  Avoid developing an ill-conceived project  Ensure decisions are legally defensible 43

44 Basic Structure  Project History  Purpose Statement  Need Elements  Goals and Objectives - optional  Summary  Logical Termini/Independent Utility 44

45 45 CE OnLine

46 46 CE OnLine

47 Project History  Brief discussion of the context for the project  Provide background on existing facility  Describe actions taken to date  Funding status, schedule, etc.  Prior Investigations  Traffic Studies  Safety Studies  Planning Studies 47

48 Project History  Land Use/Visioning or Planning Documents  MPO  TIP/STIP  Local Comprehensive Plans  Local Community Mission Statements 48

49 Project History  Legislative Intent  Federal, State or Local government mandate  Consider congressional and/or state directives  Congressional Earmarks Conference Report (if one exists) helpful in clarifying intent associated with legislation 49

50 Project History  Legislative Intent  Consider if the following is identified as part of specific legislation: Particular facility design Particular termini Particular mode of travel 50

51 Purpose Statement  Clearly and concisely states primary objectives to be attained  A range of potential purposes can exist i.e. Mobility, Safety, Access  Articulates the intended positive outcomes An alternative that does not achieve primary purposes would be eliminated  1-2 sentences in length 51

52 Transportation Needs  Quantified data obtained through analyses will determine if a well-defined and well-supported need exists  Do not include any reference to solutions  Need Elements  Defines existing and future conditions  Desired conditions  Determined by analyses  1-2 well defined needs vs. several poorly supported needs  1-2 paragraphs per need element 52

53 Transportation Needs  Mobility  Congestion  Facility Deficiencies  Safety  System Linkage  Modal Inter-relationship  Access  Emergency Evacuation 53

54 Transportation Needs  Non-Traditional  Economic Development/Growth  Environmental Protection  National Defense 54

55 Transportation Needs Mobility  Movement of people and goods  Identified and addressed during planning with respect to all modes  Transit, rail, aviation, pedestrian and bicycle  Ability to meet traffic demands  Can be considered a primary need or goal 55

56 Transportation Needs Mobility  Identify source(s) to support  Possible sources might include:  MPO Metropolitan Transportation Plan  Community Comprehensive Plan  State Transportation Plans  County and/or municipal visioning documents  Land Development Plans 56

57 Transportation Needs Congestion  First step is to define congestion  Determine desired performance level  Range of measures can be used:  Levels of service (LOS)  Volume-to-capacity (V/C) ratios  Vehicle hours of delay 57

58 Transportation Needs Congestion  MPO planning documents (Plans and TIPs) are source, within urban counties  Same set of measures may not apply to every project 58

59 Transportation Needs Congestion  The Travel Demand Model (TDM) is used in the Transportation Planning process and its data can be used to define congestion  Provides sufficient data to establish a congestion-related need  Includes capacity for a particular transportation facility  Estimates the demand for that facility 59

60 Transportation Needs Congestion  Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) software is another analysis tool 60

61 Transportation Needs Facility Deficiencies  Poor pavement conditions  Poor bridge conditions  Substandard geometrics  Substantiate need with data 61

62 Transportation Needs Facility Deficiencies  Data can come from various sources:  Pavement Management System  Bridge Management System  Maintenance Management System  Roadway Design Manuals and Guidelines  Structure Standards – federal, state, local 62

63 Transportation Needs Safety  Transportation improvements often produce safety benefits  Crash data will help support existing and future conditions  Often considered purpose of a project, but can be a need as well 63

64 Transportation Needs Safety  Only include if data indicates high crash rate and the project will likely address the need 64

65 Transportation Needs Safety  Based on accepted engineering practices  Not relevant without documented crash data  Does not increase justification of an undertaking  Consider unintended negative consequences 65

66 Transportation Needs System Linkage  Defined as:  Linking two or more existing transportation facilities A new link between two interstates  Linking different types of modal facilities Establishing an intermodal facility  Linking two or more geographic areas A rail link between Norfolk and Columbus 66

67 Transportation Needs System Linkage  Linking two or more regional traffic generators and/or geographic areas  Mall, regional sports complex, etc.  Linking an existing transportation network to a geographic area that currently is not connected 67

68 System Linkage  Can be a primary need or goal  Rare to have system linkage as a primary need 68 Transportation Needs

69 Modal Inter-relationship  Appropriate to include intermodal connectivity  Define modes to be included  Explain in quantifiable terms  Define how proposed facility will interface with and serve to complement airports, rail and port facilities, mass transit, etc. 69

70 Transportation Needs Access  More than likely a purpose of an undertaking  Related to another transportation problem  Congestion on nearby facilities  Desire to promote economic development 70

71 Transportation Needs Emergency Evacuation  In Ohio, only applies to nuclear power plant evacuation routes  A documented need must exist  State or local policy and/or evacuation study  Proposed undertaking must be located on a designated evacuation route 71

72 Non-Traditional Need Economic Development/Growth  New employment, schools, land use plans, etc.  Land use changes indicate need to improve or add to highway capacity  Some communities have a vision for how they to evolve and prosper  A desirable outcome of a transportation undertaking  Transportation facilities rarely the sole factor 72

73 Non-Traditional Need Economic Development/Growth  Transportation infrastructure and other public infrastructure collectively help determine community growth  Transportation infrastructure can facilitate the changing of land uses and lead to growth  Job creation is not a transportation need 73

74 Non-Traditional Need Economic Development/Growth  Purpose statement should not be written: “The purpose is to promote growth/economic development”  P&N is grounded in transportation: “The purpose is to provide transportation infrastructure to support community growth/development as identified in [a plan].” 74

75 Non-Traditional Need Economic Development/Growth  Identify source(s) to support  Possible sources include:  MPO Metropolitan Transportation Plan  Comprehensive Transportation Plan  County and/or municipal visioning documents  Land Development Plans 75

76 Non-Traditional Need Economic Development/Growth  Resolutions or other forms of support:  Individual Developments  Non-governmental Entities Downtown Development Commissions Chambers of Commerce  Capital Improvement Programs 76

77 Non-Traditional Need Economic Development/Growth  Should not be discussed if not substantiated  Focusing on existing transportation problems avoids defining a broad purpose that requires consideration of a vast range of non- transportation alternatives for promoting growth/economic development 77

78 Non-Traditional Need Environmental Protection  Often incorporate elements that help protect the environment  Rarely a transportation need  Focus on the underlying reasons for proposing the action based on a transportation need  Mitigation projects should reference main project 78

79 Non-Traditional Need National Defense  Transportation systems considered vital to our national defense/security  Critical surface transportation modal systems that transportation professionals should be aware of:  Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET)  Railroads for National Defense (RND)  Ports for National Defense (PND) 79

80 Non-Traditional Need National Defense  FHWA Perspective:  Identify minimum highway infrastructure needed to fulfill the mission of USDOD  Integrate public highway needs into civil policies, plans, and programs  Ensure defense readiness of highway infrastructure  Establish policy on how DOD uses highway system 80

81 Non-Traditional Need National Defense  For inclusion as a primary need, there must be an identified need from a military perspective  If project is located on STRAHNET (network), but underlying needs are defined by local community, this element could be a goal 81

82 82

83 Goals & Objectives  Optional and discretionary - come from planning  Community perspective rather than a transportation perspective  Consistent with and follows local plan  Aids in the development of context sensitive solutions 83

84 Goals & Objectives  Secondary elements/other desirable outcomes  Is not a core purpose of the undertaking  Goals are not a basis for eliminating alternatives in the screening stage  May be a factor in the selection of a preferred alternative 84

85 Goals & Objectives  Context Sensitive Solutions  Complete Streets  Connection to bike/pedestrian facilities  Integrating transit stops, shelters, lanes  Burying utilities underground  Sidewalks/medians to improve safety 85

86 Summary  Restate Purpose Statement  Briefly summarize Needs discussed above 86

87 Logical Termini  Transportation problem begins and ends  Federal Actions shall not be segmented Does not preclude phasing of construction under a single NEPA action  State/Municipal boundaries are not end points 87

88 Independent Utility  Establishes independent significance  May be implied by logical termini  May need to be specifically addressed  Distinct from project construction phasing  Demonstrates that the project is not dependent on any other action 88

89 Length Recommendations  Level of detail needed can vary  Quantified discussion for CE’s should be brief  1 or 2 paragraphs per need element  1-2 pages of text overall  An EA/EIS typically involves complex environmental and engineering decisions that may require a more detailed quantified discussion  3-5 pages of text  When length recommendations are exceeded, contact OES to initiate consultation with FHWA 89

90 Points to Remember  Must provide tangible, quantifiable data to support the need  Comprehensive, specific, and concise  Include appropriate maps, illustrations, photos, charts, graphs, spreadsheets, etc., in appendices  Re-examine and update P&N as appropriate throughout project development 90

91 Points to Remember  Eliminate “FLUFF”  “Just the Facts”  Opinions do not count  Avoid subjective words  May, Maybe, Likely, Could  Avoid words with legal interpretations  Significant, Segment, and Hazardous 91

92 Points to Remember  Define existing transportation problem(s)  Identify and quantify needs to the level that independent utility can be established  Establish logical termini  Adequately evaluates, eliminates or advances alternatives 92

93 Time For Lunch!

94 Case Study

95 Putting it All Together  You will be assigned the task of writing a real life P&N based on handouts  You will be given a set of facts and mapping for a transportation problem  After completion you will exchange with your neighbor for peer review  Class discussion of results 95

96 Putting it All Together  Format:  Project History  Purpose Statement  Need Elements  Goals & Objectives  Summary  Logical Termini & Independent Utility 96

97 97


99 Group Discussion

100 Wise You Are

101 Course Summary  NEPA’s purpose is to document better decision- making, not better documents  Quantified discussion in CE’s should be brief  1 or 2 paragraphs per need element  Overall, 1-2 pages of text  Quantified discussion in EA/EIS more detailed  3-5 pages of text  When length recommendations exceeded, contact ODOT-OES 101

102 Course Summary  Provide a clear, concise and well justified P&N Statement  The P&N is a legally defensible document  The P&N serves as the foundation for evaluating alternatives, but DOES NOT include a discussion of solutions  Does not restrict consideration of other alternatives 102

103 ODOT Contacts Major New Projects  Larry Hoffman - Districts 3, 4, 8, 12  Carmen Stemen - Districts 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 Non Major New Projects  Kevin Davis - Policy Supervisor  Amber Hewitt - Districts 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11  Doug App - Districts 1, 2, 5, 8, 10, 12 Consultants should always contact ODOT District Environmental Staff 103

104 Questions

105 Test  Open Book  You have one hour  A passing score of 75% is required 105

106 Thank You!

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