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Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects (2012)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22888.
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21 C h a p t e r 2 This chapter documents the general types of constraints addressed by the strategies described in Chapter 3. As described in Chapter 1, the evaluation portion of this study used a constraint-based model to analyze the effectiveness of the strategies identified in the case studies. From the specific con- straints addressed by the case studies, a list of 16 general con- straints was developed that are more broadly applicable for practitioners attempting to diagnose and solve problems. The following sections discuss the 16 generalized constraints. Under each heading is a brief description of the constraint fol- lowed by a list of potential indicators that this problem may occur during a planned project (a leading indicator) or that it may already be occurring (a lagging indicator). Practitioners considering or beginning a project should look at the lead- ing indicators to determine potential constraints they might encounter; the lagging indicators are useful for diagnosing constraints that might be delaying an existing project. Below the list of indicators for each constraint is a table that describes (a) the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and (b) the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Most tables show three levels of severity (low, medium, and high). For some constraints, providing a medium-severity category is not useful. Depending on the nature of the qualitative measures, and when the measures of severity for such constraints are particularly subjective, the accompanying tables provide only low and high levels of severity. Each section concludes with a brief description of how the strategies apply to the constraint. It is worth noting that the risk management strategy is applicable to nearly all constraints as it helps agencies to anticipate potential constraints before they arise. This enables project teams to implement strategies to avoid the constraint or proactively address it before it causes delay. Risk manage- ment is not listed under each constraint below but is described in greater detail in Chapter 3. Constraint 1: avoiding policy Decisions through Continual analysis Projects can be delayed or stopped as continual requests for further analysis come in from team members or stakeholders. Sometimes this is a request to reanalyze data already available or to consider something new. Often these requests are seen as ways to settle decisions through an analytical route as opposed to a political one. Sometimes the requests are a way to avoid the needed policy decision that may require a trade-off or settling of concerns. Such requests can indicate an unwilling- ness to support or agree on project issues, with increased focus on analysis intended to reduce the risk associated with making a bad decision or to derail or delay moving on. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Difficult or new policy decisions will need to be made. • Lagging 44 There are repeated requests to generate more detailed analysis; 44 There are requests to invite outside experts for addi- tional review of analysis; or 44 Analysis requires new models or new data sets. Table 2.1 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address this constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Consolidated Decision Council A decision council can provide the authority for addressing policy issues that technical staff can rely on. Common Constraints to Transportation Project Delivery

22 Table 2.1. Constraint 1: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low Medium High Effects • One issue is requested to be reviewed with new data or analysis that was not anticipated • Limited to one type of issue or resource • Technical analyses might be broadening analysis outside the scope needed for the project analysis (e.g., cumulative effects are being considered that are unforeseeable) • Calls for high-effort analysis coming from multiple parties • Multiple issues are presented for reanalysis or have new data collected that were not anticipated • Analytical methods have not been used in the region or in the agency • Analyses try to capture entire systems at the project level or proposed analysis of factors that project cannot address or affect Mitigation strategies • Consolidated decision council • Regional environmental analysis framework • Expedited internal review and decision making • Consolidated decision council • Regional environmental analysis framework • Expedited internal review and decision making • Dispute-resolution process • Programmatic permitting • Consolidated decision council • Regional environmental analysis framework • Expedited internal review and decision making • Dispute-resolution process • Programmatic permitting • Up-front environmental commitments Dispute-Resolution Process A dispute-resolution process can define how to take policy questions out of the technical realm and resolve them at the appropriate level. Programmatic Permitting Programmatic permitting based on preproject consider- ations of resource issues and impacts allows policy decisions to be settled before the project begins. If the assumptions of the programmatic permits are challenged on technical grounds, there is a clear path to deciding whether this is truly a technical concern or an attempt to change policy. Regional Environmental Analysis Framework When the regional environmental policy and technical resources are set in a framework, the rules are defined for considering data and impacts at the project level. This creates a clear distinction between policy and technical issues. Expedited Internal Review and Decision Making Establishing commitments from agencies to expedite deci- sion making can avoid protracted analysis and discussion surrounding potentially difficult policy decisions. Up-Front Environmental Commitments Commitments can resolve policy and technical issues by agree- ing early on to a higher standard of mitigation. This strategy relies on identifying key resources of concern and committing to a high-level restoration, protection, or some form of enhancement. The commitment can be made by including the action in the project’s purpose and need statement or by spec- ifying it in the draft EIS (DEIS) or the final EIS (FEIS). Constraint 2: Conflicting resource Values As DOTs work with resource agencies to evaluate potential effects on the environment, differing opinions and under- standings about the value, extent, and location of natural and cultural resources can hamper progress. Such differences can occur if the agencies have each undertaken separate resource inventories at different times and using different techniques, or they can result from a simple perceived or real conflict in protecting the different resources under the jurisdictions of different agencies. These differences can cause misunder- standings, create debate, and require project-specific invento- ries rather than relying on more efficient regional surveys. Cumulative effects analyses can be especially challenging when assessing past impacts that were made with different assump- tions and used different methodologies. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 DOT embarks on a resource survey with little or no coordination with applicable resource agencies; or

23 44 Multiple data sets exist across different agencies for the same resource(s). • Lagging 44 Resource agencies or stakeholder groups question analy- sis based on the data employed; 44 Past analyses of impacts have produced different, incon- gruous data; or 44 Past impacts to the resource have not been well docu- mented or evaluated. Table 2.2 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Regional Environmental Analysis Framework This strategy provides a common understanding for multiple agencies with shared concerns or differing interests in natural and cultural resources. Developing this common understand- ing, particularly on a larger regional scale, can help to address some of the data and analytical challenges of major projects. Facilitation to Align Expectations Up Front Facilitated meetings with resource agencies and stakeholder groups during the early phases of project development can identify discrepancies between parties and allow DOTs to address them before undertaking analysis using data or methods that would later be questioned. Planning-Level Environmental Screening Criteria and Leverage Planning During NEPA Incorporating environmental factors during planning-level screening can help to provide agencies with a broad under- standing of how potential projects may affect natural and cultural resources. When planning considers environmental factors, it can more easily be leveraged during subsequent NEPA phases for individual projects to help avoid conflicting assumptions and understandings among different agencies and stakeholder groups. Coordinated and Responsive Agency Involvement Working closely with resource agencies can help all parties involved to agree on resource values and other data that underpin environmental analyses. This strategy will also help Table 2.2. Constraint 2: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low Medium High Effects • Rework or additional analysis required because agencies or stakeholder groups request the use of different data about resource locations/quality; this can be accommodated with little effect on the overall project schedule. • Rework or additional analysis required because agencies or stakeholder groups request the use of different data about resource locations/quality; the magnitude of additional work delays subsequent tasks, but milestone dates are maintained. • Rework or additional analysis required because agencies or stakeholder groups request the use of different data about resource locations/quality; the magnitude of this work delays achievement of milestone dates. • Agreements or approvals denied or delayed based on disagreements over data relied on for impact assess- ments or for mitigation design. • New or different alternatives required based on faulty understanding of resource locations/quality. Mitigation strategies • Regional environmental analysis framework • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Leverage planning during NEPA • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Regional environmental analysis framework • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Leverage planning during NEPA • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Dispute-resolution process • Regional environmental analysis framework • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Leverage planning during NEPA • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Dispute-resolution process • Up-front environmental commitments irrespective of impacts Note: NEPA = National Environmental Policy Act.

24 to identify potentially conflicting assumptions earlier, when they are more easily addressed. Dispute-Resolution Process A formal approach for resolving disagreements with resource agencies may be helpful if disputes between agencies regard- ing data or analysis cannot be readily resolved among the working parties. Up-Front Environmental Commitments Irrespective of Impacts A significant environmental commitment made early in project development, regardless of what impacts are later determined during evaluation, can go a long way toward alleviating con- cerns from resource agencies and stakeholders worried about a project’s potential impact to their resource interests and make them less likely to request new data collection or analysis. Constraint 3: Difficulty agreeing on Impacts and Mitigation The process of identifying and developing agreement on the nature and scope of environmental impacts and negotiating and designing mitigation can be challenging and is a frequent source of delay for projects. Debate or disagreement over mit- igation decisions can delay overall project progress because it typically occurs late during the NEPA phase and is often on the critical path. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Project has diverse and/or significant impacts; 44 New or different resources are present (e.g., new listed species); or 44 New or changing regulations concerning environmental resources are present. • Lagging 44 Project is drawing criticism from stakeholder groups over impacts; 44 Initial identification of impacts is challenging and requires more time than initially planned; or 44 Initial identification on appropriate type and/or extent of mitigation is challenging and requires more time than initially planned. Table 2.3 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Table 2.3. Constraint 3: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low Medium High Effects • Analysis of impacts and development of mitigation are taking longer, but are unlikely to delay overall project schedule • Disagreement about appropriate analytical methods or accounting techniques • One or two resources involved for mitigation considerations • Disagreements over impacts are leading to disagreements about the project’s NEPA classification (e.g., dispute over a finding of no significant impact [FONSI]) • Impacts are leading to an Endangered Species Act (ESA) determination of incidental take • Analysis of impacts and development of mitigation are delaying overall project schedule • Fundamental disagreement over type or magnitude of impacts and/or whether mitigation is necessary • Several different resources, including some that may compete, are involved in the project’s impacts and mitigation designs • Disagreements over impacts are lead- ing to disagreements about the proj- ect’s ESA determination (e.g., jeopardy) Mitigation strategies • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Planning and environmental linkages • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Planning and environmental linkages • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Up-front environmental commitments • Programmatic permitting • Regional environmental analysis framework • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Planning and environmental linkages • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Up-front environmental commitments • Programmatic permitting • Regional environmental analysis framework • Interagency dispute-resolution process • DOT-funded resource agency liaisons

25 Application of Strategies Facilitation to Align Expectations Up Front Early facilitation allows for issues, concerns, and values to be clearly identified before conflict arises. These issues can then be addressed before reaching agreement becomes difficult. Facilitation also allows for working relationships to develop, helping parties to understand what is necessary for a success- ful decision. Planning and Environmental Linkages Referencing work done during prior planning studies, rather than redeveloping it, can make building consensus on impacts and mitigation simpler and potentially less contentious if the planning work involved agencies and stakeholders engaged during NEPA. Planning-Level Environmental Screening Criteria Consideration of environmental factors during planning studies can streamline the evaluation of impacts during the NEPA phase and expedite agreement with resource agencies and stakeholder groups. Coordinated and Responsive Agency Involvement Collaboration with resource agencies early and continually during project development can help all parties to develop a mutual understanding of the resources in the project area and the analytical techniques for assessing how the project could affect these resources. Interagency Dispute-Resolution Process Developing a clear process for handling disputes within a decision-making process allows any issues that arise to be handled swiftly. A dispute-resolution process can also outline when it is and is not acceptable to revisit a decision. Programmatic Permitting Programmatic permitting based on preproject consider- ations of resource issues and impacts allows for project-level decisions to be governed by a larger agreement. This both expedites decision making and prevents agreements from falling apart. Regional Environmental Analysis Framework The development of an analysis framework allows for key critical decisions on impact calculations and mitigation options to be discussed in the context of the watershed or relevant ecosystem. This approach allows for consideration of cumulative impacts and provides the basis for rapid project-level impact calculations and mitigation decisions. Up-Front Environmental Commitments In some cases, substantial early commitments regarding envi- ronmental resources can prevent disagreement on the impacts or mitigation. This strategy often relies on identify- ing key resources of concern and committing to restoration, protection, or some form of enhancement. The commitment can be made by including the action in the project’s purpose and need statement or by specifying it in the DEIS or FEIS. DOT-Funded Resource Agency Liaisons Resource agency staff dedicated to working with the trans- portation agency can help both agencies to develop a com- mon understanding on the location and value of resources and agreed-on techniques for assessing impacts to these resources. Funding these positions is rarely project specific, and typically done to develop these interagency agreements to benefit most transportation projects. Constraint 4: Inability to Maintain agreement Changing or reopening decisions lengthens schedules and delays progress. For project expediting, decisions should be maintained across the parties and over time. While many decisions evolve and shift, sometimes agreements can dete- riorate or not be reliable for reasons that could be actively managed and avoided. The most challenging situation occurs when a decision is revisited repeatedly, changed, ignored, or contested after agreement has been reached. For example, decisions made during a planning study, such as corridor plans, are vulnerable during subsequent NEPA phases for individual projects as new agencies are involved. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Undefined structure and process for decision making at the outset; 44 No clear champion, convener, or proponent; 44 Multiple agencies leading the project; 44 Complex, diverse set of parties; 44 Assigned staff not empowered to make decisions; 44 Questions about whether an issue is settled or how it was settled; 44 Changing representatives or staff; 44 Agreements and commitments not being documented; 44 Planning process that narrows alternatives for subse- quent projects does not involve coordination with appli- cable federal agencies; or

26 44 Decisions with significant influence on future work made without written agreements or commitments from agencies with future decision-making authority or strong influence over the project. • Lagging 44 Changing project scope (may indicate decision was premature); 44 As NEPA process begins, prior planning evaluations are redone to develop a range of alternatives; 44 Different interpretation of agreements or what a deci- sion meant; 44 Changes in decisions causing work to stop; 44 Range of alternatives changes; or 44 Changes in representatives or staff. Table 2.4 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Consolidated Decision Council Establishing a council of high-level staff from multiple agencies involved on a project can help to ensure that deci- sions made by these parties are adhered to and are more reliable. DOT-Funded Liaisons For DOTs with a consistent need for decision making or review by resource agencies, liaisons offer an opportunity to make sure that staff time is dedicated to facilitate decision making. Liaisons can provide a constant conduit back to the agency providing information and can build trust as deci- sions are made. This also requires that liaisons are empow- ered by their regulatory agency to hold the agreement on the agency’s behalf. Table 2.4. Constraint 4: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low Medium High Effects • Single decisions difficult to maintain (one-time issue) • Disagreements are primarily over technical issues • Technical champions or experts missing • Involves lower-level decision makers (frontline staff or reviewers) • Revisiting a prior decision adds time as the process is replayed, but the outcome is substantively similar, requiring little or no additional analysis • Minor design decisions are revisited and changed • Problems thought to be technical are actually policy • Trying to use more science or more data to hold the decision together • Involves midlevel participants from their organizations • Endless loop of decisions being made and revisited multiple times without progress • Persistent across many different decisions and topics • Interpersonal conflicts become part of the problem • Issues are more philosophical than technical • Higher-level decision makers have a hard time committing • A major decision is revisited and changed (e.g., the range of alternatives to be considered), stalling progress and then requiring additional design and evaluation • Decisions are continually revisited, preventing progress to the next milestone Mitigation strategies • Consolidated decision council • Highly responsive public engagement • Strategic oversight • Aligning expectations up front • Interagency dispute-resolution process • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Planning and environmental linkages • Tiered NEPA process • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Change-control practices • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Consolidated decision council • Highly responsive public engagement • Strategic oversight • Aligning expectations up front • Interagency dispute-resolution process • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Planning and environmental linkages • Programmatic permitting • DOT-funded resource agency liaisons • Early commitment of construction funding • Consolidated decision council • Highly responsive public engagement • Strategic oversight • Aligning expectations up front • Interagency dispute-resolution process • Planning and environmental linkages • Programmatic permitting • Tiered NEPA process • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Change-control practices • Early commitment of construction funding

27 Facilitation to Align Expectations Up Front Early facilitation allows for issues, concerns, and values to be clearly identified before conflict arises. These issues can then be addressed before agreements become difficult. Facilitation also allows for working relationships to develop, helping par- ties to understand what is necessary for a successful decision. Highly Responsive Public Engagement By thoroughly addressing the public’s concerns, parties to agreements can feel safer that their positions are in line with public opinion. This is particularly important for appointed or elected decision makers. Interagency Dispute-Resolution Process By developing a clear process for handling disputes within a decision-making process, any issues that arise can be handled swiftly. Additionally, a dispute-resolution process can also outline when it is and is not acceptable to revisit a decision. Coordinated and Responsive Agency Involvement Consistently involving resource agencies during project devel- opment and at decision points can keep them engaged in a project and avoid staff turnover and loss of understanding about prior agreements. Planning and Environmental Linkages Using decisions and agreements forged during planning once NEPA has begun can be more effective and efficient than recreating similar decisions. Of course, this requires that the planning process is structured in a manner that produces results and decisions that are reliable in NEPA. Programmatic Permitting Programmatic permitting based on preproject considerations of resource issues and impacts allows for decisions at the proj- ect level to be governed and guided by a larger agreement. This both expedites decision making and reduces the risk that project-level decisions based on those programmatic agree- ments will fall apart. Strategic Oversight and Rapid Assessment Through identification of decision points, decision makers, issues, and resources early on, decision making can be more effective at the project level. This strategy focuses on develop- ing a management plan for decision making either before the project begins or at the very beginning of the project. In this context, strategic oversight can be scaled to meet various project needs. Early Commitment of Construction Funding This can provide projects with momentum and add pressure to agencies and stakeholders to abide by existing agreements to maintain progress toward construction. Constraint 5: Ineffective Internal Communication Quick, easy communication within a project team is vital for rapid progress, but it is often difficult for project man- agers and agencies to define and achieve. As project teams grow in size and complexity, so does the need for strong internal communication. This ensures everyone under- stands priorities, new decisions, and changing directions and that everyone is working with the latest data. Hin- drances to internal project communication can disrupt or delay discussions and decisions that are necessary to main- tain project momentum. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Large project team; 44 Complex project team (high mix of disciplines and/or agencies involved in the project team); 44 Geographically disparate work locations for project team members; or 44 Transition in project phase that results in gradual project team turnover (e.g., transition from planning to NEPA). • Lagging 44 Project staff are working on out-of-date data or assumptions; 44 Staff complain that they are the last to know important information; 44 Decisions are revisited or delayed because some staff were not brought into the discussion initially; or 44 Internal communication is rarely as simple or easy as walking down the hall to have a casual conversation. Table 2.5 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity.

28 Application of Strategies Strategic Oversight and Readiness Assessment This technique is designed to assess staffing requirements from multiple agencies and to install a single, cohesive sys- tem of project management protocols for finances, sched- ule, and oversight. Aligning staff from multiple agencies and providing a common system of project management can streamline internal communication and coordination. Real-Time Collaborative Interagency Reviews Interagency reviews can be complicated when done separately in a sequence of review–revision cycles. Real-time reviews among several agencies can reduce the communication and coordination required to reconcile comments from different reviewers. Expedited Internal Review and Decision Making Expediting applications such as internal review and decision making establishes commitments from agencies and staff on a project for the protocols and time frames for these activities. Up-front agreement on this process can improve internal communication and coordination and avoid misunderstand- ing among different parties. Consolidated Decision Council A consolidated decision council can simplify the decision- making processes of complex projects by reducing the man- agement structure that may otherwise form organically when multiple agencies are leading or participating in project development. Team Co-location Having the team in one location can improve internal com- munication and decision making on projects with diverse teams consisting of different agencies and consultants who would otherwise be working from multiple, disparate offices. Constraint 6: Inefficient Section 106 Consultation With State historic preservation Officer Most DOT projects and activities have little or no potential to affect historic or archaeological resources, but they are none- theless often subject to project-by-project review from the state historic preservation officer (SHPO). These reviews can add time and expense to these projects and sap resources that might otherwise be better spent on projects with more Table 2.5. Constraint 5: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low Medium High Effects • Multiple agencies are staffing the project, but these agencies have worked together successfully before • Internal communication seems cumbersome or time consuming, but is generally effective • Internal communication often requires scheduling meetings, and cannot often be done less formally. However, meetings are typically easy to schedule and are effective • Work needs to be redone because staff used out-of-date assumptions or data, but with little effect on the project schedule • Internal communication consistently requires more formal gatherings to discuss information about the project and maintain progress • Work needs to be redone because staff used out-of-date assumptions or data, causing ancillary effects on the project team’s morale • A project is being sponsored by multiple agencies with little experience working together and/or with substantially different mission statements and policies • Decisions must be revisited because some project staff were not properly involved in the initial decision making • Work needs to be redone because staff used out-of-date assumptions or data, causing the project to miss key milestone dates Mitigation strategies • Strategic oversight, readiness assessment • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Expedited internal review and decision making • Strategic oversight, readiness assessment • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Expedited internal review and decision making • Consolidated decision council • Team co-location • Strategic oversight, readiness assessment • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Expedited internal review and decision making • Consolidated decision council • Team co-location

29 likelihood of affecting resources protected by Section 106. The traditional approach of individually submitting most DOT projects and activities to SHPO for review and com- ment is generally inefficient. This approach may ultimately inhibit agencies from providing the appropriate resources on projects that do pose concern for historic and archaeological resources. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Lack of programmatic agreement among the transpor- tation agency, applicable federal agencies (e.g., FHWA or FTA), and SHPO that defines certain types of projects and activities that are categorically excluded from indi- vidual review and coordination with SHPO. • Lagging 44 Projects with almost no likelihood of affecting Section 106 resources take additional time and expense because of the need to submit information for review by SHPO; or 44 SHPO staff are overwhelmed or stretched thinly across the transportation projects they must review for poten- tial effects on Section 106 resources. Table 2.6 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Coordinated and Responsive Agency Involvement While the strategy of coordinated and responsive agency involvement typically is considered for projects that require more complex permitting or reviewing needs, it can also help to streamline interactions on projects with minimal need for review (i.e., on projects less likely to affect Section 106 resources) by establishing criteria for reduced timelines and process. Planning-Level Environmental Screening Criteria Establishing planning-level screening criteria can allow DOTs to better prioritize and anticipate Section 106 consultation requirements with SHPOs. By identifying projects with more and less likelihood of affecting Section 106 resources, these agencies can allocate staff more efficiently and develop more realistic project schedules early in project development. DOT-Funded Liaisons DOT funding can help SHPOs to provide staff dedicated to working on transportation projects and developing and implementing protocols for Section 106 consultation. This DOT investment can improve interagency coordination and reduce delay during review of environmental documentation and permit applications. Programmatic Agreements for Section 106 Agreements among DOTs, FHWA, and SHPOs have proven to be an effective method for identifying classes of projects and activities that do not require individual Section 106 review by SHPO and for defining evaluation techniques undertaken on projects with the potential to affect Section 106 resources. These and other streamlining measures can be developed in a programmatic agreement to enhance interagency coordina- tion, avoid unnecessary time and effort on routine activities, and ultimately improve Section 106 review and compliance. Table 2.6. Constraint 6: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low High Effects • Lack of programmatic agreement but strong relations between agencies involved in Section 106 reviews helps to ensure they rarely hold up projects • Programmatic agreement in place between state DOT, SHPO, and FHWA, but its use is limited because of narrow provisions, out-of-date information, or lack of understanding or appreciation from some parties • Section 106 consultation is functioning acceptably, but agencies desire a more streamlined approach • Coordination with SHPO and its Section 106 reviews is requiring additional time and cost on many projects unlikely to affect Section 106 resources • SHPO resources are severely strained due to the high volume of projects to review Mitigation strategies • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • DOT-funded liaisons • Programmatic agreement for Section 106

30 Constraint 7: Inordinate Focus on Single Issue Projects can become paralyzed if an inordinate amount of focus is placed on one resource or issue. This focus can be driven by an influential stakeholder with a particular interest or by an agency or stakeholder with a deep commitment to the resource. It is normal for resources to be divided up by groups and agencies; it is part of the structure within which planning occurs. However, sometimes an inordinate level of concern for a given resource seems to consume all the energy for a project. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Stakeholder focuses on a narrow portion of his or her organization’s interests. • Lagging 44 A single resource dominates all decision conversations or analyses; 44 A subset of regulated resources is the sole concern, although other subsets are present; 44 Technical background of participants drives the conver- sation or focus; or 44 Technical concerns are coming into policy processes with more detail than would be expected. Table 2.7 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Facilitation to Align Expectations Up Front Early facilitation allows for issues, concerns, and values to be clearly identified before conflict arises. Facilitation can set limits early in the process on how extensive the focus will be on specific resources. Interagency Dispute-Resolution Process By developing a clear process for handling disputes within a decision-making process, any issues that arise can be handled swiftly. Real-Time Collaborative Interagency Reviews Reviewing issues collaboratively in real time allows the entire team to address the importance of issues. This ensures that all issues are considered appropriately and that no one issue dominates the process. Planning and Environmental Linkages Similar to using planning-level environmental screening cri- teria, utilizing work done during the planning phase can help to frame the issues faced during NEPA and avoid focusing on topics of little concern or relevance to the project. Coordinated and Responsive Agency Involvement Consistent engagement with resource agencies can establish and maintain mutual agreement on the issues that are rele- vant to a project. This consistency helps to avoid the diversion Table 2.7. Constraint 7: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low High Effects • One resource drives technical conversations and dominates the analysis • Only one participant and one resource is the source of focus • Weak regulatory connection to resource being focused on (e.g., Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act) • Multiple groups hyper focus on one resource or a very narrow aspect of the resource • Technical focus dominates conversations among senior-level staff, including policy makers • Strong regulatory connection to resource being focused (e.g., ESA) Mitigation strategies • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Interagency dispute-resolution process • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Planning and environmental linkages • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Interagency dispute-resolution process • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Planning and environmental linkages • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Consolidated decision council • Up-front environmental commitment

31 to inapplicable or less important topics that can occur when resource agencies are only sporadically engaged. Consolidated Decision Council A decision council can provide direction, focus a project team on the relevant issues to be addressed, and enable participants in the process to keep each other within a reasonable set of decisions. Up-Front Environmental Commitment If project stakeholders have a known concern and interest in a specific resource that could be affected by a project, trans- portation agencies can prevent this issue from delaying the project by providing a commitment early in project develop- ment to avoid or enhance the resource. Constraint 8: Insufficient public engagement or Support Obtaining meaningful public engagement can be difficult unless people understand how they could be directly affected by a project. Attracting public interest in long-range planning efforts is chronically difficult because activities 10 to 20 years or more in the future do not have the same potential to concern or appeal to a community as more imminent projects. Socio economic barriers, lack of transportation, or perceived disempowerment can make engagement even more difficult. Insufficient public participation can make transportation planning less effective at supporting subsequent project development. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Project requires long-range planning; 44 Project has large and/or diverse constituencies; 44 Project needs to engage low-income and/or minority groups; or 44 Plan or project is looking at issues that have historically caused constituents to lose interest or to not take the latest efforts seriously. • Lagging 44 Turnout at public meetings is poor; 44 Input from participants at meetings is low; or 44 Complaints from stakeholders, press, or the public that outreach is ineffective. Table 2.8 describes the likely effects from the manifesta- tion of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Highly Responsive Public Engagement A highly responsive public engagement campaign can encom- pass a variety of techniques to generate more interest from the public and determine how public input is responded to and addressed during the development and screening of alternatives. Media Relations Manager A dedicated media relations manager may be an unaffordable luxury on some projects, but this person can provide valuable benefits to public participation by increasing media exposure and improving the accuracy of media reporting. Context-Sensitive Design Context-sensitive design can increase public support for a proj- ect by respecting local values and resources and by providing Table 2.8. Constraint 8: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low High Effects • There is little public participation, largely because of the nature of the project, either because there is low public interest in the issues involved or because input is inherently simple given the issues being explored • Some potential stakeholder groups are dis engaged due to lack of interest or awareness • Lack of public input is delaying consensus and decision making • Stakeholder groups are disengaged because they feel disempowered or lack trust in the project’s sponsoring agencies Mitigation strategies • Highly responsive public engagement • Highly responsive public engagement • Media relations manager • Context-sensitive design • Early commitment of construction funding

32 amenities and benefits sought by the community. Modifying a design to achieve context sensitivity may be cost prohibitive or require compromises, but serious consideration of this strategy will likely attract more public engagement and support. Early Commitment of Construction Funding Early commitment of construction funding makes a project appear more real and imminent. It can be especially effective during early planning and the NEPA process for attracting more public engagement, if not support. Constraint 9: Issues arising Late Cause project Change Late issues or seemingly new issues introduced late in the plan- ning or review process can lead to project delay. Sometimes this constraint stems from new participants entering the process, or it is used as a tactic to stall the overall process by requiring consideration of new options that may not be relevant. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Project relies on planning work that is several years old; 44 Project is large and/or complex; 44 Stakeholders present new reports; or 44 New stakeholders appear. • Lagging 44 Challenges on alternatives are considered; 44 Range of alternatives expands; or 44 New issues emerge from stakeholders late in review, comment, or decision processes. Table 2.9 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Aligning Expectations Up Front Aligning expectations up front by using a facilitator early in the NEPA process to solicit stakeholders’ ideas, desires, and concerns about a project (in addition to doing so during planning) can help to reduce the likelihood of issues ambush- ing the project leaders later on. Real-Time Collaborative Interagency Reviews Real-time collaborative interagency reviews that allow resource agencies and cooperating agencies to review NEPA documen- tation together with the NEPA lead agencies can allow project teams to more efficiently and effectively address any new issues that are raised during these reviews. Highly Responsive Public Engagement Highly responsive public engagement encourages greater involvement from the public early on and reduces the likeli- hood that unanticipated issues will crop up later in the pro- cess when they are more difficult to address. Table 2.9. Constraint 9: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low Medium High Effects • Single issue added with analysis using existing data • New information results in refining design elements • Stakeholders raising narrow policy concerns (local, single issues) • New issue or consideration requiring new data • Stakeholders raising concerns that require changes to permitting requirements • Fundamentally different alternatives included • New alternatives are added, reevaluation is needed, or class of action moves up • Stakeholders with broader policy concerns (national, multiple-issue groups) Mitigation strategies • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Highly responsive public engagement • Planning and environmental linkages • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Regional environmental analysis framework • Real-time collaborative reviews • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Highly responsive public engagement • Planning and environmental linkages • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Regional environmental analysis framework • Change-control practices • Interagency dispute resolution • Tiered NEPA • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Highly responsive public engagement • Planning and environmental linkages • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Regional environmental analysis framework • Change-control practices • Interagency dispute resolution • Tiered NEPA

33 Planning and Environmental Linkages Leveraging planning work during the NEPA process helps project leaders to identify potential issues earlier, when they can be proactively addressed and are less likely to cause unex- pected work and delay. Planning-Level Environmental Screening Criteria Planning-level environmental screening criteria allow trans- portation agencies to identify potential issues early on and avoid surprises during later phases of project development when they are more likely to cause delay. Change-Control Practices Change-control practices can minimize the frequency and severity of changes to project design after preliminary design and environmental documentation and thus can reduce the chances of delay due to revising prior permit applications, environmental documentation, and other prior work. Interagency Dispute-Resolution Process An interagency dispute-resolution process can address dis- agreements that arise when resource agencies raise issues later than expected. An established resolution process can help par- ties to arrive more quickly at a determination on how to proceed. Tiered NEPA Process A tiered NEPA process allows analysis and decisions com- pleted during project planning to be more reliable during the next phase of project development, reducing the likelihood that issues already addressed will need to be looked at again. Regional Environmental Analysis Framework A regional environmental analysis framework improves the ability of transportation agencies to identify potential issues early in planning and project development. Providing data on the location of natural and cultural resources allows agencies to make better-informed decisions during early phases and to avoid problems during later phases that require design changes. Constraint 10: Lack of Dedicated Staff Transportation agency resources are often stretched thinly across many different projects and initiatives, which can result in insufficient staffing resources and delayed progress. Projects can suffer from insufficient staff resources because of programmatic or agencywide changes that compete with project staff time or because of new developments specific to the project that require additional staffing. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Agency rapidly assumes more projects; 44 Agency assumes new jurisdiction or provision of new services; 44 Agency changes priorities; or 44 Project undergoes changes that introduce new signifi- cant impacts or greatly increase design complexity. • Lagging 44 Progress is slowed or halted because the project team is not able to complete work on time. Table 2.10 describes the likely effects from the manifesta- tion of the constraint at different severities and the strategies Table 2.10. Constraint 10: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low Medium High Effects • Project delay due to staff resources that are temporarily unavailable or insufficient, but that will become available either as they finish other priorities or through reprioritization • Staffing deficiency in agencies outside of those leading the project • Insufficient staff resources for tasks demanding expertise that is difficult to obtain • Widespread deficiency in staff resources that will require major hiring, reallocation, and/or additional consultant services Mitigation strategies • Strategic oversight, readiness assessment • Strategic oversight, readiness assessment • DOT-funded liaisons • Early commitment of construction funding • Strategic oversight, readiness assessment • DOT-funded liaisons • Early commitment of construction funding • Team co-location

34 that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Strategic Oversight and Readiness Assessment This strategy focuses on developing a management plan for staff resources across all agencies before the project begins. If a deficiency is identified, resources can be reprogrammed if possible. DOT-Funded Liaisons For DOTs with a repeated need for decision making or review by resource agencies, liaisons offer an opportunity to make sure the staff time is dedicated. Early Commitment of Construction Funding When a project has money for construction, it can be much easier for agencies to justify hiring or reallocating staff to the project. In some cases, the construction funds may be useable prior to construction to pay for additional staff. Team Co-location Projects staffed by multiple agencies can often suffer sporadic neglect as one or more agencies reallocate staff to other pri- orities. Providing a single office for all project staff to work in reduces the likelihood of this occurring. Constraint 11: Lengthy Review and Revision Cycles Preparation and publication of planning studies and NEPA documentation can be delayed by protracted review and revi- sion cycles. Delay can occur on projects with multiple reviewing agencies, particularly if their reviews occur sequentially (i.e., lead agency review first, then cooperating agencies, followed by resource agencies); if additional reviews are requested; if reviewers require more time than originally allotted; and/or if time is needed for reconciliation between conflicting reviewers. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Multiple lead agencies have different implementation policies; 44 Resource agencies will review major documents before publication; or 44 There are several cooperating agencies. • Lagging 44 Multiple, sequential reviews are on the critical path toward completing the plan or NEPA documentation; or 44 Reconciliation of comments is delaying the document. Table 2.11 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Table 2.11. Constraint 11: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low Medium High Effects • Lead agency unwilling to engage in concurrent reviews with other agencies • More than one round of review by the same parties • Several rounds of review by the same parties • Conflicting comments require reconciliation process • Reconciliation of comments becomes cyclical, with reviewers requiring addi- tional reviews and introducing new edits • Irreconcilable comments are stagnat- ing progress toward finalizing and publishing the document Mitigation strategies • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Expedited internal review and decision making • Planning and environmental linkages • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Expedited internal review and decision making • Planning and environmental linkages • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Early commitment of construction funding • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Expedited internal review and decision making • Planning and environmental linkages • Planning-level environmental screening criteria • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Early commitment of construction funding • DOT-funded resource agency liaisons • Team co-location • Programmatic permits

35 Application of Strategies Real-Time Collaborative Interagency Reviews Concurrent reviews among multiple agencies, as well as real- time drafting and revising, can expedite agreement on environ- mental documentation. Allowing resource agencies and cooperating agencies to review documentation at the same time as DOT management and FHWA or FTA staff can substantially shorten the review–revision cycle for NEPA documentation and facilitate reconciliation of conflicting comments. Expedited Internal Review and Decision Making This strategy entails establishing internal protocols and time frames for reviews. By establishing early agreement among reviewing agencies on the review process, a project can avoid uncertainty, more accurately develop a schedule, and maintain planned progress when distributing environmental documen- tation for review. Planning and Environmental Linkages Referencing work done during prior planning studies, rather than redeveloping it, can make review and revision of NEPA documentation simpler and potentially less con- tentious if reviewing parties were involved during the early planning work. Planning-Level Environmental Screening Criteria Incorporating environmental factors into planning-level screening can help to address a wide set of potential issues and concerns early on and allow NEPA documentation to incorporate the planning work by reference, thereby simpli- fying the documents and their review. Coordinated and Responsive Agency Involvement Stronger collaboration with resource agencies throughout, and even before, the NEPA process can streamline their review of the environmental documentation. They will have a better understanding of the project and how it has developed, and project leaders will be able to proactively address their inter- ests and concerns. Facilitation to Align Expectations Up Front Explaining a project’s goals, constraints, and intended pro- cess to resource agencies and stakeholders early on—during planning or at the outset of a NEPA process—can reduce unrealistic expectations from these parties and alert the transportation agencies to their interests earlier. This can avoid delay later on when these parties review environmental documentation. Early Commitment of Construction Funding Having construction funding in place can add pressure for a project to progress through the environmental process toward construction. With funding accounted for, agencies and indi- vidual reviewers should be less likely to feel they can delay the preparation of environmental documentation by extending the review and revision process. DOT-Funded Resource Agency Liaisons Reviewing environmental documentation often requires more staff commitment from resource agencies than they can readily provide. An expensive but potentially worthwhile option can be for transportation agencies to fund dedicated liaison positions at these resource agencies. Team Co-location Providing a single location for a project team is helpful on projects involving multiple agencies, particularly when these agencies are each reviewing a complex NEPA document. Having these reviewers work in the same office cuts down on the effort and time required for communication and coordi- nation of their reviews. Programmatic Permits Relying on policies and stipulations previously developed and agreed on by relevant agencies can reduce resource agency review effort. Using preexisting policies and stipulations, rather than crafting project-specific variants, minimizes the amount of scrutiny required from resource agencies, so long as an appli- cable programmatic permit is available. If one does not already exist, developing a programmatic permit may also be helpful for DOTs pursuing multiple projects with similar permitting requirements. Constraint 12: Negative or Critical Coverage from the Media Projects often encounter challenges when media coverage highlights or stokes controversy and opposition. A variety of factors can create or contribute to these difficulties. Projects leaders can fail to anticipate hot-button issues with local media outlets or stakeholder groups, or they may identify the issues but not develop effective methods for addressing these issues or working with these groups. Transportation agencies often struggle to communicate information, either in meet- ings or via press releases, that both anticipates and clearly addresses topics of potential interest and concern to the press and their public audience.

36 Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Local media outlets have a history of criticizing similar projects; or 44 Prior planning or design efforts have resulted in public controversy. • Lagging 44 Information released at public meetings or directly to the press is misrepresented or unused by local media coverage; 44 Opinion editorials about the project are largely critical and/or poorly informed; or 44 Media coverage prompts concerns from stakeholder groups. Table 2.12 describes the likely effects from the manifesta- tion of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Highly Responsive Public Engagement A highly responsive public engagement campaign can help to avoid frequent media criticism of the project’s public pro- cess. Also, improving public participation can bolster sup- port for a project and reduce the likelihood that some media outlets will provide negative coverage. Media Relations Manager Hiring a dedicated media relations manager can be the most effective approach to directly preventing or addressing neg- ative or inaccurate reporting. This position can help to structure information releases to be more readily useable by the press, thereby reducing the chances that information will be mischaracterized. A media relations manager can also improve direct correspondence and coordination with media outlets to address or prevent critical coverage. Constraint 13: relocation process Delays Construction Property acquisition and the relocation of residents or busi- nesses are often on the critical path to the start of construc- tion, which adds pressure on the transportation agency to quickly negotiate replacement housing payments and other settlement issues that must be completed during the reloca- tion process. This process can be stressful for tenants or busi- ness owners, who generally have different motivations than the transportation agency, and can lead to protracted negotia- tions that delay relocation and subsequent project activities. With the relocation process frequently on the critical path to construction, and given the direct implications of delay to project cost, transportation agencies will often benefit from techniques that expedite relocations. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Many relocations are likely to be necessary for the project; 44 Residential or commercial relocations have unique or specific requirements; or 44 Early discussions with owners or tenants of proper- ties likely to be acquired reveal resistance or other indications that they could protract the relocation process. • Lagging 44 Relocation process is behind schedule and on the proj- ect’s critical path. Table 2.13 describes the likely effects from the manifesta- tion of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Table 2.12. Constraint 12: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low High Effects • Project is receiving negative press coverage, but this does not appear to be swaying opinions of many public participants or stakeholder groups • Media coverage is misrepresenting information about the project, but the reporters are willing and able to correct the information • Negative press coverage and/or opinion editorials are swaying the attitudes and input from public participants and stakeholder groups • Media coverage is consistently providing incorrect information about the project that is difficult to correct Mitigation strategies • Highly responsive public engagement • Highly responsive public engagement • Media relations manager

37 Application of Strategies Media Relations Manager A media relations manager can provide effective outreach to residents or businesses being displaced by a project by ensur- ing that information about the project, including the process and timeline for relocations, is accurately covered by the local news media. This will help to avoid confusion and delay from inaccurate coverage. Highly Responsive Public Engagement A robust public engagement strategy, like a media relations manager, will ensure residents and businesses are informed of the relocation process and timeline. Incentive Payments Incentive payments can encourage residents and businesses to participate in the relocation project quickly. This expense can save money on projects that have many relocations on the critical path to construction. Constraint 14: Slow Decision Making When decisions take longer than expected or anticipated, the decision-making process can feel unclear, as can the path to agreement. At times, it may seem there is a low level of inter- est in committing to a decision and that indecision prolongs the process. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Project has multiple sponsors; 44 Project is located in two states; 44 Project has or had difficulty moving from planning to project delivery (e.g., stuck in long-range transportation planning); 44 There is no clear project champion; or 44 External decision makers are involved. • Lagging 44 Work is stalled or stopped while waiting for decisions; 44 Assumptions are used to address decisions that are not being made, and managers move forward with assumed decisions or risk-based decisions to address lack of decision; or 44 Decisions or commitments are not clearly owned by anyone. Table 2.14 describes the likely effects from the manifesta- tion of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Team Co-location Co-locating the consultant team with the DOT team allows for faster review of issues and internal decision making. While this arrangement can incur more costs, depending on the situation, it is generally applicable to any project size. Real-Time and Collaborative Interagency Reviews Many small decisions or reconciling concerns can combine to create significant delay. By coordinating all reviewers in real time, many issues can be dealt with quickly in an open forum. Expedited Internal Review and Decision Making Securing early agreement among internal project stakehold- ers for specific time frames and processes for decision making Table 2.13. Constraint 13: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low High Effects • Negotiations with some property owners or tenants are taking more time than originally planned, but no critical barriers are encountered • Unable to reach agreement with one or more property owners about suitable replacement properties; all or major portions of construction can continue as scheduled • Unable to reach agreement with one or more property owners about suitable replacement properties; construction is delayed Mitigation strategies • Media relations manager • Highly responsive public engagement • Media relations manager • Highly responsive public engagement • Incentive payments

38 Table 2.14. Constraint 14: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low Medium High Effects • One or two stalled decisions add less than a week to decision making • Single decision maker is slow to come to decision • Leadership or a champion is available, but having challenges engaging or committing • Infrequent issue (only once or twice in a project) • Decision-making challenges are only with decision makers internal to the project team (DOT or FHWA) • Decisions or commitments seem to have an unclear path and are resolved barely in time • Multiple slow decisions are causing delays that are significant to certain tasks, but not delaying overall schedule • Internal or external decision makers may be involved • Not sure when to start with decisions, no clear decision maker • Slow decisions delay or prevent critical milestones for planning or project delivery • Multiple decision makers failing to reach decisions or causing delay • Both external and internal decision makers are contributing to delay • No clear path or leadership • Recurring issue for which decisions repeatedly are not made Mitigation strategies • Team co-location • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Expedited internal review and decision making • Team co-location • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Expedited internal review and decision making • Consolidated decision council • Planning and environmental linkages • Early commitment of construction funding • Team co-location • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Expedited internal review and decision making • Consolidated decision council • Planning and environmental linkages • Early commitment of construction funding • Strategic oversight, readiness assessment can avoid uncertainty when decisions are needed, and thus prevent delay. Consolidated Decision Council For larger projects that justify the effort and preplanning, dedicated councils can create a set structure for decision making. Councils explicitly identify the authority and scope of decision making, allowing issues or questions to be placed on the agenda, considered, and decided on effectively. Planning and Environmental Linkages Decision making during the NEPA process can be expedited if it can rely on or use documentation and decisions made during previous planning studies. Agreements made during planning provide a foundation on which to make decisions and help decision makers justify their choices. Early Commitment of Construction Funding Without known funding agencies may delay making tough decisions. Allocated funding adds pressure to make decisions to progress toward construction. This can be especially true when funding is paired with required time frames so that deci- sions must be made for the imposed schedule to be achieved. Strategic Oversight and Readiness Assessment This strategy focuses on developing a management plan for decision making before the project begins or at the very beginning. It requires a substantial investment to imple- ment and therefore is best suited to larger projects. By iden- tifying needed decision makers, resources, and critical paths early, decision making can be expedited through effective planning. Constraint 15: Stakeholder Controversy and Opposition Stakeholder opposition or controversy can lead to project delay or even cancellation. Stakeholders may oppose one or more particular elements or alternatives for a project, or they may simply reject the validity or merit of the entire endeavor. This opposition can produce controversy and delay progress. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Project will introduce unfamiliar or unknown changes to surroundings; 44 Stakeholder groups exist with potential to oppose project;

39 44 Preexisting agreements or plans exist that conflict with the project; 44 Significant changes to demographics or property owner- ship will occur in the project area; or 44 Similar projects have faced significant opposition in the region. • Lagging 44 Progress with public outreach or coordination with resource agencies is stalled because issues of concern remain unaddressed or unresolved; or 44 Stakeholders have mobilized opposition to project or elements of the project. Table 2.15 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Facilitation to Align Expectations Up Front Facilitation can help projects align stakeholder expectations early during project development by encouraging partici- pants to express their desires and concerns and to hear others’ thoughts about the project. Facilitated discussions help stake- holders both to influence and understand the goals and con- straints of the project, minimizing disappointment and opposition later on. Regional Environmental Analysis Framework A regional environmental analysis framework allows agencies to develop consensus on the approach for evaluating poten- tial impacts to resources of concern. Having this framework in place allows project management to better anticipate likely issues of concern for stakeholders and to adapt or address the issues earlier in project development. Highly Responsive Public Engagement Highly responsive public engagement will also help DOTs to anticipate likely issues of concern for stakeholders. This out- reach facilitates identifying issues that may lead to opposition from stakeholders, and it allows the DOT to better explain to them the constraints or demands the agency is operating under that could result in project elements that are undesired by stakeholders. Media Relations Manager A media relations manager can help the project to avoid or moderate controversy that can be sparked by inaccurate or misleading media coverage. By better communicating with media outlets, opposition and criticism are less likely to grow beyond the agency’s ability to address them. Up-Front Environmental Commitments By providing meaningful environmental commitments early in project development, DOTs can proactively address potential issues of concern from stakeholder groups that could otherwise delay the project. Context-Sensitive Design Adapting the project design to respond to stakeholder con- cerns can be the most meaningful and significant response to stakeholders, although this may be challenging or even infea- sible depending on stakeholder demands. Table 2.15. Constraint 15: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low High Effects • Opposition to discrete element(s) of the project • Concerns from stakeholders or agencies can be easily addressed by evaluation, documentation, and discussion • Stakeholders raising narrow policy concerns (local, single issues) • Opposition to the entire project • Opposition seeks entirely different alternative(s) and/or reevaluation • Stakeholders with broader policy concerns (national, multiple-issue groups) • Stakeholder concerns are not swayed by data Mitigation strategies • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Regional environmental analysis framework • Highly responsive public engagement • Facilitation to align expectations up front • Regional environmental analysis framework • Highly responsive public engagement • Media relations manager • Up-front environmental commitments irrespective of project impacts • Context-sensitive design

40 Constraint 16: Unusually Large Scale of and/or Complex project or program DOTs are occasionally faced with a project or program of proj- ects that is larger and more complex than what they are accus- tomed to. These projects or programs may entail many separate components that form a major infrastructure improvement or distinct projects of a similar nature that are being addressed programmatically. Typically, projects of unusually large scale and/or complexity cannot be pursued efficiently or effectively with a business as usual approach. Instead, decision making, permitting, and designing will require new techniques to be accomplished efficiently. Indications that this constraint may occur or has already occurred include • Leading 44 Project is larger in scope and cost than usual; 44 Project is the largest project of its type that the agency has pursued; 44 Project is the first project of its type; 44 Project or program spans a multistate or statewide region; or 44 Multiple related projects are being pursued program- matically. • Lagging 44 Decisions are stalled due to difficulty in gathering con- sensus from multiple parties; or 44 Decisions or analysis are being done repetitively for multiple, similar issues. Table 2.16 describes the likely effects from the manifestation of the constraint at different severities and the strategies that may help to prevent or address the constraint at each degree of severity. Application of Strategies Team Co-location Providing a single location for all project staff improves inter- nal communication and decision making on projects with diverse teams from different agencies and consultants who would otherwise be working from multiple, separate offices. While this strategy will not directly address some of the spe- cific analytical and documentation challenges faced by proj- ects of unusual complexity, it should help to streamline the project team’s efficiency and reduce potential bottlenecks. Coordinated and Responsive Agency Involvement Large, complex projects generally require coordination with more local, state, and federal resource agencies, necessitating a well-defined and collaborative approach for their involvement. As the number of agencies involved increases, it becomes easier for some to feel marginalized if their concerns and interests are overshadowed by those of other agencies. A highly responsive coordination strategy can help to avoid this. Dispute-Resolution Process With more agencies and stakeholders involved in large proj- ects, there is an increasing likelihood of delay from protracted Table 2.16. Constraint 16: Effects and Mitigation Strategies Severity Low High Effects • Project or program is delayed, but other projects are not affected • Some unique or highly complex elements in an otherwise more ordinary project or program • Project or program is delayed and is also slowing other projects • Many or all aspects of the project are unique or complex Mitigation strategies • Team co-location • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Dispute-resolution process • Strategic oversight, readiness assessment • Early commitment of construction funding • Expedited internal review and decision making • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Team co-location • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement • Dispute-resolution process • Strategic oversight, readiness assessment • Early commitment of construction funding • Expedited internal review and decision making • Real-time collaborative interagency reviews • Performance standards • Programmatic permitting • DOT-funded resource agency liaisons • Consolidated decision council • Tiered NEPA process

41 or stalled debate. A dispute-resolution process can help to unlock these debates, whether they occur between co-lead agencies or with resource agencies. Strategic Oversight and Readiness Assessment This strategy is designed to assess staffing requirements for major projects and programs requiring commitments from multiple agencies. When implemented early on, readiness assessment will identify staffing demands and areas that need bolstered resources. Strategic oversight and readiness assessment can also provide a common system of project and program management protocols for finances, schedule, and oversight. Early Commitment of Construction Funding Funding can help large projects to appear more feasible and more likely to come to fruition, both to a project team and also to resource agencies and stakeholder groups. Major projects can languish when project teams or stakeholders believe a project is unaffordable, and commitment of fund- ing can avoid this perception. Furthermore, funding com- mitments with specific timeline requirements can provide momentum and add pressure for agencies and stakeholders to move quickly. Expedited Internal Review and Decision Making Large, complex projects usually have multiple agencies involved in reviews and decision making, and having an expedited internal review and decision-making process in place can help simplify and streamline such projects. Estab- lishing commitments from agencies on the process and time frame for project actions is an important tool for avoiding uncertainty and delay. Real-Time Collaborative Interagency Reviews The review and revision process for environmental docu- mentation can be complicated on projects with multiple lead agencies and/or with a variety of cooperating and resource agencies that must review and approve the documents. These reviews, and the subsequent revisions, can be completed more quickly if all agencies are able to review and comment together, rather than in sequential rounds of review and revision. Other collaborative techniques can further stream- line the process. Performance Standards This strategy can allow project teams to develop permit appli- cations with commitments to specific outcomes (e.g., the impact to a resource will be equal to or less than a specified amount) without having to analyze and debate the potential impacts from the project design with resource agencies. Such debate is a common source of delay during environmental documentation and permitting, and it is an especially high- risk portion of the schedule for projects with designs that resource agencies are not accustomed to permitting. Programmatic Permitting This strategy can expedite the process of permitting multiple actions or projects with common attributes and impacts. By developing a common set of analytical techniques, environ- mental criteria, and documentation as the basis for a program- matic approach to permitting, the DOT can realize major efficiencies and cost savings. DOT-Funded Resource Agency Liaisons Major projects often require significant staff commitments from resource agencies. By funding liaison positions at resource agencies, DOTs can better ensure that their project will receive the time and attention it needs to receive review, input, and approval from these agencies. Consolidated Decision Council A small group of appointed managers can streamline deci- sion making on large projects when multiple agencies are involved in developing the project design. A group compris- ing a single designated project leader from each of these agen- cies can simplify consensus building and decision making on complex, multijurisdictional projects. Tiered NEPA Process Projects with a large, complex scope of improvements generally start development with in-depth planning studies to frame the issues and problems they will address and to gauge stakeholder interest and concern. These planning studies can provide valu- able information for a subsequent NEPA process, including the development and screening of potential alternatives. A tiered NEPA process can allow some of this planning to be done under the auspices of NEPA, and thus ensure this work is more readily and efficiently usable for ensuing project-level NEPA studies.

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TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Report S2-C19-RR-1: Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects identifies strategies that have been successfully used to expedite the planning and environmental review of transportation and some nontransportation projects within the context of existing laws and regulations.

The report also identifies 16 common constraints on project delivery and 24 strategies for addressing or avoiding the constraints.

While the strategies and constraints are associated with planning and environmental review, many of the strategies are also applicable to design and construction.

Results of SHRP 2 Report S2-C19-RR-1 have been incorporated into the Transportation for Communities—Advancing Projects through Partnerships (TCAPP) website. TCAPP is now known as PlanWorks.

An e-book version of this report is available for purchase at Google, iTunes, and Amazon.

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