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Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects (2012)

Chapter: chapter 4 - case studies.

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82 C h a p t e r 4 This chapter documents the case studies gathered from the research and interviews described in Chapter 1. Each case study is relatively brief, focusing on the application of the specific expediting strategy it illustrates, including the project attributes that influenced the success of the strategy, the likely constraints it addressed or proactively avoided, and the lessons learned by the project team. These lessons learned, which generally come directly from interviews with staff from the project or resource agencies, can offer valuable insight into why the strategy worked, techniques or factors that could have improved it, or specific scenarios for which staff believe the strategy is most beneficial. Each case study description also specifies whether the example is a specific project or a program of separate actions, a distinction that can be relevant to the transferability of the expediting strategies. District of Columbia 11th Street Bridges project Summary The 11th Street bridges project will be the largest project ever constructed by the District of Columbia, and it is the first river bridge replacement constructed by the District in more than 40 years. In spite of this, the District DOT (DDOT) and FHWA were able to complete the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process in just 34 months (from NOI to ROD), considerably faster than FHWA’s 68-month median for completing EISs. The project’s NEPA process also met FHWA’s national performance objective to complete the EIS within 36 months. The 11th Street bridges project faced a number of chal- lenges to timely delivery. DDOT successfully addressed these challenges through early planning and several key strategies that helped to expedite project delivery, includ- ing responsive public and agency engagement, early com- mitment of construction funding, up-front environmental commitments, planning and environmental linkages, expe- dited internal review and decision making, and context- sensitive design (CSD). Although the existing bridge over the Anacostia River is an Interstate facility, it does not provide direct connections between the Anacostia Freeway and the Southeast Freeway. This lack of connection results in substantial congestion on local streets caused by cut-through traffic. The new project will eliminate this cut-through traffic; separate local traffic crossing the river from Interstate traffic crossing the river; and provide improved transit, bike, and pedestrian access across the river. The separation of local traffic from Interstate traffic will also improve operations and safety on the Inter- state bridge. Project Overview The 11th Street bridges project is part of a broader revital- ization effort known as the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, which is led by the District of Columbia Office of Planning. Partners in the initiative include FHWA and DDOT. In 2004, DDOT commissioned a Middle Anacostia River Crossings (MAC) study to explore transportation planning and redevelopment options in the area that would support the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. The MAC study rec- ommended over 30 short-, mid, and long-term projects to enhance transportation infrastructure, safety, accessibility, mobility, and connectivity and to support broader revital- ization of the waterfront, including completion of the 11th Street bridges project’s missing highway connections. In 2005, FHWA issued an NOI to formally get the project under way. In addition to building the necessary ramp infrastructure, the project will replace deficient bridge components, expand bicycle and pedestrian facilities, accommodate future street- cars, and make aesthetic improvements to the bridge and freeway interchanges. The current traffic pattern of the Case Studies

83 11th Street bridges requires drivers to leave the freeways and navigate local roads to access other freeway connec- tions. This results in highly congested neighborhood streets, degraded air quality, increased noise, and other fac- tors affecting transportation access, mobility, and quality of life. By building missing freeway ramps and adding a new bridge for local traffic only, the project will separate regional and local traffic and significantly improve vehicu- lar, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic and safety in the Anacos- tia neighborhood. The existing 11th Street bridges are a pair of one-way bridges that cross the Anacostia River in southeastern Washington, D.C. They are projected to carry almost 180,000 vehicles daily by 2030. The bridges were built in the mid 1960s to provide a vital link between the Anacostia Freeway (I-295 and DC-295) and the Southeast/Southwest Freeway (I-695). However, the full connections envisioned in the original plan were never built. One of the main rea- sons for this was opposition from the community on the west side of the river. This lack of direct connecting ramps resulted in considerable cut-through traffic on local streets, particularly on the east side of the river. Drivers heading south on the Anacostia Freeway cannot access the bridges, and drivers heading east across the bridges cannot access the Anacostia Freeway heading north. For decades, the only alternative has been to use neighborhood streets to com- pensate for these missing highway connections. The 11th Street bridges project will complete these connections, as well as add a new bridge and other improvements. Project cost is estimated at $360 million, with a federal contribu- tion of $17 million and is projected to be completed in 2013 (see Table 4.1). The project is intended to • Improve mobility by providing separate freeway and local traffic connections to both directions of DC-295, the Southeast/Southwest Freeway, and local streets on both sides of the Anacostia River; • Provide a shared path for pedestrians and bicycles, as well as rails to allow future streetcar connections; • Replace the existing functionally deficient and structurally obsolete bridges; • Provide an additional alternate evacuation route from the nation’s capital; and • Include new trail connections, improved drainage, and other environmental investments. Project Constraints The 11th Street bridges project faced multiple challenges that could have derailed progress and extended the schedule, including significant environmental impacts and issues, a large number of permitting agencies, past public opposition, diverse public interests, and a project of unprecedented size and scope for the sponsor agencies. Unusually Large Scale of and/or Complex Project or Program The unique nature of this project within the district also posed a challenge for the sponsor agencies, the District of Columbia and the FHWA division office. These agencies had very little experience with EISs and large projects, and this was the first major transportation project for both the Table 4.1. 11th Street Bridges Project Timeline 1960s Existing 11th Street bridges constructed. 2003 Proposed new 11th Street project first appears in the District’s transportation improvement program as a planning study. 2004 MAC study explores transportation planning and redevelopment options in the area that would support the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. MAC study recommends transportation projects, including the completion of the 11th Street bridges’ missing highway connections. September 2005 NOI to prepare an EIS published in the Federal Register. June 2006 DEIS published. November 2007 FEIS published (signed September 2007). July 2008 ROD issued. Fall 2008 Design–build contractor hired. July 2009 NEPA and Section 4(f) reevaluation (covering project design changes after the ROD). December 2009 Construction began. Mid-2013 Projected construction completion.

84 District and for the division office in many years. This lack of experience and unfamiliarity with the type and scale of this project posed a challenge to expediting delivery. The project had significant environmental concerns that added to the scale of the project and required coordination and approvals from a large number of regulatory agencies: • Section 404 permitting and NEPA coordination from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were required for fill and removal in the Anacostia River. • Clean Water Act Section 402 compliance and coordination were required by EPA. • Clean Water Act Section 401 compliance was required by the District Department of the Environment. • Navigation clearance and Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 compliance were required by the U.S. Coast Guard. • National Marine Fisheries Service consultation under Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 was required. • National Park Service (NPS) approvals were required because the river, as well as the shorelines at each end of the bridges, is owned by NPS. Impacts to other Section 4(f) resources included a boat house, a national park (Anacostia Park on the eastern shore, also eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places), and a local park on the western shore that also included Section 6(f) protection. • Coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) was critical, because the east end of the bridge lands in the Anacostia Historic District, and the west end lands in the Capitol Hill Historic District. • Hope 6 public housing was present near the east end of the bridge. • The project was in a nonattainment (now maintenance) area for ozone. • Potential impacts to low-income and minority communi- ties (as defined by the Executive Order on Environmental Justice) in Anacostia neighborhoods on the east side of the river had to be considered. • Two federal entities—the National Capitol Planning Com- mission (NCPC) and the Commission on Fine Arts—had unique authority in the District. The NCPC has approval authority over all federal lands (including NPS land) in the DC metro area. The Commission on Fine Arts has an advi- sory role to ensure that art and architecture components (including view sheds) in the District are not compromised. Insufficient Public Engagement or Support Neighborhoods on both sides of the river had substantial concerns about the proposal and how they would be affected by the alternatives. Alternatives likely to be preferred by the community on one side of the river were likely to be rejected by the community on the other side. There was substantial diversity in neighborhood characteristics. The Capitol Hill neighborhood, on the west side, is affluent and has a low number of minority households. The neighborhoods in Ana- costia, on the east side, are predominantly African-American with a much higher number of low-income households. Communities on both sides of the river were well aware of the potential impacts and issues and asked challenging tech- nical and policy questions. Under current conditions, the lack of direct connections between the bridge and the freeway on the west side of the river causes traffic to use local streets on the east side. These streets suffer from the congestion of cut-through traffic. Part of the solution would be to add connections on the west side of the river. Initially, communities on the west side were opposed to this. Expediting Strategies DDOT adopted an aggressive schedule and committed the necessary resources to advance the project and meet the goal of improving the quality and timeliness of the transportation delivery process. To develop the project’s DEIS, DDOT part- nered with the public and more than 30 federal and non- federal participating agencies to gain early acceptance by stakeholders. The team identified critical project issues, which improved the scoping phase and addressed stakeholders’ con- cerns early. As a result, the solutions presented in the FEIS were representative of stakeholder needs and were environ- mentally sound. DDOT’s early planning and collaborative and proactive approach to developing the 11th Street bridges DEIS resulted in a streamlined project. Expediting strategies included • Planning and environmental linkages; • Early commitment of construction funding; • Facilitation to align expectations up front; • Coordinated and responsive agency involvement; • Up-front environmental commitments; • Highly responsive public engagement; • Expedited internal review and decision making; and • Context-sensitive design and solutions. Planning and Environmental Linkages The District conducted extensive up-front planning work before initiating the NEPA process. The District’s Office of Planning developed a framework plan identifying the trans- portation actions needed to support the revitalization efforts of the broader Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. Access prob- lems were identified as key to revitalization. DDOT, which was charged with improving access, developed a master transportation plan to identify key problems, how to address them, and what needed to be done. An Anacostia crossing study was developed specifically to identify river crossing

85 problems and potential solutions. The primary problem identified was congestion caused by the diversion of traffic from the Interstate to local streets as a result of the missing freeway-to-freeway connections. This planning also identi- fied a number of alternatives and proposed the strategies of dividing local traffic from Interstate traffic and establishing better freeway-to-freeway connections. These strategies were the foundation for the 11th Street bridges project. As part of the early planning effort, the department also developed ini- tial cost estimates for various projects. The planning analysis identified the impacts that the exist- ing and projected problems have and would continue to have on access, safety, air quality, noise, emergency access, busi- nesses, and aspects of quality of life. Peak traffic congestion on affected local streets can last for 4 hours in the morning peak and 4 hours in the afternoon peak. The department presented these analyses and findings to the mayor and city council, along with cost estimates for the various solutions. The detailed early planning, public involvement, and issues analysis also helped to streamline the NEPA process that followed. Early Commitment of Construction Funding DDOT staff did not necessarily identify the early commit- ment of construction funding as a key to expediting project delivery. Even so, the city council, in approving construction funds early in the NEPA process, also mandated that con- struction be completed by a certain date. The early funding and construction completion deadline provided motivation and authority within the agency to ensure that internal agency actions were expedited and did not cause project delay. DDOT’s method of securing early funding also pro- vides an example for other agencies. The intensive planning and analysis conducted on the broader needs for waterfront revitalization, and in particular, the role of improved access and transportation in achieving the revitalization goals, helped the department to secure funding commitments for construction much earlier than usual in the project develop- ment process. The city council approved funding for the 11th Street bridges project based on the planning studies and analyses conducted before the NEPA process was initiated. The analyses, findings, cost estimates, and public input secured in the early planning helped to facilitate this early decision by the Council. The Council also mandated that construction be complete within 6 years of the funding approval, which required that the NEPA process be completed in less than 36 months. Early funding allowed DDOT to imple- ment the NEPA process with a commitment to construction funding already in hand. Up-front funding commitments can promote expedited delivery, primarily because they represent an agency’s commitment to the project and demonstrate that the project is a high priority. Facilitation to Align Expectations Up Front and Coordinated and Responsive Agency Involvement The 11th Street bridges project team set an ambitious time- line to complete the EIS. To facilitate expedited EIS review and help project managers and stakeholders to better meet streamlining and stewardship objectives, DDOT secured FHWA’s assistance through the NEPA Teambuilding Initia- tive, which was administered by the FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review. According to the FHWA streamlining and stewardship newsletter: The goal of the NEPA Teambuilding Initiative is to assist state DOTs and FHWA Divisions in improving the quality and timeliness of the transportation-development process through teambuilding. The Initiative will also help to ensure that environmental stewardship and improved decision making are built into transportation-project development and review. The NEPA Teambuilding Initiative encourages public involvement throughout the EIS process, establishes project time frames that are agreeable to all stakeholders, and uses transparent methods to document project impacts and progress. (1) Earlier stages of the project development process for selected projects, such as team building and conflict resolution; scop- ing with interagency teams; and subject matter documenta- tion and review, are integral in building a solid team and a project that is cost-effective with fewer delays. For these rea- sons, assistance is usually highly prioritized during these early stages (1). DDOT found that the NEPA Teambuilding Initiative work was especially helpful in developing a more effective and effi- cient interagency coordination process. The FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review contacted other federal agencies to set up communication and coordi- nation lines and to expedite input and responses from those agencies. The involvement of FHWA headquarters and its Resource Center, with their extensive experience with EISs and large projects, also helped the DC division of FHWA to be more effective. FHWA headquarters also helped to expe- dite FHWA’s legal sufficiency review. Reviews occurred at both the DEIS and FEIS phases. The reviews were preceded by face-to-face briefings at the Resource Center. Legal suffi- ciency review was completed in 15 days, about half the usual duration. Interagency meetings were an important aspect of expe- diting agency coordination. The department already had this process established for other efforts and adopted it for the 11th Street project. This process included traveling to indi- vidual agency offices for face-to-face coordination (at least three briefings for each agency, including EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NCPC, and others). More frequent

86 meetings occurred with agencies such as NPS and SHPO. DDOT found that it was most effective to solicit initial input and concerns from the agencies and then propose an approach based on that initial input. For example, this method was critical to securing the Section 4(f) net benefit programmatic agreement for impacts to Anacostia Park (see the section below on up-front environmental commitments). Agency coordination was also expedited through early agreements developed through the NEPA team-building work, which allowed project leaders to accomplish at least partial concurrent reviews of key project materials. Up-Front Environmental Commitments The project’s use of Section 4(f) resources was unavoidable. Affected resources included a boat house, the river itself (owned by NPS), a local park, historic resources, and the NPS- owned Anacostia Park. Generally, DDOT found that it was most effective to solicit initial input and concerns from the various resource agencies and then propose an approach based on that initial input. This was critical to securing the Section 4(f) net benefit programmatic agreement for impacts to Anacostia Park. DDOT took the time to understand the minimization and mitigation measures that NPS would require to agree to the net benefit finding and committed to these minimization and mitigation measures early in the envi- ronmental process. This up-front commitment played a criti- cal role in the Section 4(f) net benefit finding and in expediting the completion of the final Section 4(f) evaluation. Highly Responsive Public Engagement Instead of holding traditional public meetings, DDOT held workshop-like meetings with the public from the beginning of the NEPA process so that community members could have meaningful dialogue and instant feedback. These meetings followed from the public involvement that occurred during the earlier planning phase. The workshop approach increased the awareness and knowledge of the public and helped the project team to better understand specific community con- cerns and hopes for the project. For the initial meetings, the team brought in maps and aerial photos with no proposed designs. Although the team had already developed concepts, they indicated their willingness to consider all community members’ concerns in developing the project. They sought to elicit community input on what was important to the com- munity and what ideas they had for addressing issues. The team held 32 public and community meetings during an approximately 6-month period of preparing the DEIS. DDOT also developed a website and newsletters that were designed to present information to both the general public and techni- cal experts in engaging, stimulating, and accessible ways. Separate meetings were initially held with communities on different sides of the river because their issues were different. Later the community meetings were combined, which allowed the different communities to better understand the variety of concerns in various neighborhoods and among various stakeholders. The project team formed a citizen advi- sory committee representing the different neighborhoods and groups, and they ran issues and information by the com- mittee before going public in order to gather suggestions on how best to convey information and solicit input. DDOT believes this approach required more up-front costs for public involvement but resulted in a project with greater public benefit and greater public support. This support was likely responsible for expediting delivery and for reducing the long-term costs. Communities on the west side were initially opposed to the project, but the intensive involvement helped the project to develop a preferred alternative that addressed many of their concerns and was ultimately supported by most. There were few opponents and many supporters by the end of the NEPA process. The project was legally challenged, but the challenge was settled through negotiations. Expedited Internal Review and Decision Making The commitments of the DDOT staff and decision makers to expedited review and decision making were critical factors in expediting overall project delivery. This included a commit- ment on the part of the project manager to be accessible by telephone any time between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., which allowed issues to be identified and elevated, and often resolved, very quickly. It also included the commitment from agency deci- sion makers to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Lengthy and cumbersome internal reviews and decision processes typically result in stalling the project team and progress being put on hold. Expediting the internal processes can have sub- stantial expediting benefits. The project manager and other project leadership also agreed to conduct quick internal reviews. During the devel- opment of the DEIS, the department’s project manager and other staff, as well as FHWA staff, occasionally met biweekly with the consultant team and met monthly with outside agencies. When the consultant draft DEIS was completed and delivered to DDOT, the department’s project manager and key staff, along with consultant leads, met in a workshop set- ting off site (to avoid distractions) for 3 days, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day. They reviewed the entire document and resolved issues regarding all of the technical analysis and findings. At the end of the 3 days, the review and revisions were complete, allowing the revised document to be for- warded with recommendations to the DDOT directors. In the

87 more traditional approach, it would not be unusual for this process to take weeks to complete. DDOT leadership committed to making quick policy and other decisions to keep the project advancing. At the begin- ning of the project, the project team met with DDOT senior leadership (the chief engineer, department director, and asso- ciate director) to clarify policy directions up front and estab- lish a process for efficiently gaining needed direction as the project progressed. For example, the senior leadership made it clear in the first meeting that they did not want the project to displace any residences, and they were willing to make other compromises to meet this goal. This provided an important policy parameter that guided project develop- ment. They also made it clear that cost was an important con- sideration, and they wanted a thorough analysis to determine whether any of the existing structures or substructures could be reused to reduce costs. Maintenance of traffic operations during construction and avoiding adverse impacts to envi- ronmental justice communities were other policy priorities that, because they were made clear early in the process, helped to provide clear guidance to the project team. This clarity of policy helped to expedite project development. Project staff updated agency leadership routinely at key points in the process. When it was time to select a preferred alternative, they held a half-day workshop with the decision makers and included senior staff from the consulting team to provide their perspectives and breadth of experience on this important decision. The project was approved by DDOT leadership, and then by the city council and mayor. Context-Sensitive Design and Solutions Employing CSD principles helped the project to provide greater public benefit and secure public support. Factors rel- evant to CSD included the adjacent parks, neighborhoods, environmental justice communities, the river, the U.S. Navy yard, historic districts, a desire for local connectivity, and a desire for greater access by transit, bicycling, and walking. DDOT developed alternatives that could minimize impacts to and/or benefit each of these resources. They also set up the public involvement process so that stakeholders could clearly express their preferences for the individual components of any given alternative, rather than having to choose between alternatives. This method allowed the project team to more precisely understand stakeholder concerns and preferences and allowed the team to combine various components from different alternatives in order to create an alternative that was most responsive to the different contextual elements. Context sensitivity also included separating local traffic from Inter- state traffic and creating a new direct connection between the local arterials on either side of the river. Under current conditions, the only connection between the two sides of the river is via I-295. This hinders local move- ment between the communities on either side and results in a dangerous series of weaves and merges and in conflicts between local traffic and through traffic. The new project will maintain the Interstate lanes across the river, but it will also build a new local bridge that separates local traffic from Inter- state traffic. The local bridge will connect two minor arterials (at 25 mph speeds) on either side of the river, providing direct connections for cars, buses, a future streetcar, bicycles, and pedestrians. It will include 15-foot-wide pedestrian paths. Another aspect of CSD was the removal of a portion of the Interstate facility that was built in the 1960s but was not being used because it did not connect to any other facility. This unused section was elevated (40 to 50 feet), about three- quarters of a mile long, and six lanes wide. DDOT had this unused section de-designated from the Interstate system and then removed it along with unused ramps. These changes removed the visual barrier and allowed new ramps to be built at lower elevations. Some of the applications of CSD principles to the project added construction costs, but DDOT does not believe that they raised the overall cost of the project. The greater context sensitivity of the project reduced impact and right-of-way costs, reduced public opposition, increased public support, improved the community asset value, and helped to expedite delivery. DDOT also believes that the application of CSD did not compromise traffic operations. While the project did not add capacity to the Interstate, it clearly will improve Interstate operations and safety. It will separate local traffic from Inter- state traffic, add a local connector bridge, and add other fac- tors that will improve operations of the Interstate, as well as improve operations and access for local traffic and other transportation modes. Lessons Learned DDOT has incorporated many of the successful practices from the 11th Street bridges project into an environmental process and policy manual that provides guidance for project implementation. As of July 2010, DDOT is developing fur- ther updates to the manual. They have also established a goal of completing all EAs within a 1-year time frame and all EISs within 18 to 24 months. In addition to the lessons described above, DDOT empha- sizes the importance of being clear with the public and other stakeholders up front regarding their roles in decision making. While they emphasize the importance of highly responsive public engagement and using CSD principles to design proj- ects, they also believe it is critical that the public understand that ultimately DDOT directors and elected officials are responsible for making decisions about the projects. As part

88 of this emphasis, they avoid having the public engage in vot- ing exercises on the alternatives, although they do have the public provide input or even vote on their preferences regard- ing issues, functions, or project components. This approach solicits more precise input about public preferences and reduces the risk of dividing communities through attach- ment to specific alternatives. The department believes that agency reviews are an aspect of project development that still has substantial remaining potential for expediting. This includes permitting agency reviews as well as FHWA reviews. The review process often takes as long as or longer than the time required to collect data, conduct analyses, and prepare documentation. Reviews that take multiple weeks or even months are not necessary and could be greatly reduced with focused effort and priori- tization (1–3). Flagler Memorial Bridge project Summary The Flagler Memorial Bridge project development and envi- ronment (PD&E) study was a complex project to evaluate the need to replace a 70-year-old bascule bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was also one of the first projects to use the full vision of FDOT’s efficient transportation decision-making (ETDM) process. On interviewee said of the ETDM programming screening, “This project is accepted as a Type II Categorical Exclusion. However, depending on the outcome of the Section 106 Consultation, the document may have to be elevated to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).” Ultimately, creative mitigation measures and other actions allowed NEPA to be completed through the documented categorical exclusions process, thus avoiding an EIS, which would have increased time and cost considerably. This resulted in an estimated savings of $7.6 million in consultant fees and inflation costs that would have resulted from delay in construction of the bridge. Two expediting strategies proved particularly useful for this project to maintain its schedule and avoid elevating the NEPA classification to an EIS: • Early consideration of environmental factors and the establishment of planning-level environmental screening criteria produced a more informed and effective process of developing and evaluating potential alternatives. • FDOT-funded liaison positions provided the necessary staff at resource agencies to achieve the robust coordina- tion that helped this project to proactively identify and address potential environmental issues. Project Overview The Flagler Memorial Bridge was constructed in 1938 and is part of Florida SR-A1A. Bridge inspections conducted by FDOT showed that the bridge was structurally deficient for the following reasons: • The bridge substructure was graded 4 on a scale of 10; • The remaining bridge structure was graded 32.4 on a scale of 100; and • Previous inspections had noted exposed steel at several bridge locations. Additionally, the bridge did not meet current FDOT and U.S. Coast Guard standards, and it was judged to be functionally obsolete for the following reasons: • Lane widths are 10 feet. The current standard is 12 feet. • Handrails do not conform to current design standards for impact loading. • Vertical clearance over the Intracoastal Waterway is 17 feet. The current standard is 21 feet. • Horizontal clearance at the navigable channel is 80 feet, considerably less than the current standard of 125 feet. Flagler Memorial Bridge was included in the ETDM pro- gramming screen process before beginning the PD&E study. As the PD&E study progressed, it was determined that the Fla- gler Memorial Bridge was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The memorandum of understand- ing between FHWA and the U.S. Coast Guard concerning his- toric bridge replacement created the real possibility that FHWA would change the class of action to an EIS. The project could have been delayed several years had this occurred. FDOT explored what could be done to maintain the Type II categorical exclusions determination, which was vital to meet the project schedule. The FDOT team met with the consultant team, including their subconsultants, and estab- lished an aggressively detailed schedule to pinpoint the activ- ities and timeline needed. Much of this effort required seeking concurrence from SHPO regarding the effects to the resources, particularly that replacement of the bridge would not result in a depletion of the resource and that preservation in place was not necessary. It became apparent that the project team needed to meet with representatives of SHPO and FHWA to clarify certain aspects required from both agencies to obtain their concurrence. Over the next 4 months, the project team met regularly, on some occasions by teleconference, to discuss the status of activities, to resolve issues, and to provide documentation to SHPO that the bridge could be replaced. On January 15, 2008, a letter was sent to David Gibbs at FHWA from Fred Gaske of

89 SHPO concurring “that the replacement of the (Flagler Memorial) Bridge is not a substantial depletion of the resource type, primarily based on nonhistoric changes to the bridge and the existence of more intact examples of similar bridge types. Consequently, we agree that this bridge is not important for preservation.” Following the January 15th SHPO letter, the project team still faced complex requirements to replace a historic bridge, including use of a cultural resource committee of local his- toric preservation experts to define acceptable commitments prior to replacement. A binding memorandum of agreement (MOA) between FDOT, SHPO, and FHWA was signed on April 3, 2008, to ensure unique measures would be taken to memorialize the National Register of Historic Places–eligible bridge. Creative mitigation measures were agreed to in the MOA, such as the creation of an aesthetics committee with local representation for new bridge design elements, historic marker plaques, an educational DVD on the bridge to be used in schools, and a marketing plan for others to acquire and preserve the existing bridge. The successful coordination between SHPO and FHWA allowed for the completion of the PD&E study. On April 9, 2008, FHWA granted location and design concept acceptance, which is required before PD&E projects can move into the design phase. In numerous meet- ings, the project team worked with an aesthetics committee and stakeholders from West Palm Beach and the Town of Palm Beach to help design characteristics of the new bridge based on concepts of the old bridge. These retained design elements were required to ensure that the cultural resource commitments from the Section 106 MOA were maintained in the final design. The timeline for the project is shown in Table 4.2. Project Constraints This project encountered a variety of challenges, but late- arriving issues causing project change and inefficient Section 106 consultation with SHPO were the two constraints that directly challenged the project’s streamlining strategies. Given the desire to avoid a costly and lengthy EIS process, this project was especially vulnerable to the potential for late issues creating project delay. Even moderate potential envi- ronmental impacts, if identified late in the NEPA process, could create delay as the project would be forced to evaluate their potential significance and/or develop design modifica- tions to avoid the impacts. Therefore, an early and thorough evaluation of resources and potential impacts to them was crucial to avoiding delay later on. The project’s aggressive schedule hinged on the ability to maintain its status as a Type II categorical exclusion under NEPA, which in turn relied largely on concurrence from SHPO that the project would not potentially cause adverse effects to historic resources. As such, effective Section 106 consultation with SHPO was vital to the project. Expediting Strategies Planning-Level Environmental Screening Criteria FDOT’s ETDM process helps the agency to incorporate envi- ronmental factors into early planning, that is, during identi- fication of potential projects and the first stages of their development. In the case of the Flagler Memorial Bridge, this process provided valuable information and a foundation from which the project was able to progress on its rapid schedule. Florida’s ETDM process and its environmental screening have been recognized by several national agencies as an exem- plary process, and AASHTO and FHWA have recognized ETDM with their top environmental excellence awards. The ETDM process begins with two opportunities for early project review and screening by all participating agencies: the plan- ning screen and the programming screen. During these screening events, participating review agencies work together to review and provide information to FDOT regarding the potential environmental effects that a proposed transporta- tion project may have on surrounding resources. The agency comments received during the planning screen help FDOT and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to deter- mine the feasibility of including the proposed projects in their long-range transportation plans. The programming screen occurs when projects are being considered for funding in the FDOT work program. The planning screen occurs in conjunction with the devel- opment of cost-feasible plans by MPOs or FDOT. Project information is reviewed by agencies with planning, regulatory, or resource management jurisdiction over environmental resources that may be affected by the project. The project is also reviewed by the federally recognized Native American tribal governments that have agreed to participate in the ETDM pro- cess. These participants provide comments to project planners Table 4.2. Flagler Memorial Bridge Project Timeline January 2006 PD&E study begins. September 26, 2006 Cultural resource committee meetings begin. Fall 2007 Meetings with FHWA and SHPO to discuss cultural resource and class of action. October 25, 2007 Public hearing held with public input and support of preferred alternative. April 3, 2008 MOA signed by FDOT, FHWA, and SHPO. April 9, 2008 Location and design concept acceptance.

90 about the potential effects that a project might have on resources protected or managed by their agency. This initial screening of planned projects allows participants to review project purpose and need statements and to comment on the potential effects of projects on environmental and community resources very early in the planning process. Potential effects of proposed projects are evaluated and documented in the envi- ronmental screening tool (EST). In urban areas, MPOs provide input about the effects of a project on the community or neigh- borhoods near the project. At this early stage of planning, the information provided by agencies and the public helps to identify project configu- rations that would avoid or minimize adverse effects on Florida’s natural and human environments. In the case of known unavoidable effects, agencies provide commentary on suggested alternatives or mitigation measures. This infor- mation is used by project planners to alter project cost estimates. In some cases, the project priority might change based on cost feasibility due to adverse effects, and some projects might not advance due to adverse effects. Key rec- ommendations and conclusions regarding potential project effects are provided in the planning summary report, which helps planners to develop priorities in long-range transpor- tation plans and is available electronically to ETDM partici- pants and the public. The programming screen occurs before projects are funded in the FDOT 5-year work program. Input about the potential effects to environmental and community resources is the basis for agency scoping to facilitate compliance with federal and state environmental laws. If potential dispute issues are identified, FDOT may initiate a dispute-resolution process before the project is programmed into the FDOT 5-year work program. Potential disputes may also be identified through the public involvement process and require resolution before the project is advanced into the design phase of the work pro- gram. Lead agencies decide on a class of action determination for each priority project, which is summarized along with potential project effects, preliminary project concepts, rea- sonable project alternatives, and scoping recommendations in the programming summary report. In addition, agencies explore how lower classes of action may be possible with project modifications. DOT-Funded Resource Agency Liaisons The establishment of an environmental technical advisory team (ETAT) comprising DOT-funded liaison positions in several resource agencies facilitated the interagency coordi- nation that was crucial for meeting the Flagler Memorial Bridge project’s need for close and productive consultation with SHPO to determine potential Section 106 effects. ETATs are formed in each FDOT district. Each ETAT includes DOT-funded staff positions in a variety of agencies that FDOT typically coordinates and consults with during project development. Each ETAT consists of planning, regu- latory, and resource agencies, as well as participating federally recognized Native American tribal governments. Each agency and tribal government appoints an ETAT representative or representatives who have authority and responsibility to coordinate internally and to represent their agencies’ posi- tions with respect to the planning and development of trans- portation projects. The role of the ETAT representatives changes from advisory during the planning and program- ming phases to coordination during the PD&E phase and environmental permitting. Through regular interagency and tribal government inter- action, ETAT allows for mutual problem solving to occur throughout the life of a project and helps to ensure transpor- tation decisions fully consider potential effects on natural, cultural, and community resources. Lessons Learned EST is a useful tool that is the product of both the strategies described above. FDOT and the agencies it works with through the district ETATs developed the EST to assist in the early identification of environmental impacts during project planning. EST provides agencies with information and analy- sis that helps to facilitate these early screening efforts. EST is an Internet-accessible interactive database and mapping application that integrates resource and project data from multiple sources into one standard format and provides quick and standardized analyses of the effects of a proposed project on natural, cultural, and community resources. It provides utilities to input and update information about transportation projects and community characteristics, per- form standardized analyses, report comments by the agency representatives, and provide read-only information to the public. The value of EST is heavily reliant on maintaining a wide variety of data sets. Fortunately, data are provided by each agency and tribe participating in an ETAT, as they have com- mitted to providing data pertinent to their agency and area of interest to the EST. Gateway Boulevard Corridor project Summary Making critical design changes to improve the context sensi- tivity of the final segment of Gateway Boulevard—a new cor- ridor in southern downtown Nashville—helped this project to proceed rapidly through a supplemental EIS process.

91 Project Overview and Timeline The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (Metro), in cooperation with the Tennessee DOT (TDOT) and FHWA, proposed to construct the western ter- minus for Gateway Boulevard in the southern portion of downtown Nashville. This terminus would extend Gateway Boulevard 0.31 mile to the west to end at a roundabout interchange. The Gateway Boulevard corridor, a new east–west route through southern downtown Nashville, was evaluated in the 1990s, with a ROD issued in 1998. Several sections of this corridor have been subsequently constructed, leaving only the western terminus section to be completed. Since the issuance of the 1998 ROD, the surrounding neighborhood, known as SoBro, has become a focus of extensive public and private investment in new urban development and redevel- opment. Several residential and office towers have been con- structed along or in the path of the selected alternative. Local land use and transportation plans were adopted showing Gateway Boulevard ending at 8th Avenue, rather than extend- ing as far west as 13th Avenue as envisioned in the design in the 1998 ROD. In light of recent redevelopment in the project area and these local plans, Metro determined that a supple- mental NEPA evaluation was needed to identify the best design for the western terminus of Gateway Boulevard. An NOI was issued in November 2007, after which the project team began an extensive public outreach program to solicit interests and concerns about the design of the Gateway corridor’s western terminus. The DEIS, published in July 2008, evaluated two design options for the terminus, both of which truncated the corridor at 8th Avenue instead of 13th Avenue as originally envisioned. One design option ended Gateway Boulevard in a traditional four-leg signalized intersection, similar to the 1998 design. In response to stakeholder input, the project team included a second option with a roundabout intersection design at 8th Avenue. Following publication of the DEIS and receipt of public comments, Metro, TDOT, and FHWA selected the round- about design option as the preferred alternative. The FEIS was published in December 2009, just 5 months after the DEIS. The ROD was issued in February 2010. Project Constraints Issues Arising Late Cause Project Change When Metro, TDOT, and FHWA approached the final seg- ment of the Gateway corridor, they already had a design and an environmental analysis from the 1998 ROD. The project team was aware early on that this design might need to be truncated at 8th Avenue instead of continuing to 13th Ave- nue, but they assumed that the same basic design up to 8th Avenue—a traditional four-leg signalized interchange— would be the most viable approach for finishing the corridor. Stakeholder Controversy and Opposition The team learned during scoping that local stakeholders pre- ferred a significantly different design with a roundabout interchange at the western terminus. The roundabout posed several challenges. First, it had not been designed or modeled to the same level that the traditional interchange had, so it would require additional time and effort by the project team to determine if appropriate roadway design and traffic flow characteristics could be achieved. Second, this interchange configuration would be more expensive as a result of the more complex design and additional property acquisition needed to accommodate it. Support for the roundabout design posed a challenge to the project’s fast-paced schedule, thus exacerbating the previ- ously mentioned constraint. The project team had originally hoped to advance rapidly through a supplemental EIS by relying heavily on the designs and environmental evaluations of the 1999 ROD. However, pushing forward with the tradi- tional design would likely encounter strong resistance from local business groups and other stakeholders championing the roundabout design. Expediting Strategies Context-Sensitive Design and Solutions and Highly Responsive Public Engagement In response to strong public support for the roundabout design, the project team chose to refocus their efforts on designing and evaluating this interchange configuration to determine if it could provide adequate traffic performance and how impacts and cost would differ from the original design. Throughout the design and evaluation process, the team met with stakeholder groups to get a strong under- standing of what local business and residents wanted from this design and to explain modifications to the interchange that were needed to meet roadway design and performance standards. Ultimately, design refinements were able to provide acceptable performance and safety while affording the com- munity with a design that matched the local vision. The project chose the roundabout interchange as the preferred alternative to advance into the FEIS and ROD. Given the project characteristics—construction of a new roadway through a highly developed portion of the central business district—the project was able to advance quickly after adopting the roundabout design as the preferred alterna- tive. Just 7 months passed between the DEIS that considered

92 the traditional interchange design and the ROD adopting the roundabout design. Had the project attempted to advance the traditional design, it would likely have been delayed by stakeholder opposition. Lessons Learned Adapting a project’s design to match the changing prefer- ences of a community is rarely a simple or easy solution. Public sentiment can be divided by seemingly irreconcilable preferences or can demand something well outside the origi- nal scope or purpose and need for the project. In such cases, it can be unclear to project proponents whether these are indicators that a project needs to be seriously reconsidered or re-envisioned, or whether they should push the project for- ward along its original path. However, whether and how to respond to changing public sentiment is always an important decision that carries potentially significant ramifications for the project’s schedule and ultimate success. The Gateway Boulevard corridor project illustrates how adapting to stakeholder preferences that have changed sub- stantially since the project was first envisioned (or in this case, since the ROD was signed nearly 10 years earlier) can help to expedite selection of a preferred alternative and advancement through NEPA. Of course, this is not always easy, and this project benefited from a few important factors. First, the changes requested by stakeholders did not result in a radical departure in the function of the project. While a roundabout may be significantly different from a roadway design perspec- tive, in this case the corridor would still progress along a simi- lar path and end at an intersection of the same streets. Second, the project was not facing significantly divided or fractious demands, but rather a majority of stakeholders expressing a similar desire to redesign the terminus intersection. However, perhaps the most important factor for the Gate- way Boulevard project’s success was the sponsoring agencies’ willingness to consider significant changes to the project design and their openness to selecting this design when it became clear that it could function and had the support of the community. Rather than pushing forward with the design from the 1998 ROD that offered more traditional roadway design and traffic patterns and that would incur fewer impacts and cost less, the project team figured out how to accommo- date the substantial stakeholder concerns and achieve trans- portation operational functions and benefits. I-94 North–South project Summary The southeast Wisconsin freeway network was constructed in the 1950s and 1960s. From 1991 through 2003, the system was evaluated for reconstruction and increases in capacity. The I-94 corridor from Milwaukee to the Illinois state line is the second major reconstruction project in this network, and the first to add capacity to the system. The highway pro- vides important freight and through traffic routes, as well as local commuter service in the urbanized portions. The approximately 38-mile corridor project is being expanded from six to eight lanes, with some four-lane facilities expand- ing as well. A series of older interchanges that are prone to crashes caused by outdated design have also been redesigned. The I-94 North–South project (94NS) quickly moved from an NOI in December 2005 to a ROD 27 months later. This quick project delivery can be attributed to • Building off of prior planning efforts; • Commitments by leadership; • Project team communication and management; • Integrated multiagency and consultant work teams; • Advanced planning for DEIS and FEIS completion and review; and • Innovative public involvement efforts. Project Overview I-94 is the northernmost east–west Interstate highway in the United States, connecting the Great Lakes region with Montana. The highway is an important connection between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois, and serves as a commuter route in the Milwaukee region. The portion of the Interstate included in the 94NS runs from southern Milwaukee to the Illinois state line. Regional growth has led to increased traffic and decreasing levels of service. Design standards for the original system are also a challenge. 94NS is a reconstruction project that includes redesigning and reconstructing 21 interchanges and increasing capacity on the main-line I-94 from the Illinois state line to Milwau- kee. Constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, much of the freeway network requires reconstruction. Planning for this effort started in the 1990s. At that time, the network no longer met safety standards, which had changed since construction. Older interchange designs included left entrance and exit ramps, unsafe curves, and decreased levels of service in the urban areas. Vertical clearances along the project were also substandard, with some clearances 1 to 2 feet below current standards. Pavement conditions along the entire route had deteriorated to a point at which reconstruction was the only option left to enable the system to meet acceptable standards. Safety was also a concern, as crashes involving trucks made up a third of all crashes on the main line, well over the state- wide average of 6%. The project differs between the urban portion around the city of Milwaukee and the more rural areas of Kenosha, Racine, and Lake Counties to the south. The portion of the

93 project through Milwaukee includes numerous interchanges and crossing roadways. The majority of traffic volume in the urbanized areas results from morning and evening com- mutes. Forecasted traffic growth for the Milwaukee area ranges from 10% to 22% over 25 years, with the level of ser- vice over the area dropping to E and F. In the rural portions, traffic growth had been 18% to 19% over the 10 years before the NEPA process began. Growth was expected to continue similar to these historic trends, except in Racine County, where growth was forecasted to be 38% from 2004 to 2035. The rural portions of the project have steady levels of through traffic with peak volumes during weekends. In addition to the traffic and highway design concerns, the corridor included several substandard environmental features, including cul- verts that provided inadequate aquatic passage and stormwa- ter runoff that was not properly managed. 94NS represented the largest project to date for the Wis- consin DOT (WisDOT) when the project was started, and was the first capacity project for WisDOT since the 1960s. The planning and NEPA activities were able to take advan- tage of previous planning efforts to assist in quickly moving the project from planning through the NEPA process. In conjunction with a regional analysis of land use and devel- opment demand, planning studies had identified a need for the project in 1991. This early planning study identified 13 interchanges for reconstruction and resulted in an EA and a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) in 1996. The 1996 EA was reevaluated as a part of the EIS, and the analysis for all but one of the interchanges in the 1996 EA was still appropriate and usable for the project. This previous EA allowed the project team to focus their analysis on the main line in this portion of the study area. In 2003, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SWRPC) identified the 94NS study area in a regional freeway reconstruction plan. This plan was followed by a regional land use plan and regional transportation plan. In December 2005, the NOI was published for the project, and work on the EIS began in January 2006. The project immediately faced public controversy. Before the project team could develop a public engagement process, a series of grassroots organizations formed and started a campaign to oppose the project. This opposition was focused on fears of expanding right-of-way and loss of homes in neighborhoods. Opposition also developed within the urban portions of the project, which included about 2 to 3 miles of the total corridor. Opposing groups, which included elected officials and national advocacy organizations, objected to the project because of concerns over air quality impacts in com- munities with a high percentage of minority populations. In addition, a small group of businesses objected to one inter- change and the change in access that the new design would require. Despite these concerns, the project was able to maintain schedule by directly addressing concerns with an extensive outreach effort, additional air-quality modeling, and early commitments to not expand the right-of-way. The opponents hired an outside firm to scrutinize these results. Following this third-party review, no further protests were made, and the project continued. At the time this report was written the project was under construction and proceeding on schedule (see Table 4.3). Project Constraints 94NS proactively addressed a series of constraints that could have delayed the project. These constraints centered on proj- ect management and agency leadership challenges that can arise for large projects. Additionally, the project team reacted quickly to address stakeholder opposition as the environ- mental process began. Ineffective Internal Communication The project required clear communication from the State Secretary of Transportation, through headquarters, and down to the regional project office. The project implemented a series of systems to keep all levels of leadership up to date on project progress, challenges, and issues. Lengthy Review and Revision Cycles The project identified the drafting, review, and comment pro- cess for the EIS as a potential problem. Reviews were necessary Table 4.3. I-94 North–South Project Timeline 1991 SWRPC planning study for the freeway corri- dor identifies needs for future growth with a focus on the interchanges in Kenosha and Racine Counties. 1994–1996 Study of the interchanges and an EA of reconstruction of the interchanges in Kenosha and Racine Counties. 1996 FONSI if the interchanges were to be recon- structed, but with no capacity additions. 2000–2004 WisDOT reconstructs one interchange (the Market Interchange) in study area as separate project. 2003 SWRPC identifies a need for reconstruction of 100% of system and new capacity additions. December 2005 NOI published. November 2007 DEIS published. March 2008 FEIS published. May 2008 ROD issued.

94 within WisDOT and with FHWA. The team implemented an early strategy to draft and review the EIS. Unusually Large Scale of and/or Complex Project or Program 94NS was unusually large, as it was the first capacity project for WisDOT in over 40 years and the largest project for the agency. The project team identified a series of strategies to keep the project on schedule. Stakeholder Controversy and Opposition A series of zealous grassroots efforts began and made contact with residents in the affected areas, both urban and suburban, before the 94NS team could begin their outreach programs; as a result, misconceptions about the project had a chance to circulate well before project leaders were able to respond. The local opposition group distributed materials to oppose the project and set the tone for public meetings as the WisDOT process started. Expediting Strategies Team Co-location The consultant team co-located with WisDOT staff at the regional office. The team sat side by side, allowing for ongoing review and resolution of issues as they came up. The WisDOT environmental lead was physically next to the consultant team lead, and the WisDOT project management team was just down the hall in the same location. Strategic Oversight and Readiness Assessment At the beginning of 94NS, WisDOT and FHWA established a joint project management team. The State Secretary of Transportation placed a liaison in the project team to provide a direct connection between the project and the Secretary’s office. From 2000 through 2004, WisDOT recon- structed one interchange, the Market Interchange, as a sepa- rate project along the corridor. This project was a test case for a new project management approach that included the use of the liaison and the review process outlined in the strategies below. Real-Time Collaborative Interagency Reviews The team took a proactive approach to developing and reviewing the EIS. Agreements were made for concurrent WisDOT and FHWA reviews by report section. The project team committed to delivering sections of the environmental document on a specific schedule. This allowed WisDOT and FHWA reviewers to block out their schedules approximately 3 months in advance of receiving the sections. This was esti- mated to save 3 weeks of review time per section of EIS. The State Secretary’s office made the project a clear priority for the WisDOT headquarters environmental team, allowing for timely reviews at WisDOT as the document was moved from the regional project to headquarters. Comments and reviews were reconciled in day-long work sessions between FHWA and WisDOT, allowing the teams to collaboratively respond to comments and edit the FEIS. Planning and Environmental Linkages The 94NS team reevaluated the 1996 FONSI to determine its suitability for streamlining the review for the entire project. The evaluation examined whether the previous EA’s alterna- tives, impacts, and existing data were still accurate. The review also assessed if any changes had occurred in local resources since the 1990s analysis. Design refinements in the 2007 EIS were evaluated to see if additional analysis was needed. The final review determined that the earlier EA was able to cover all but one of the interchanges, allowing the team to focus on the main-line capacity improvements. Highly Responsive Public Engagement As the first public meetings began, it was clear the public had critical misconceptions about how the designs would affect their neighborhoods. Misconceptions were best addressed once designs were ready to be shared. Once lines were on the ground, the team was able to effectively alleviate concerns. But this required an effective communication strategy to share how the designs addressed these concerns. WisDOT hosted block parties around the urban project area, closing off sections of neighborhood roads and including exhibits, project staff, and details on the project. The parties were held midweek around 6:00 p.m. to ensure that most people would be home and available to attend. Additionally, project team members canvassed door-to-door in urban areas, leaving information with residents. In the end, the project committed to no net growth of right-of-way. Performance Standards As a result of the public outreach effort, the team committed to no net increase in right-of-way area. This allowed neigh- borhoods to have a measureable outcome for performance and addressed their concerns over losing homes to the proj- ect. Ultimately, only eight residential structures required relocation.

95 Change-Control Practices Biweekly WisDOT team meetings with the State Secretary’s staff provided clear communication of project costs and changes and opportunities to discuss why changes were occurring. This strategy was another component of project management that was replicated from previous management efforts within WisDOT. Lessons Learned WisDOT was committed to identifying lessons learned inter- nally from other management efforts and carrying these over to 94NS. Notably, the Market Interchange project served as a pilot project management effort that provided tools for 94NS and all subsequent large projects. The environmental team’s experience was also a contribut- ing factor. The consultant project manager had completed over 12 transportation EIS projects at the time 94NS began. He also had access to a senior review process throughout the company. In addition, the project was able to take advantage of the merged Section 404–NEPA process (4–6). Kangley–echo Lake transmission Line project Summary The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) identified the need to upgrade an existing transmission line outside the Seattle, Washington, area. BPA issued its NOI the same year that the City of Seattle, the primary landowner on the route, completed a multispecies habitat conservation plan (HCP) under the ESA. The city-owned portion of the project area is the Cedar River Watershed, a protected surface drinking water source for almost half of Seattle. The project immedi- ately encountered organized resistance and a landowner with a strong negotiation position. Using highly responsive public engagement and extensive up-front environmental commit- ments, BPA was able to secure agreements to build the line. Innovative and extensive mitigation commitments left the Cedar River Watershed in a better condition than it had been before BPA completed the line. Project Overview BPA is the regional power marketing agency for the Pacific Northwest. As a self-supported federal agency within the Department of Energy, BPA must balance the requirements of developing and maintaining its resources by funding costs through responsible power rates. BPA was created to deliver power from the federal hydroelectric system in the Columbia River basin. As the region has grown, BPA’s transmission net- work grew, and it now distributes power from private and other public power producers. The regional transmission sys- tem has aged since the most active period of infrastructure development decades ago. Reliability and redundancy stan- dards have also become more stringent. This has led BPA to upgrade and expand its network. The Kangley–Echo Lake transmission line project was identified as an important improvement to assure power reli- ability in the Pacific Northwest. The line was a replacement of an existing circuit that needed to be upgraded to meet new reliability standards and to increase capacity. When the proj- ect was identified in 1999, no major new transmission lines had been built in the region in the preceding 10 years. The 9-mile transmission line included 5 miles through the Cedar River Municipal Watershed, a 90,546-acre water source for approximately 40% of Seattle Public Utilities’ customers and one of only five untreated surface drinking water sources in the United States. The undisturbed and preserved watershed provides natural water filtration most times of the year. How- ever, any new disturbances or environmental degradation in the watershed can cause the source to no longer comply with federal drinking water standards. The other 4 miles of line passed through private lands, including the growing rural residential areas outside of Seattle to the east. The project was identified to maintain power reliability as peak loads in the region grew and to satisfy treaty obligations to provide power to Canada. The alternatives analysis required trade-offs between heavy impacts on residential areas, envi- ronmental sensitivities in an undeveloped watershed, and complex electrical engineering standards to assure reliability. The final project included extensive and innovative mitigation options, including extensive compensatory mitigation by acquiring conservation easements and title to land ripe for development. Initially all of the construction alternatives that BPA iden- tified passed through the Cedar River Watershed. In 1999, the City of Seattle completed a multispecies HCP to comply with the ESA. The HCP was implemented in part with the passage of an ordinance by the City of Seattle prohibiting commercial logging in the watershed. The HCP was finalized just before BPA initiating scoping by filing an NOI to prepare an EIS to build a line though the watershed. The timing could not have been worse, since the HCP called for no more commercial logging within the Cedar River Watershed for the next 50 years. BPA’s project would require the removal of approxi- mately 80 acres of trees in the watershed. This attracted well- organized opposition from environmental organizations and from neighboring communities likely to be affected by the route options. Additionally, the Washington State Depart- ment of Ecology made it clear that any impact to wetlands resources would require a 9:1 compensation ratio. Staging

96 areas for the construction cranes would have affected some of these wetlands, triggering a difficult mitigation obligation. BPA worked closely with these groups to provide extensive and innovative mitigation for the project, including • Developing new construction techniques using micropiles for towers; • A commitment to not fill a “single square foot” of any wet- land type; • Agreeing to protective construction practices such as the use of helicopter sky cranes, replacement of hydraulic fluid with nontoxic vegetable oil, hand-digging selected foot- ings, and no river crossings by construction equipment; • Acquiring title or easements to 1,100 acres of forest lands for preservation to compensate for 90 acres of cleared right-of-way; • Removal of preexisting roads inside the watershed as mitigation; • Purchasing a $100 million liability policy to cover the cost of a filtration plant in the event that BPA’s project should cause a water quality violation leading to a requirement to treat drinking water; • $6 million in funding for the City of Seattle to protect and restore the watershed further; and • A promise not to expand the right-of-way in the future. These mitigation measures and responses to local concerns ultimately resulted in an increase in the environmental qual- ity of the watershed. The improvements primarily came through increased land protections adjacent to the watershed through acquisitions and easements, road removal, and fund- ing for restoration. This project is included as an expedited example because of the high complexity of the environmental challenges the project encountered as it was starting (see the timeline in Table 4.4). Project Constraints Stakeholder Controversy and Opposition BPA entered the planning process without having been involved in the local HCP process, although the agency did have an existing 500-kilovolt line within the watershed that it constructed in the 1970s. The initial set of alternatives all included routes through the watershed, with other nonwater- shed routes dismissed early on because of cost and other fac- tors. BPA received comments during the public and agency review of the document that it needed to expand its range of alternatives to include routes that bypassed the Cedar River Watershed altogether. BPA responded to these concerns and others by preparing a supplemental DEIS and releasing the document for another round of review. BPA’s preferred alter- native remained as it had been, that is, paralleling the existing line through the Cedar River Watershed, taking advantage of the clearing that had already taken place for one half of the proposed right-of-way, and using the existing access roads. Difficulty Agreeing on Impacts and Mitigation Although regulated resource impacts were not as great a con- cern, the concern over impacts to the forested areas and to the drinking water supply set the stage for the project. The devel- opment of the HCP had identified some of the key issues and goals for the city as a stakeholder, but assuring that the drinking Table 4.4. Kangley–Echo Lake Transmission Line Project Timeline 1962 City of Seattle completes acquisition of all private lands in the Cedar River Watershed. 1989 Last transmission line project completed before Kangley–Echo Lake. 1989 Calls for HCP for the watershed begin. 1996 U.S. Forest Service cedes watershed lands to City of Seattle, placing entire watershed in city ownership. HCP process begins, led by City of Seattle. 1999 HCP for the watershed is approved. City passes ordinance prohibiting commercial logging in the watershed. This ends a contentious process with many stakeholders. 1999 BPA transmission planning identifies Kangley–Echo Lake as a priority, and BPA identifies specific routes across the Cedar River Watershed in preparation of initiating scoping. 2000 BPA issues an NOI in the Federal Register to initiate the environmental review. November 2002 DEIS issued. January 2003 Supplemental DEIS released. June 2003 FEIS issued. July 2003 ROD issued. Construction starts the very next day. December 2003 Transmission line completed on schedule, as planned.

97 water supply would be safe required both innovative construc- tion techniques and risk management tools. Expediting Strategies Highly Responsive Public Engagement After the release of the DEIS, BPA received extensive com- ments and criticisms of the project and the review processes. It was noted that “commenters spared no one’s feelings” in their responses (7). BPA immediately responded through additional analyses and negotiations and identified all the details of mitigation in the EIS. Additional analyses were per- formed to evaluate alternatives that had not been included in the DEIS. While this is not normally an expediting measure, it was necessary to address a broad set of concerns about impacts inside the watershed. The review of these new alter- natives adequately addressed concerns by showing the increase in impacts to both landowners and the environment from routes outside the watershed. BPA worked closely with the City of Seattle to negotiate an agreement spelling out how the watershed would be left in a better state after construction of the project. In addition to the city, a number of conserva- tion and environmental stakeholders identified concerns that were addressed in extensive and innovative mitigation mea- sures spelled out in the FEIS. Up-Front Environmental Commitments Defining how construction activities may have affected the surface drinking water source in the watershed was a chal- lenge. Turbidity was the primary concern, because elevated turbidity could have triggered an EPA requirement for the City of Seattle to construct a treatment facility. This placed pressure on BPA to protect this resource. BPA identified spe- cific mitigation measures and compensatory resources before finalizing the EIS. After the completion of the environmental review, these measures and resources were specifically described with a high level of detail in the FEIS and carried though to the ROD. As a result, these commitments assured stakeholders and participants that BPA would carry out the mitigation actions. In addition, BPA negotiated an agreement with the City of Seattle that detailed the actions BPA would take and the funding committed to the city. This agreement required BPA to purchase a $100 million insurance policy to be paid to the City of Seattle if construction activities resulted in a need for a treatment plant. Lessons Learned The key lesson reported from the environmental project manager was to listen as closely as possible to stakeholders and the public. Early on, adding additional alternatives may have further decreased the environmental review cycle. How- ever, the intense and ongoing collaborative responsiveness to stakeholder and public concerns was critical to project suc- cess. Earlier engagement in the environmental processes in the study areas may have also decreased the NEPA time requirement (7, 8). Lower Manhattan transportation Improvements project Summary The Lower Manhattan subway was severely damaged in the September 11, 2001, attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, paralyzing transportation in the area. Several major projects were initiated as part of a program of improve- ments to restore mobility to Lower Manhattan. Several approaches were particularly helpful in expediting this project, including • Strategic oversight and readiness assessments to ensure efficient program management and allocation of sufficient resources for each project; • Aligning expectations of interagency participants up front with regard to what could and could not occur, and solicit- ing ideas and concerns early; • Real-time collaborative interagency review and revision of documentation to avoid the delay that can occur from sequential rounds of review and reconciliation of conflict- ing comments; • Development of a regional environmental analysis frame- work and template to provide common methodology and data sources for all projects (this eased review by regula- tory agencies and allowed for a cohesive assessment of cumulative effects); and • Incorporation of environmental and performance commit- ments, irrespective of project impacts, to address stakeholder concerns and avoid delay due to protracted negotiations. Two EISs and one EA were completed over a 24- to 27-month period. The average for transit projects is 3.5 years, and the average for highway projects is about 4 years; doing them together can take an average of 7 years. In the New York region, 20 years had recently been spent on the westside EIS. The expediting approaches employed in the Lower Manhat- tan transportation improvements resulted in EIS and EA development times that were well below national and regional averages (see Table 4.5). Program Overview The Lower Manhattan transportation improvements project included a variety of roadway and transit system

98 improvements. FTA approved $4.25 billion to fund several major projects. The following projects are far too complex to describe in this case study and can be looked into sepa- rately for the primary transportation components of this program: • Battery Park Enhancements; • Brooklyn Bridge Rehabilitation; • Fulton Street Transit Center; • South Ferry Subway Terminal; and • World Trade Center Transportation Hub. EPA told FTA and FHWA that the projects would not be able to advance without a cumulative impacts assessment. Ultimately, EPA played a pivotal role in working out a com- mon framework for analysis. This was a national streamlining project with Cabinet-level coordination. The process was designed to enable groups to come to agreement earlier rather than later. Project Constraints The scope, complexity, and urgency of the Lower Manhattan transportation improvements are unusual, as are the magni- tude of the constraints facing the lead agencies and the tools at their disposal. However, some constraints (briefly outlined below) and the strategies employed to address them have broad applicability to less unusual circumstances. Unusually Large Scale of and/or Complex Project or Program The program entailed a variety of agencies with differing involvement and interests in each project. Providing cohesive program management across all the projects and parties involved posed a significant challenge. Lengthy Review and Revision Cycles With so many agencies involved, reviewing documents and decisions could introduce substantial delay if these reviews were not well coordinated. Interagency review and revision cycles often delay projects, and this program was especially vulnerable because of the many agencies involved and the high demands the program placed on them. Issues Arising Late Cause Project Change With so many agencies involved, and the issues to be addressed so complex, the program was especially vulnerable from unanticipated issues cropping up or participants raising new concerns late in the process. Difficulty Agreeing on Impacts and Mitigation The many different parties involved meant that agreement on how to evaluate impacts and design appropriate mitigation could delay decision making and progress. A cohesive approach Table 4.5. Lower Manhattan Transportation Improvements Project Timeline September 11, 2001 Terrorist attacks on World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. January 10, 2002 Congress passes Public Law 107-117 providing funds for security, capital investments, and ferry projects. June 20, 2002 Members of the Federal Task Force to Rebuild New York City sign a memorandum of understanding outlining streamlined environmental coordination and review procedures. August 2, 2002 Congress passes Public Law 107-206, providing $4.25 billion for the rebuilding of transportation infrastructure in Lower Manhattan. Six months later Governor Pataki signs a letter requesting funds for three projects: World Trade Center Permanent PATH Terminal, South Ferry Terminal Station, and Fulton Street Transit Center. In December 2003, funds are requested for Promenade South segment of Route 9A/West Street project. March 28, 2003 FTA introduces risk management approach to project management. April–December 2003 Grants are awarded for projects, preliminary engineering, and in some cases, design and construction. September 3, 2003 Environmental analysis framework is signed by Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority, and New York State DOT. May 21, 2004 Signed categorical exclusion for parts of Fulton Street Transit Center. August 10, 2004 Signed programmatic agreement for the South Ferry Terminal outlining approach to preserving historic resources. August 30, 2004 Signed FONSI for South Ferry Terminal Station project. November 22, 2004 Signed environmental ROD for Fulton Street Transit Center project. April 19, 2005 Signed MOA (Section 106) for World Trade Center Permanent PATH Terminal. May 13, 2005 Published FEIS for World Trade Center Permanent PATH Terminal.

99 for assessing impacts and developing mitigation would be needed to streamline this activity across all the projects. Cumulative effects would be especially challenging if assessed separately for each project by different teams. Stakeholder Controversy and Opposition The projects in this program entail major changes to trans- portation infrastructure within an area that is very densely developed and actively used by the community. Many stake- holders held serious concerns about the effect of these projects on the natural and built environments. Expediting Strategies The Lower Manhattan recovery transportation improvements included many expediting strategies to deliver the improve- ments quickly. The following sections outline strategies that addressed the constraints described above. Strategic Oversight and Readiness Assessment With regard to the federal transportation improvements in the region, federal oversight agencies, particularly FTA, worked out project development agreements with all the project spon- sors and did readiness assessments. FTA examined the capac- ity of the sponsoring agencies to marshal projects of this size by reviewing their accounting systems, environmental staff resources, and engineering and design capabilities. After this review, FTA indicated to the project sponsors the areas in which they needed to strengthen their staffing and resources. Elements of the strategic oversight included • An early partnering agreement between FTA and each project sponsor that established environmental actions; project scope, schedule, and budget; and project oversight protocols. • A team of FTA staff and contractors working in the areas of project management oversight, financial management oversight, procurement systems reviews, and environmen- tal processes. • An FTA-developed risk oversight approach to customize the level and kind of oversight for each project. • A risk assessment profile approach developed by contrac- tors to measure the adequacy of time and contingency for building each project. • Construction agreements by FTA and project sponsors covering project scope, schedule, and budget. These agree- ments provide a streamlined approach to managing each project. Facilitation to Align Expectations Up Front FTA invested in a facilitator at the outset to coordinate among all the parties and to align expectations. This person facili- tated discussions at the outset of the program, solicited agen- cies’ desired outcomes and concerns, and provided a forum for FTA and other leads to explain the boundaries and con- straints imposed on the program. These actions helped to avoid future disappointment and disagreement from agen- cies seeking specific outcomes and reduced the possibility of unanticipated issues arising late during project development. Real-Time Collaborative Interagency Reviews At the outset of the program, FTA developed memoranda of understanding with other federal agencies that defined responsibilities for drafting and reviewing specific docu- ments and sections. A federal interagency review team was established to expedite agencies’ reviews and make the revi- sion process quicker and more effective. In some cases, the revision process was done in real time, with all reviewing parties in a room together and the docu- mentation projected on the wall. This facilitated reconciling conflicting comments, produced a revised draft that had the agreement of all necessary parties, and prevented subsequent rounds of review and revision. These meetings were resource- intensive, but ultimately they provided significant cost sav- ings by making the project go faster. One interviewee explained, “It seemed extravagant but all found it very worth it in the end, to the extent it was considered as a way to go in the future.” Regional Environmental Analysis Framework A regional environmental analysis framework was developed to facilitate a common approach for evaluation of impacts and designing mitigation across all projects, so that the anal- ysis and document contents were standardized and cumula- tive effects were evaluated programmatically. The framework expedited review times by making the documents consistent and easier to understand and by facilitating evaluation of resource issues across projects. The foundation of this approach was based on a commitment to the application of a common set of methodologies, data sources, and assump- tions for the evaluation of effects across projects. The cumulative effects analysis focused only on those envi- ronmental areas identified as subject to potentially significant adverse cumulative effects. In a coordinated effort, the federal partners and project sponsors identified five key environ- mental assessment areas: air quality, access and circulation, noise and vibration, cultural and historic resources, and eco- nomic factors. Focusing the analysis of cumulative effects on

100 those areas most likely to affect decision making improved understanding of the trade-offs and choices for major deci- sions. Finally, as each project matured through the NEPA process, the findings of the project were incorporated into the cumulative effects analyses for the projects that follow it. Thus, the project on which findings have been issued can constitute an existing condition for the cumulative effects analysis of the next project. Up-Front Environmental Commitments A system of environmental performance commitments was incorporated into projects irrespective of the extent of impact. This enabled parties to get what they wanted and meant that they did not have to go through a more lengthy process of developing data and arguments supporting their position. Participating parties could focus on what they could accomplish together. On the Lower Manhattan Bridge proj- ect, an interviewee stated, this “really unlocked coordination in a way that isn’t typical of the NEPA process.” The various agencies collaborated to ensure that resources would not be damaged without derailing progress by debating impacts and appropriate mitigation. Specific commitments pertained to noise, air quality, the use of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuels, traf- fic mitigation plans, and documentation of historic resources (buildings and archeological resources). Lessons Learned The Lower Manhattan transportation improvements project provided many lessons learned in project management and coordination. Great efficiencies can result from early coordi- nation, a more structured process, and associated agreements and commitments. One interviewee on the project noted sev- eral lessons learned detailed here. “Over-design is often a pre- ferred solution/response to differences. A lot of time there is the belief that if we just do that “right” or “better,” whatever issues there are will be resolved. But most problems are more subtle and personal than that, though the problems come dis- guised as technical issues.” New data and the advent of vari- ous technologies often bring hope of expediting a project. However, with a proliferation of information “people some- times get stuck in resolving technical issues that may or may not be germane to decision making,” says the interviewee. “All these people are trying to advance their resource and point of view and are focused on finding data to provide it.” Establishing and getting early agreement from the resource agencies in an environmental analysis framework was enor- mously valuable and a huge time savings. It streamlined the consideration of many comments and probably eliminated the need for many comments that might otherwise have occurred, along with the attendant responses. The interviewee commented that from a public service perspective, if she was a DOT she would require each MPO to set up an environmen- tal analysis framework. “Why pay consultants to re-invent the wheel? Our state of knowledge and practice evolves, but so much could build on each other. And then people can be allowed to deviate, but for a reason, not just because consult- ing companies (want to) do things differently.” Great efficiencies can result from early coordination, a more structured process, and associated agreements and commit- ments. Moving beyond having to prove points (e.g., amount of impacts) opened up the discussions and enabled them to take a positive direction (9, 10). Maryland Intercounty Connector project Summary The Maryland Intercounty Connector (ICC) was proposed as a six-lane tollway, approximately 18 miles long, to provide an east–west link between I-270 and I-370, approximately 10 miles north of the existing beltway (I-495) around Wash- ington, D.C. By linking these corridors, the ICC will reduce the cross-county traffic that currently overburdens the hilly, two-lane east–west roads. The ICC is intended to • Increase community mobility and safety; • Facilitate the movement of goods and people to and from economic centers; • Provide a cost-effective transportation infrastructure to serve existing and future development patterns reflecting local land use planning objectives; • Help to restore the natural, human, and cultural environ- ments from past development impacts in the project area; and • Stimulate new transit growth through the creation of addi- tional express bus routes along the corridor. This case study describes how the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA) expedited the ICC project by using substantial environmental commitments and a consolidated project-level decision council to streamline decision making. Project Overview The ICC has been included in master plans for Montgomery County and Prince George’s County for over 50 years. The National Capitol Planning Commission first introduced the concept of an east–west highway in the 1950s as part of a larger outer beltway around Washington, D.C. The outer belt- way idea was later dropped, but the segment between I-270

101 and I-95/US-1, which became known as the ICC, was retained in plans to address a need for improved east–west mobility between those two north–south corridors. In 1972, the Montgomery County Planning Board recommended, and the Montgomery County Council approved, the alignment of a new highway east of I-270 and north of Rockville to the eastern border of Montgomery County. MSHA started the first NEPA analysis of an ICC in 1979, issuing a DEIS in 1983. In the 1980s, several federal review- ing agencies expressed concern about the impacts of an ICC project on the natural environment. MSHA later became concerned that much of the socioeconomic data and traffic forecasts on which the need and design of the ICC were based had become outdated since the 1983 DEIS. MSHA initiated a new ICC planning study in 1991 and published a new DEIS on March 3, 1997, but no final deci- sions were made on the study. MSHA and the other lead agencies restarted ICC planning efforts in 2004 when the project was identified as a high pri- ority by the state governor. The project’s purpose and need was based on a combination of existing and future needs. Population in the area had grown by 28% over the past two decades and was expected to continue to grow, leading to a projected 29% growth in traffic in the study area by 2030. MSHA also identified a need for a connection between the two north–south corridors of I-95/US-1 and I-270, the most intensive employment, residential, and transportation corri- dors in Maryland. The ICC project’s timeline is illustrated in Table 4.6. Project Constraints Stakeholder Controversy and Opposition The ICC faced significant challenges by proposing a new cor- ridor with substantial socioeconomic and environmental implications in an area rich in natural resources. As originally planned, the ICC would have caused the bifurcation of seven major parks, eradication of 746 acres of forests, filling of 48 acres of wetlands, piping of 38,100 feet of stream channel, and major impairment of the last trout stream in the Wash- ington, D.C., metropolitan area. Thus, while this project faced many significant challenges to expediting project delivery, perhaps the most significant was addressing the concerns from stakeholders and resource agencies about impacts to the natural environment and communities surrounding the project corridor. The ICC project had been stalled during two earlier attempts, in the 1980s and 1990s, due in part to sig- nificant concerns from federal and local agencies over impacts. Developing a project that would be acceptable to local constituents, stakeholder organizations, and resource agencies would require avoiding and reducing impacts through- out the corridor and developing substantial mitigation and enhancement. Slow Decision Making and Inability to Maintain Agreement Slow decision making and the inability to maintain agree- ments constituted two other important challenges confronted by the ICC project team. Projects of the scope and complexity of the ICC encounter many difficult decisions that can be slow and arduous to make, and sometimes must be reopened on especially controversial issues. At the outset of the project, MSHA recognized that timely, effective decision making would be both crucial to expediting delivery and a significant challenge. Expediting Strategies Up-Front Environmental Commitments Environmental enhancements were a major part of the proj- ect early on. The ICC explicitly included environmental stew- ardship as part of the project’s stated purpose and need, which helped MSHA incorporate environmental stewardship in nearly every aspect of the project in a proactive way that did not require extensive demonstration of impact. The revised ICC design minimized or avoided most of the initially anticipated environmental impacts. Additionally, the project made significant improvements to the natural environment and adjacent communities above and beyond mitigation requirements. The project included initiatives that went far beyond regulatory compliance, such as correct- ing environmental problems unrelated to the highway that otherwise would have remained unaddressed. These included 63 environmental stewardship projects addressing environ- mental stresses caused by past development in the area, com- bined into approximately 50 design–bid–build contracts Table 4.6. Maryland Intercounty Connector Project Timeline 2004 ICC NEPA study begins. November 2004 DEIS published. January 2006 FEIS published. May 2006 ROD published. June 2006 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a Section 404 permit. Mid-2007 Construction begins. Late 2011 Main-line road is scheduled to be completed.

102 with an estimated value of over $97 million. These steward- ship and mitigation projects include the following: • Nearly 74,000 linear feet of stream restoration in local watersheds. To the 21,000 linear feet required for mitiga- tion, MSHA added restoration projects along 53,000 linear feet of streams in 26 sites to help achieve state, federal, and local wetland and watershed restoration priorities. • 1,500 linear feet of fish-passage work, which will remove or bridge blockages, enabling fish to reach prime upstream spawning areas. • More than 83 acres of new wetlands at seven major sites. • Approximately 4,300 acres of water quality and storm- water management improvements, including state-of-the- art stormwater controls and 16 stormwater management sites, in each of the major watersheds. • 21 projects, totaling 620 acres, aimed at improving water quality, protecting brown trout, and addressing other environmental conditions (350 acres were required for mitigation). • 44 bridges and culverts (in addition to the bridges at major stream crossings) to provide safe passage for deer and small mammals. • More than 700 acres of reforested land to create new forest habitat. • Over 775 acres of new parkland to mitigate the approxi- mately 88 acres that will be used for the ICC. • Wildlife passage at 26 roadway crossings. Overall, the project includes $370 million in environmen- tal mitigation and enhancement—more than 15% of the total project cost. More than $100 million was earmarked for mit- igation and stewardship, but an additional $270 million is for voluntary enhancements. Consolidated Decision Council The significant implications, costs, and potential impacts from construction and operation of the ICC had stalled two earlier attempts to develop this project during the 1980s and 1990s. Because of these challenges, the ICC was designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a high-priority project as described in Executive Order 13274. This prompted state and federal agencies involved in developing, reviewing, and/ or permitting the project to commit their top executives to form a project-level oversight group to assist decision making involving policy-level issues. This group, referred to as the Principals +1, comprised the top executive and one technical staff member of each agency. The Principals +1 met quarterly and on an as-needed basis in the event that the project required their direction immediately to maintain progress and avoid delay. This oversight group was instrumental in helping the proj- ect to maintain progress and reach challenging milestones on time by providing guidance to project-level staff and the authority to negotiate and broker compromises needed to advance a decision. The executives were especially helpful when the project faced issues that required action or deci- sions outside of their agency’s standard protocols or policies. For example, resource agencies desired bridges that would clear span stream crossings, but in some cases this required nontraditional bridge designs that project engineers were not initially comfortable committing to because of the higher cost and less common construction techniques required. The MSHA administrator gave project staff the authority to com- mit to the bridge designs needed to clear span the crossings and meet the interests of the resource agencies. Regular meetings with the Principals +1 group also helped to maintain momentum and avoid slower progress on more rou- tine issues. Project-level staff from these agencies knew they had to report their progress to their agency’s executive, which pro- vided motivation for staff to make progress and not allow deci- sions to languish. By working and communicating directly with technical staff, the agency executives helped to refocus discus- sions toward a solution, rather than a protracted debate, and provided guidance and direction when necessary. This frequent involvement from staff at the highest level signaled the commit- ment of their agency to the ICC that percolated throughout the agencies’ culture and the staff working on the project. Lessons Learned The ICC project illustrates the breakthroughs that are possible with an exceptional environmental offer by the state transpor- tation agency. MSHA offered many environmental enhance- ments up front and/or at the suggestion of agency partners that turned the ICC into an environmental benefit rather than a negative environmental impact. Agencies that might have been project opponents became project proponents as a result of the environmental benefits that would be contributed by the project and the rigorous protections MSHA was willing to put in place for wetland protection and restoration, sediment control, and monitoring and enforcement. An important lesson learned from the environmental commitments included in the ICC is the need to demonstrate to resource agencies and interested stakeholders that the environmental benefits of these commitments will be fully realized. ICC built trust with these parties by committing to on-site, highly qualified environmental inspectors to ensure that construction activities abided by the project’s permits and any other agreements with applicable stipulations about construction techniques and performance measures. These inspectors provided a higher measure of assurance to re- source agencies that the project’s effect on the surrounding

103 environment would be at or below agreed-on thresholds. An important provision of this commitment was that the inde- pendent environmental monitor reported not to the ICC proj- ect team or MSHA at large, but to several environmental regulatory agencies. If permit violations or other problems were observed, the independent environmental monitor would report them directly to these resource agencies (11–15). Milton–Madison Bridge project Summary The Milton–Madison Bridge Project seeks to improve the crossing over the Ohio River between the towns of Madison, Indiana, and Milton, Kentucky. The Indiana DOT (INDOT) and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), in partnership with FHWA, completed an EA, Section 4(f) evaluation, and Section 106 MOA in an accelerated time frame in order to meet the deadlines required to be eligible to receive funding from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) federal stimulus program. The project team used two major approaches that were particularly helpful in meeting this time frame: • A project-level management group that effectively made decisions on time to address critical path issues and adopted a dispute-resolution process; and • A media relations manager who helped the project to develop a clear strategy for communicating with the media and anticipating potential controversy. Project Overview The Milton–Madison Bridge across the Ohio River between Madison, Indiana, and Milton, Kentucky, follows US-421 and was built in 1929. Eighty years later, the bridge has deterio- rated structurally, and the narrow width (20-foot roadway cross section) makes its design obsolete for modern traffic. A 1995 study ended early after an inspection found deficiencies that required immediate attention. Plans for a new bridge were put on hold while a $10 million rehabilitation was per- formed to extend the life of the existing structure 10–15 years. In 2008, INDOT and KYTC began a project to study alter- natives for replacing the existing crossing with a bridge that would avoid the significant rehabilitation costs required to retain the current structure while ensuring that it would safely accommodate motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. An EA evaluated several alternatives, including a major rehabili- tation, several new bridge locations, and replacing the super- structure on the existing bridge piers. The superstructure replacement was identified as the pre- ferred alternative. This involves removing the existing steel superstructure and replacing it with a new wider truss super- structure. The road deck will be rebuilt twice as wide as the current bridge to accommodate two full-width lanes and emergency shoulders that can be used by bicyclists. A pedes- trian walkway will be cantilevered from the bridge deck. The existing piers will be reused by retrofitting and widening them to modern standards. Minimal changes will be made to the roadway approaches to the bridge. Construction of this project will require closure of the bridge for 12 months, dur- ing which a free ferry service will transport travelers across the river (see Table 4.7 for the project timeline). Project Constraints The Milton–Madison Bridge Project faced a variety of obsta- cles, many of which are common to projects to replace and improve transportation infrastructure. Two such obstacles that were successfully addressed through innovative approaches were delayed or revisited decisions and negative or misinformed media coverage. Slow Decision Making and Inability to Maintain Agreement One obstacle faced by many projects is the difficulty project management encounters in making decisions on a wide range of complex, often controversial issues relatively quickly and in an effective manner that minimizes the need to revisit the topic or change the decision. The difficulty of quick, effective Table 4.7. Milton–Madison Bridge Project Timeline 1929 Construction of the existing bridge. 1995 Initial planning study considers improvements to the river crossing. 1997 Rehabilitation of the bridge extends its life for 10 to 15 years. Summer 2008 FHWA, INDOT, and KYTC begin envi- ronmental evaluation for existing project. Spring and summer 2009 Evaluation of alternatives. Fall 2009 Selection of preferred alternative. December 2009 EA issued for public comment. February 2010 Announcement of TIGER grant for Milton–Madison Bridge project. March 2010 FHWA issues FONSI and Section 4(f) evaluation. September 2010 Proposed letting date for design– build contract. September 2012 Anticipated completion of construc- tion of superstructure replacement.

104 decision making on the Milton–Madison Bridge project was exacerbated in two ways. First, the project spanned two states, which effectively doubled the agencies sponsoring the proj- ect: two DOTs and two state FHWA offices. Second, the proj- ect’s timeline was compressed in order to meet the deadlines imposed by the federal stimulus (TIGER) funding sought by the project. A complex project management structure and shortened timelines introduced additional impediments to making timely and effective decisions. Negative or Critical Coverage from the Media Many projects encounter challenges when media coverage highlights or stokes controversy and opposition. A variety of factors can create or contribute to these difficulties. Project leaders can fail to anticipate hot-button issues with local media outlets or stakeholder groups, or they may identify them 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. Expediting Strategies Three expediting measures were used successfully in the Milton–Madison Bridge project to avoid or minimize the detrimental effects of the constraints described above. Consolidated Decision Council The project formed a consolidated decision council called the Milton–Madison management team (M3T) to facilitate the rapid and effective decision making needed for the project team to stay on track with their aggressive schedule. A project management team is commonly formed on medium and large projects, but these teams are not always successful at reaching consensus and making decisions quickly enough to avoid delay, especially when schedules are compressed. Sev- eral factors contributed to the success of M3T. FHWA was a key member of the group. Many projects coor- dinate with their federal leads through processes separate from the typical DOT or MPO management meetings. M3T included FHWA early in the project’s development, which allowed FHWA to understand and participate in the decision making throughout early design and environmental evalua- tions. Their early involvement helped streamline later deci- sions, such as the review and approval of the EA. The core group was small. Each of the project’s lead agencies—INDOT, KYTC, and FHWA—committed a single senior-level staff person as the primary M3T member. This helped keep M3T discussions focused by providing a single voice from each agency during decision making. The Indiana FHWA office deferred primary involvement to the Kentucky FHWA office. Staff from both offices worked together outside of M3T to minimize the number of staff members who actively participated in this group while ensuring the FHWA staff member represented the opinion of both state offices. M3T staff could easily and directly contact the executives of their respective agencies. Such communication was critical for decisions that needed input or confirmation from agencies’ top leadership, and it effectively expanded the capabilities of M3T to make decisions without delay. Meetings were frequent, with decision topics identified in advance. M3T met every 2 weeks and relied on project e-mails 1 week before each meeting to identify necessary decisions and information relevant to that topic. These e-mails were devel- oped by and sent to the larger project team. This allowed a week for the project team to work with M3T members in advance of the meetings so they could make better-informed decisions. When possible, decisions were made at the first M3T meeting after their identified need, but decisions sometimes required the group to wait until the next meeting (2 weeks later). With this approach, it rarely took more than 3 weeks for M3T to make a decision when it was needed to meet the project schedule. Dispute-Resolution Process A dispute-resolution process was important at several key points. Developing consensus among multiple agencies is often challenging, so it is crucial for a multiagency project team to develop a dispute-resolution process to avoid an impasse if debate becomes protracted. M3T members understood early on that they would need to elevate some decisions to executive leadership quickly if they couldn’t get consensus in the time frame needed to maintain the project schedule. This proved important when the two DOTs had to decide whether to restrict the project boundary to just the river crossing in order to complete NEPA Section 4(f) and Section 106 studies in time to receive TIGER funding. In this case, the Indiana Trans- portation Commissioner, in consultation with the governor, needed to provide approval to remove some approaches on the Indiana side of the river from the project’s scope. Media Relations Manager The project team hired a dedicated media relations manager with significant career experience in the news industry as a reporter, producer, and news director. The media relations manager had three primary functions that helped the project to avoid some of the delays that can occur on projects that run afoul of local media coverage and stakeholder reactions.

105 The media relations manager developed and implemented a simple and consistent strategy for working with local media out- lets. A fundamental element of this strategy was early identi- fication and clear communication of the key expectations of the agencies leading the project, such as the need for a single bridge that could be largely paid for with state funding. The media relations manager helped to craft these expectations in a form that was easily communicated to reporters and stake- holders, so they could later understand the rationale behind any controversial decisions, such as the narrowing of alterna- tives and ultimately the selection of a preferred alternative. The media relations manager anticipated pitfalls when communicating with the media. The media relations man- ager’s experience in the news industry helped her to identify hot-button issues with local media outlets and foresee how information could be misunderstood. For example, she organized a meeting with the editor of a local newspaper whom she heard was planning to publicize opposition to the project’s preferred alternative. The project team was able to preemptively meet with this editor to explain the reasons behind the selection of the preferred alternative. After the meeting, the editor said she had gained a greater under- standing of the decision. She changed her opinion of the preferred alternative and wrote an editorial reflecting that. Ultimately, there were no major surprises during the public involvement process or in the reporting on the project. The media relations manager adapted information to be easily understood by the media and public. The media relations man- ager helped to craft news releases, public meeting materials, and other project information materials produced for exter- nal distribution in a vocabulary and structure that could be readily understood and used by the media. This often entailed translating engineering or scientific jargon into terms that stakeholders could understand and refocusing the presenta- tions on topics of interest to stakeholders. For example, the lead agencies initially identified a “defensible NEPA docu- ment” as a key expectation. This was modified to “developing a solution that is environmentally acceptable” in order to be better understood and remembered by local media and the public, as this expectation later shaped decisions. Lessons Learned The Milton–Madison Bridge project successfully addressed two issues that can commonly delay transportation projects: (a) how to make decisions quickly and effectively to maintain progress on the critical path and (b) how to proactively engage the media and project stakeholders in a manner that avoids or diffuses controversy. Neither approach was revolutionary, but rather a refinement and successful implementation of tech- niques that are common in transportation projects. Many projects form management teams with the intent that they will make decisions when needed, and most projects have staff at least partially dedicated to public engagement. The success of the Milton–Madison Bridge project lay in the details of how the team addressed these common issues. Complex or multijurisdictional projects can result in large management groups, and decision making can suffer because of this size or an unclear decision-making approach. M3T addressed these challenges by forming and maintaining a small core group of decision makers, despite the two-state project area and the involvement of the federal lead agency in this group. M3T members met regularly together and with their agencies’ executives to ensure that decisions on the crit- ical path could be made on time. Many projects would ben- efit from considering smaller decision-making groups, closer involvement of the federal lead agency (or agencies) in their decisions, and ensuring a strong connection with the spon- soring agencies’ executive leadership. Despite the best intentions, coordination with the media and stakeholder groups can degrade as unexpected issues become contentious or simply because of miscommunication. The Milton–Madison Bridge project illustrates the benefits of retaining staff with journalism experience to help anticipate potential pitfalls with reporters, enabling the project to pro- actively address these issues instead of responding to them after they have already sparked controversy. Projects with any likelihood of controversy would benefit from retaining assis- tance from individuals with career experience in media rela- tions and public engagement so that they can assist project engineers and planners working with stakeholder groups. Missouri I-70 tiered Nepa evaluation project Summary The Missouri DOT (MoDOT) and FHWA used a tiered NEPA process to effectively integrate the planning and envi- ronmental phases of the I-70 corridor program. Conduct- ing a planning-level study in a Tier 1 EIS allowed MoDOT to get a quick decision on the preferred strategy for address- ing problems in the I-70 corridor with buy-in from FHWA and key resource agencies. This decision consequently pro- vided a reliable basis for further development and evalua- tion of alternatives in Tier 2 NEPA studies. Many agencies experience schedule delay, and in particular, extensive reworking of earlier decisions and inability to maintain agreements, when implementing the tiered NEPA process. This case study illustrates how a tiered NEPA process can help transportation agencies to address complex problems by documenting decisions at interim milestones and allow- ing planning work to better inform later phases of design and environmental evaluation.

106 Project Overview I-70 in Missouri was constructed in the 1950s, spanning approximately 200 miles between Kansas City and St. Louis. I-70 is the primary east–west corridor in the state, with some segments carrying well over 100,000 vehicles each day. Traffic congestion and safety are currently problems in many areas along the corridor because demand exceeds the capacity and design of the freeway. Projected growth in statewide popula- tion and employment predicts these problems will increase. MoDOT and FHWA conducted a statewide feasibility study to explore methods for addressing the problems in the I-70 corridor. This study documented the condition of I-70 and evaluated its capacity, safety, traffic conditions, and how it could be expected to operate in the future. The outcome of this study indicated the need for comprehensive improve- ments to address current and predicted problems along this corridor. Because of the size, cost, and complexity of a com- prehensive solution and possible impacts to communities and the environment, MoDOT and FHWA evaluated alterna- tive methods of addressing the needs of this corridor via a two-tiered NEPA process. The Tier 1 EIS looked broadly at a range of statewide solu- tions for the I-70 corridor and recommended a general improve- ment strategy. The first tier had four goals: 1. Approval of a general strategy for improving I-70; 2. Identification of sections of the I-70 corridor for second- tier studies; 3. Documentation that could be referenced by second-tier studies to eliminate repetitiveness; and 4. Development of agency and public consensus for the overall improvement plan. Six alternatives were evaluated in the Tier 1 EIS, including no build, demand management, widening I-70, a new parallel corridor, HOV lanes, and high-speed passenger rail. Widen- ing I-70 by expanding the right-of-way width from roughly 400 feet to approximately 500 feet was the preferred strategy identified in the Tier 1 ROD. Rural portions (80% of the cor- ridor) would be widened from four lanes to six lanes, and urban areas would be widened from eight lanes to ten lanes. The Tier 1 EIS also identified seven sections of independent utility to be evaluated separately in Tier 2 documents. The second-tier projects consisted of two EISs, four EAs, and one categorical exclusion, each relying on the decisions made in the Tier 1 ROD. In particular, each Tier 2 evaluation began with a range of alternatives defined by the selection of the strategy to widen the existing I-70 corridor. The Tier 1 evaluation also informed the Tier 2 studies’ identification of secondary and cumulative effects. Ultimately, the seven Tier 2 evaluations were completed in 4 years (see Table 4.8 for the project timeline). Project Constraints Unusually Large Scale of and/or Complex Project or Program and Inability to Maintain Agreement MoDOT faced a daunting challenge when it decided to com- prehensively approach the congestion, mobility, and safety problems throughout the I-70 corridor. The geographic scale, complexity, and diversity of problems along the corri- dor and the scope of needed improvements necessitated a programmatic evaluation before beginning work on indi- vidual projects. When faced with similar challenges, many DOTs have employed corridor studies before initiating NEPA evaluations. The transition from corridor study to project-level NEPA can introduce challenges for the lead agencies when they attempt to leverage the work they com- pleted during the planning phase. Valuable work done dur- ing the planning phase, such as scoping and stakeholder outreach to define the problems, as well as early identifica- tion and screening of potential alternatives, can be difficult to rely on once NEPA is initiated. In many cases, transporta- tion agencies decide to revisit work done during planning after they issue an NOI. This decision can require duplicative evaluation and coordination, introduce greater confusion for the public, and generally result in a longer NEPA process than if the work and decisions in the planning phase were fully leveraged. Expediting Strategy Tiered NEPA Process MoDOT staff identified a tiered NEPA process as a possible method for approaching the problems in the I-70 corridor early in their deliberations with FHWA. Ultimately, MoDOT and FHWA agreed to use this method because it could address Table 4.8. Missouri I-70 Tiered NEPA Evaluation Project Timeline 1999 MoDOT begins a feasibility study to document the condition of the I-70 corridor. January 2000 FHWA issues an NOI to begin the I-70 improve- ment study as a Tier 1 EIS. December 2001 FHWA issues a ROD on the Tier 1 EIS, selecting a preferred strategy for improving the corridor. 2002 MoDOT launches the I-70 improvement program by beginning separate but coordinated Tier 2 NEPA evaluations of seven sections of the Tier 1 corridor. 2006 MoDOT and FHWA complete the last of the seven Tier 2 evaluations.

107 several challenges. The following steps were taken to imple- ment this strategy: • Make strategy decision quickly. From the initial feasibility study in 1999, MoDOT realized there were several funda- mentally different strategies for addressing the problems in the I-70 corridor, including building a new corridor, con- structing high-speed rail, or making improvements to the existing corridor. MoDOT wanted to make a decision about the preferred strategy quickly so that work could then focus on alternative designs. To do this, MoDOT wanted official buy-in from FHWA before moving forward on detailed development and analysis of alternatives. Tier- ing allowed for separate levels of formal decision making under NEPA by establishing a Tier 1 ROD and subsequent Tier 2 decisions. MoDOT and FHWA clearly defined the goals of the Tier 1 process up front to focus on the overall strategy for addressing the problems in the I-70 corridor, leaving the engineering and detailed alternatives evalua- tion for the second-tier processes. This arrangement allowed for a relatively rapid Tier 1 EIS (less than 2 years) that culminated in a reliable decision for how MoDOT should proceed. • Identify individual projects within the corridor. The Tier 1 EIS identified the sections of the I-70 corridor that could be evaluated and undertaken as separate projects in second- tier studies. These sections would be manageable for more detailed environmental analysis and engineering, funding, and construction. Under NEPA, these individual projects must meet several criteria in order to be evaluated and con- structed separately. The Tier 1 EIS provided the analysis and documentation necessary to establish the limits and extent for these second-tier studies. • Provide documentation to be referenced by second-tier studies. FHWA’s involvement in the planning study helped MoDOT and the consultant team to conduct analyses and provide documentation in the Tier 1 EIS in a manner that could be easily referenced in the second-tier documents with little or no adaptation. Indirect and cumulative effects were espe- cially useful in the Tier 1 EIS, as these issues were best addressed at the corridor scale. While the Tier 2 documents did look at these issues for their individual project areas, they relied heavily on the Tier 1 document for its corridor- wide analysis. • Garner resource agency input on strategy. Performing the planning study under NEPA helped MoDOT get more involvement and buy-in from some key resource agencies that are not typically involved during this early phase of project development. These agencies included EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the state’s Department of Natural Resources. FHWA’s involvement and the initiation of NEPA during the planning phase helped MoDOT to gain input from these agencies on the selection of an overall strategy. MoDOT held quarterly meetings with several resource agencies to get their feedback on potential concerns or benefits associ- ated with the strategies being considered and their relative merits from the regulatory purviews of these agencies. Ulti- mately, this gave MoDOT a greater degree of certainty that the decision on a preferred strategy and the supporting evaluations would not have to be revisited during the second-tier project-level studies or permitting. Lessons Learned A tiered NEPA process helped MoDOT to effectively and effi- ciently study how to address the problems in the I-70 corri- dor. Despite their success, MoDOT noted that a tiered NEPA process is not always helpful and that there were important elements in the I-70 corridor project that made the tiered approach useful. Chiefly, the nature of the problems to be addressed in the I-70 corridor required at least two distinct and sequential levels of decision. MoDOT first needed a deci- sion about the fundamental strategy for addressing the prob- lems in the corridor. The decision about whether to improve the existing corridor was critical to framing the subsequent decisions about the type of improvements along various sec- tions of the corridor. Receiving buy-in from FHWA and some key resource agencies on this first decision allowed MoDOT to proceed with the separate I-70 corridor projects in a more confident and focused fashion than if there had been concern that agencies might later question the underlying strategy. A second important characteristic of the I-70 program that made a tiered approach effective was that the second-tier decision—evaluating alternative designs for improving I-70— was divided into several separate decisions and separate proj- ects along the corridor. This meant that each project was able to rely on the decision made in the Tier 1 EIS without the need for each to separately approach this issue again. Many projects are better served by a traditional single-tier NEPA process. If there is a clear approach for addressing a problem, even though there may be variations on the approach that need to be studied, a tiered NEPA process might add unnecessary steps and time by requiring more analysis, docu- mentation, and public comment periods than needed. Simi- larly, a problem likely to be addressed as a single project may receive less benefit from a tiered process than a problem that is likely to be split into multiple separate projects that could rely on a preceding ROD. NEPA compliance can be complex and confusing, espe- cially for members of the public who are not familiar with the process. A tiered NEPA process can be doubly complex, which made it especially important for the I-70 project team to develop and maintain a clear message about the

108 intended progression through the tiered evaluations and decision making. Outreach during the first tier was some- times difficult because the development of different strate- gies was very rough and preliminary, which didn’t allow for detailed analysis of impacts. This made it problematical for some stakeholders to believe they could contribute meaning- fully. The project team needed to continually remind par- ticipants of the decision at hand and that more detail and analysis would follow once there was agreement on the pre- ferred strategy for addressing the problems in the I-70 cor- ridor. During the second-tier studies, MoDOT employed a public engagement consultant to provide a consistent mes- sage on all the projects. MoDOT faced similar challenges with resource agencies that were not used to being involved in the planning phase of project development. Initially agencies expected more detailed design information that could facilitate a more nuanced understanding and comparison of impacts. These agencies tended to jump to issues concerning later decisions about project design, which required that project staff bring the dis- cussion back to the decision at hand, that is, whether to improve the I-70 corridor, not how. Overall, it was important for MoDOT and FHWA to clearly define the goals of the Tier 1 EIS and to keep participants reminded of the scope and pro- cess of this first tier and what would be addressed later in the second-tier studies. recovery act Broadband access program of actions Summary In February 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, which appropriated $7.2 billion in loans and grants for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunica- tions and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to increase access to broadband services in unserved and under- served communities throughout the United States. RUS received $2.5 billion to provide grants and loans for broad- band access in rural and remote areas by way of its broadband initiatives program (BIP). Using its broadband technology opportunities program (BTOP), NTIA received $4.7 billion to support grants and loans for projects that map and docu- ment existing broadband services; increase broadband use in underserved areas; improve access to local police and fire departments; and provide broadband training and support to schools, libraries, healthcare providers, and other organiza- tions. Under ARRA, all NTIA and RUS grants and loans must be awarded by September 30, 2010. To meet the compressed and congressionally mandated timeline in which ARRA funds need to be obligated and construction completed, RUS, NTIA, the National Confer- ence of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) undertook two streamlining activities: • A program comment, signed by ACHP, NTIA, RUS, and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), which allowed RUS and NTIA to adopt the results of FCC’s Sec- tion 106 compliance process; and • A complementary national Section 106 programmatic agreement for BTOP and BIP that allowed for post-award compliance with Section 106 and the exemption of sus- tainable broadband adoption programs (i.e., educational efforts, training, and support) and broadband over exist- ing power lines projects from Section 106 compliance requirements. Project Constraints Inefficient Section 106 Consultation with SHPO Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their actions on historic properties and to provide ACHP with a reasonable opportunity to comment on such actions. ACHP issued regulations (Section 106 regulations, codified under 36 CFR, Part 800) that set forth the process through which federal agencies must comply with these duties. The available technological solutions for broadband acces- sibility and use are diverse and include the construction and modification of FCC-regulated communication towers and antennas. FCC, ACHP, and NCSHPO have existing program- matic agreements that direct how FCC meets its Section 106 responsibilities for certain undertakings, including com- munication towers and antennas: the FCC Co-location Programmatic Agreement (2001) for the co-location of wire- less antennas, and the FCC Nationwide Programmatic Agree- ment (NPA)(2004) for the review of effects on historic properties for certain undertakings approved by FCC. Through these NPAs, FCC has established a procedure that is supported by approaches to expedite review and facilitate the involvement of stakeholders (including Indian tribes) to ensure that effects to historic properties are taken into account. RUS and NTIA, however, have been unable to use these existing FCC NPAs to meet their individual Section 106 responsibilities. In some proposals submitted to NTIA’s BTOP and RUS’s BIP, FCC will have regulatory authority over these towers and antennas. In short, for the implementation of broadband projects involving FCC-regulated communica- tion towers and antennas, FCC, RUS, and NTIA would be

109 required to conduct separate Section 106 reviews for the same proposed undertaking. Lengthy Review and Revision Cycles The traditional agency-by-agency, four-step Section 106 review process (initiate consultation, identify historic prop- erties, determine impacts, and resolve adverse effects) can take months to years to complete. This review process usually happens before funds are awarded and would not allow for BTOP and BIP grant and loan processing to meet ARRA deadlines, thereby threatening delivery of funding and con- comitant projects. Expediting Strategy Programmatic Agreement for Section 106 In the context of the ARRA funding requirements for broad- band access, the NPA streamlines the Section 106 reviews through the program comment and the NPA for Section 106 review. Recognizing the delays that would hinder meeting the Sep- tember 30, 2010, deadline for awarding funds, ACHP issued a program comment to NTIA and RUS to relieve them of the need to conduct a separate Section 106 review regarding the effects of communication facilities construction or modification that would be subject to such review by FCC (see Table 4.9 for the full timeline). The program comment applies only to those undertakings reviewed under FCC’s NPA or NPA for the co-location of wireless antennas and does not change FCC NPAs or the pro- cedures through which SHPOs, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, local governments, and other consulting parties consult about the effects of these undertakings. RUS, NTIA, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are still responsible for Sec- tion 106 reviews for undertakings that include components other than telecommunication facilities construction or modification subject to FCC review. They will not, however, have to consider the effects of the telecommunication facili- ties construction or modification portion reviewed under FCC NPAs. In conjunction with the program comment, RUS and NTIA worked collaboratively with FCC and tribal leaders to improve how tribes were notified about Section 106–eligible BIP and BTOP applications. NTIA and RUS use a modified version of FCC’s tower construction notification system, an FCC tool and database that allow RUS and NTIA to readily provide reliable information about BTOP and BIP proposals to federally recognized tribes in order to expedite historic preservation compliance. Based on issues identified in the program comment, the NPA • Stipulates that as a condition of financial assistance awarded under BTOP and BIP, NTIA and RUS will attach award conditions to guarantee that ARRA funds are not released, and ground-disturbing activities are not started, before the completion of the Section 106 review; • Allows NTIA and RUS to award BTOP and BIP grants and loans before Section 106 process completion so long as NTIA or RUS requires applicants to begin Section 106 con- sultation within 90 days after project award; • Provides NTIA and RUS with the authority to withdraw project awards until completion of the Section 106 review; • Stipulates that NTIA and RUS will provide applicants with guidance on the Section 106 process, including contact information for people in the respective agencies who will Table 4.9. ARRA Broadband Access Program Timeline 2001 FCC NPA for the co-location of Wireless Antennas is approved. 2004 FCC NPA for Review of Effects on Historic Properties for Certain Undertakings is approved. February 2009 President Obama signs ARRA into law. ARRA provides NTIA and RUS with $7.2 billion to expand access to broadband services in the United States. October 2009 ACHP issues a program comment for RUS and NTIA by unassembled vote. Under this program comment, NTIA and RUS will not be required to conduct an independent review under NHPA Section 106 for the construction and modification of wireless communication facilities already subject to review by FCC under the two NPAs. October 2009 At the 2009 annual session of the National Congress of American Indians, the general assembly adopts a resolution, “Advancing Consultation Regarding Tribal Section 106 Concerns in the ARRA Broadband Programs.” November 2009 NPA signed. September 30, 2010 ARRA funds obligated. September 30, 2013 Ending date of the NPA. September 30, 2015 Extension of ending date of NPA to take into consideration currently unknown contingencies.

110 be responsible for answering applicants’ questions regard- ing Section 106 compliance; and • Encourages BTOP and BIP applicants to design their activ- ities to avoid historic properties. Lessons Learned At this time, it is difficult to know how well the NPA will work in terms of Section 106 review schedule compliance, the number of projects that moved from the award to completion stage within the 3-year ARRA schedule, or the number of projects that met or will meet the 5-year ARRA schedule, which was a modification for unexpected contingencies. However, at least some lessons can be taken from this case. NTIA and RUS worked closely with FCC and several his- toric preservation, tribal, and telecommunications industry organizations throughout the development of the program comment in the context of ARRA deadlines. Prior to NTIA’s and RUS’s formal request to ACHP to issue a program com- ment, they sought to share their intent to develop one with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, NCSHPO, the American Cultural Resources Association, the National Asso- ciation of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, the National Congress of American Indians, the Wireless Infrastructure Association, and the Association of Public Safety Communi- cations Officials, among others. In this process, NTIA and RUS documented and reported to ACHP the expressed con- cerns of these organizations. If these concerns were not addressed in the program comment, they were addressed in the NPA, if possible. This early and continued communica- tion garnered the general support of these stakeholders, thus allowing for NTIA, RUS, and unserved and underserved areas to benefit from ARRA funds for broadband access without compromising the integrity of Section 106 reviews and exist- ing agreements. texas Section 106 programmatic agreement program of actions Summary TxDOT, FHWA, the Texas SHPO, and ACHP developed a programmatic agreement to provide a variety of streamlining measures for the NHPA Section 106 compliance process on TxDOT projects. The agreement defines several categories of projects, including those that pose no potential to affect his- toric properties and thus require no review by TxDOT, FHWA, or SHPO. The primary streamlining element in the agreement is the definition of project types with potential to cause effects (but not likely adverse effects) on historic prop- erties, and the provision that internal TxDOT staff can review and process these projects without formal review or com- ment from FHWA or SHPO. Instead, TxDOT provides quar- terly reports summarizing project activities undertaken with potential to cause effect, rather than requiring a case-by-case review by SHPO for these projects. This agreement includes a variety of stipulations to stream- line the Section 106 compliance process while ensuring the protection it affords is not marginalized. These stipulations include requirements for TxDOT to maintain staff with appropriate expertise in historic and archaeological resources, allowances for the agreement to be updated as its imple- mentation yields opportunities for improvement, and the requirement for continual review and monitoring of how the agreement is used. Overall, the agreement has helped to reduce delay for a majority of TxDOT projects that pose little or no risk to resources protected by Section 106, and has in turn helped TxDOT, FHWA, and SHPO to focus resources on projects that could have adverse effects, thus helping to expe- dite those projects as well. Project Constraint Inefficient Section 106 Consultation with SHPO Most DOT projects have little or no potential to affect historic or archaeological resources, but are nonetheless often subject to individual project review from SHPO. These reviews can add time and expense to these projects and consume resources in the agencies that might be better spent on projects with a greater likelihood of affecting resources protected under Section 106. The traditional approach of submitting most DOT projects and activities to SHPO individually for review and comment is gen- erally inefficient and may ultimately inhibit agencies’ ability to provide the appropriate resources to projects that do pose con- cern for historic and archaeological resources and that need the attention to avoid unnecessary delays. Expediting Strategy Programmatic Agreement for Section 106 FHWA and TxDOT worked with the Texas SHPO and ACHP to develop a programmatic agreement that would signifi- cantly reduce the number of TxDOT projects and activities that would require individual SHPO review. The agreement defines three classes of projects or activities: 1. Undertakings with no potential to cause effects to historic properties. These activities are not reviewed by FHWA, SHPO, or TxDOT environmental staff. Activities in this category include roadway maintenance, driveway and street connections, and intersection improvements that require no additional right-of-way.

111 2. Undertakings with potential to cause effects to historic properties. These activities are not typically reviewed on a case-by-case basis by SHPO. Instead, internal TxDOT staff that meet specified training and experience requirements review these projects for potential effects, including defi- nition of the area of potential effect, determinations of properties eligible for protection under Section 106, and determinations of effects to these properties. If adverse effects are identified, TxDOT staff consult with SHPO and other consulting parties to determine a course of action. 3. Undertakings with potential to cause adverse effects to historic properties. These projects require consultation with SHPO. There are specific provisions for undertakings involving cemeteries or historic bridges. TxDOT staff estimate that approximately 85% of their projects fall under the first and second classes, meaning that only about 15% of projects proceed with the traditional indi- vidual consultation process with SHPO. Projects falling into the first class are streamlined by avoiding Section 106 review from TxDOT environmental staff, SHPO, or FHWA entirely. Documentation on these projects is limited to the engineer- ing material required for design and construction. Projects that fall under the second class require documen- tation by the TxDOT environmental staff, and this documen- tation is compiled and reported to SHPO quarterly. This requirement means that projects with potential effect still take a similar amount of time and effort by TxDOT to deter- mine any effects and to consult with any outside parties, such as Indian tribes. Nevertheless, these projects often have an overall time savings by not needing to wait for SHPO to review the project design, potentially eligible resources, and any effects. Instead, this work, and statistics about how the agreement is being implemented across all TxDOT projects, are compiled into quarterly reports and submitted to SHPO for review. Regular weekly coordination meetings are held with SHPO and TxDOT environmental staff. Other important stipulations in the agreement include • FHWA maintains its legal responsibility for compliance with NHPA and the ability to consult directly with SHPO and ACHP if desired. • SHPO may request an opportunity to comment on determi- nations of eligibility or findings of effect on projects meeting the second classification criteria (potential to cause effects). • Tribal consultation is largely unaffected by this agreement. While TxDOT typically carries out most consultation efforts, tribes can always request direct government-to- government consultation with FHWA. • A dispute-resolution process is outlined. This includes time frames for SHPO to respond with any objections and specifies when objections from consulting parties should cause TxDOT to elevate the issue to FHWA. The agreement also outlines provisions tailored specifi- cally for activities affecting cemeteries or historic bridges. These are resources protected by Section 106 that are com- monly affected by TxDOT projects. TxDOT and SHPO developed provisions for how these resources will be consid- ered during consultation, including methods for determin- ing eligibility for protection under Section 106, methods for assessing potential effects to these resources, and applicable approaches for resolving any effects. These provisions help to streamline the consultation process on projects that may affect these resources because they have established a consul- tation process and approach already agreed on by TxDOT, FHWA, and SHPO. Lessons Learned The programmatic Section 106 agreement has helped to streamline the consultation process for TxDOT projects in three ways: 1. Several types of activities are categorically excluded from Section 106 consultation entirely, greatly reducing the vol- ume of projects and material sent to SHPO; 2. Other projects with potential to affect (but not adversely affect) Section 106 resources are evaluated by TxDOT environmental staff without formally requesting review and comment by SHPO; and 3. Provisions have been established for consultation specific to two Section 106 resources—cemeteries and historic bridges—that are commonly encountered on TxDOT projects. In practice, each of these streamlining measures has been useful for expediting project delivery, but they rely heavily on continual coordination between staff from SHPO and the TxDOT environmental division. Staff from these agencies meet weekly to informally review upcoming projects and any issues that either agency may see emerging in the application of the agreement. It has been crucial for TxDOT staff to pre- pare detailed information about projects that have not gone through individual consultation with SHPO in order to com- pile quarterly reports that include statistics about the trends and activities in these projects, specifically capturing how the projects use the provisions in the agreement. Reporting this information and meeting regularly with SHPO has allowed TxDOT to provide assurance that they are acting in good faith according to the stipulations of the agreement and that there is continual opportunity to refine and revise how the agreement is implemented. Flexibility to amend the agreement has also been impor- tant. The current agreement is the result of several previous amendments, some of which have been simple clarifications

112 to language. Other amendments have been more significant, such as adding types of projects that are excluded from con- sultation entirely. The provisions for dealing with cemeteries and historic bridges were added after the original creation of the agreement. TxDOT has found these resource-specific provisions helpful and hopes to include more in the future. Ultimately, the value of the programmatic agreement has been twofold: streamlining projects with little or no like lihood of adversely affecting resources protected by Section 106 and allowing staff from TxDOT, FHWA, and SHPO to focus their resources on projects that may adversely affect protected resources. Perhaps counter intuitively, this streamlining approach has not reduced the interaction between these agencies, but actually has required and instilled stronger coordination between them in order to ensure the agreement delivers time savings, when possible, while assur- ing proper compliance with Section 106. Oregon Statewide Bridges program of actions Summary The Oregon DOT (ODOT) statewide bridges program developed a streamlined approach for replacing and repair- ing over 300 bridges around the state. ODOT realized that the standard approach to project development would not allow the state to complete this program within the time frame mandated by the legislature or within the program budget. ODOT partnered with other agencies, stakeholders, and the private sector to redesign the standard approach to project delivery. Many different practices were developed or adopted to streamline the delivery of the program, including strategies and tools that helped to expedite data collection, permitting, design, contracting, and construction. Compared with the traditional approach to project delivery, this comprehensive approach allowed ODOT to reduce delivery time on some of the projects by as much as 50% and to cut years off the program delivery schedule. The program’s commitment to context-sensitive solutions also resulted in greater environ- mental protection and enhancement than would have occurred with the more typical approach to project delivery. The program received not only FHWA’s prestigious Environ- mental Excellence Award for Environmental Streamlining, but also received the Best Program Award for Environmental Excellence from AASHTO. The ODOT bridge program faced a number of challenges to timely delivery. ODOT and partners successfully addressed these challenges through numerous strategies that helped to expedite program delivery. This case study focuses on just four of the many strategies employed by the program: early commitment of construction funding, programmatic or batched permitting, performance standards, and dispute- resolution process. Project Overview When ODOT identified widespread problems with deterio- rating bridges built in the 1950s and 1960s, they quickly realized that the usual approach to funding, permitting, environmental review, contracting, and construction would not work for this program, which required the repair or replacement of more than 300 bridges across the state. One of the first steps they took to develop a more efficient approach to project delivery was to hold a workshop with resource agen- cies to let them know the problems they were facing and the objectives they wanted to achieve, and to ask the agencies for help in (a) understanding what goals and objectives the agen- cies would like to achieve as part of this program and (b) rede- signing the coordination, review, and permitting process to achieve the objectives of the DOT and all the resource agen- cies. This led to substantial changes in the delivery process, including much more detailed and up-front environmental data collection, new programmatic permits, a batched biologi- cal assessment, outcome-based permits, a dispute-resolution process, and agency leadership agreements. Overall, the new review process front-loaded much of the process and agree- ments, was much more collaborative, and was much quicker than the traditional approach. After ODOT identified the problem and clarified an approach for solving it, the 2003 Oregon legislature passed House Bill 2041, the Oregon Transportation Investment Act III (OTIA III), which provided $1.3 billion for the replace- ment and repair of bridges on state highways. In response, ODOT developed a project delivery program that would accomplish the following objectives: • Employ efficient and cost-effective delivery practices; • Stimulate the Oregon economy; • Maintain freight mobility and keep traffic moving; • Build projects sensitive to their communities and land- scapes; and • Capitalize on funding opportunities. Table 4.10 shows the timeline for the Oregon bridges proj- ect. More information is available online for the OTIA III program (16) and the environmental tools and strategies developed to expedite project delivery (17). Project Constraints The ODOT bridges program faced multiple challenges that could have derailed the program or extended the schedule.

113 This case study discusses just three of the barriers: signifi- cant and diverse environmental impacts and issues, a large number of permitting agencies with overlapping jurisdictions, and a program of unprecedented scale and complexity. Conflicting Resource Values and Difficulty Agreeing on Impacts and Mitigation The bridges program faced significant environmental con- cerns and required coordination and approvals from a large number of regulatory agencies, including • Section 404 permitting and NEPA coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; • Clean Water Act Section 402 compliance and coordination; • Clean Water Act Section 401 compliance; • Navigation clearance and Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 compliance with the U.S. Coast Guard; • National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wild- life Service consultation under ESA Section 7 (multiple salmon species and other aquatic species in multiple waterways, multiple wildlife and plant species); • Section 4(f) resources; • Section 106 historic resources (many of the bridges were eligible or potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places); • Significant archaeological resources and the need for tribal input and coordination; • Potential impacts to low-income and minority communi- ties; and • Significant visual impacts and concerns, including bridges located in a national scenic area. The breadth and significance of the environmental issues created the potential for significant delay associated with securing many different permits for many different projects around the state from resource agencies with overlapping jurisdictions, as well as the potential for conflicting require- ments and constraints from the different state and federal agencies with overlapping jurisdictions and different sub- stantive and procedural expectations. Unusually Large Scale of and/or Complex Project or Program The bridges program required the repair and replacement of over 300 bridges in a 10-year period, more than ODOT had addressed in the previous 50 years. The program was further complicated by its geographic breadth; bridges were located throughout the state, spread across thousands of miles of Interstate and state highways. Bridges on the state’s major freight routes required that the program be carefully coordi- nated and expedited in order to avoid significant adverse impacts to mobility, freight, congestion, and local economies during construction. Expediting Strategies ODOT set an aggressive schedule and committed the neces- sary resources to develop a new, expedited approach to pro- gram delivery to meet the objectives of the program. Specific expediting strategies addressed in this case study include • Early commitment of construction funding; • Programmatic or batched permitting; • Performance standards; and • Dispute-resolution process. Table 4.10. Oregon Statewide Bridges Program Timeline 2002 ODOT identifies widespread problems with deteriorating bridges. 2002 ODOT holds workshops with resource agencies and internal divisions to begin a partnership for developing an approach to deliver the bridge program. 2003 Oregon legislature passes House Bill 2041 providing funding to develop and implement the program. Early 2003 ODOT contracts consultants to work with them and their partners to collect environmental, engineering, and other data; to involve the public and other stakeholders to better understand the issues and challenges; and to design an approach that will meet program objectives. 2003–2004 ODOT and partners collaborate to develop new strategies to expedite program delivery in a context-sensitive and sustainable way. April 2004 ODOT contracts with a joint venture of private companies that will manage the delivery of the program. 2005 NEPA review and key federal and state programmatic permits and approvals are completed. 2006 First bridge replacement and repair projects begin construction. 2007 First bridge replacement and repair projects are completed. 2013 Projected construction completion for the last of the bridge replacement and repair projects.

114 Early Commitment of Construction Funding During the early planning phase of the bridges program the state legislature approved House Bill 2142, which authorized an increase in motor vehicle and trucking fees to provide full funding for the $1.3 billion bridge replacement and repair program. The key factor that made this an expediting tool was that this funding was approved while the program was in early planning and had not yet initiated preliminary engi- neering or NEPA. This demonstration of commitment helped to communicate that this program was real—it had passed the construction funding obstacle and had nearly elimi- nated the risk that time and resources spent to plan, design, and permit the program might be wasted. An early commit- ment of construction funds helped to garner the attention, time, will, and other commitments necessary to expedite deci- sions and delivery. Early funding indicated to all stakeholders that significant political support existed for the program and that it was a very high priority. This was an important factor in expediting the internal agency processes, in garnering the support and collaboration of other agencies, and in main- taining political support for the program. Programmatic or Batched Permitting By developing a single permit that can cover multiple, sepa- rate actions, it is possible to substantially expedite the permit- ting (and delivery) of a collection of projects. There are two basic approaches: (a) a batched permit or approval typically covers a set of specific actions that are identified in advance of the permit, and (b) a programmatic permit typically covers a collection of future actions that may or may not be specifi- cally identified in advance of the permit. The actions covered by a programmatic permit are typically those that can meet the specific performance standards or other conditions spec- ified in the permit. ODOT worked with the National Marine Fisheries Ser- vice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a batched biological assessment and biological opinion to cover the bridges program. With over 300 bridges, this pro- gram included many different waterways and many species of threatened or endangered salmon, other fish, and wild- life. Preparing a biological assessment and biological opin- ion for each bridge, or even each set of bridges, would have been extremely costly and time consuming. The batched biological assessments and opinions covered multiple spe- cies for multiple bridge projects across multiple waterways around the state (18). ODOT worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state agencies to develop a regional general permit to address the program’s permitting requirements under Section 404 and Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Again, with over 300 bridges, this program included many different waterways and wetlands around the state. Some of the projects could qualify for nationwide permits, but many would require indi- vidual permits. Permitting each bridge or even each set of bridges individually would have required considerable time and effort. The regional general permit covered the permit- ting needs for nearly every relevant bridge replacement or repair project. The regional general permit was issued pursu- ant to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ authority under the Clean Water Act, and it included conditions for certification pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act. The bridges program also secured a general authorization to cover state wetland and waterway permitting requirements (19). The development of these programmatic and batched per- mits led to the development of Oregon’s ecosystem-based mitigation and conservation banking program, which helped to expedite permitting and mitigation and provide greater environmental benefits than the traditional approach to mit- igation (20). Performance Standards The programmatic and batched permits developed for the Oregon bridges program were based on a single set of permit conditions that included both prescriptive and performance standards. These standards were common across the regional general permit for Clean Water Act Section 404, the state wet- land permit, and the ESA Section 7 batched biological opin- ion. In addition to the schedule advantages of batched and programmatic permits, the bridge program was further expe- dited, and enjoyed cost savings, as a result of the consistency in permit conditions across these three types of permits. Using outcome-based performance standards was key to making this possible. It allowed ODOT flexibility in bridge design and construction while assuring resource agencies of ade- quate environmental protection. An outcome-based performance standard is essentially a term or condition included in a permit or approval that describes a specific measurable outcome from a project activity. For instance, rather than debating the best manage- ment practice that the permit will prescribe, agencies can agree that the proposed activity will not result in greater than X amount of impact (such as pollutant discharge). In many cases, the X that is being committed to is already fixed by regulation (e.g., this is the case for most water quality issues). In these instances, outcome-based performance standards are particularly useful at keeping permitting dis- cussions on track. However, even when the outcome is not specifically prescribed by regulation, discussions with stake- holders are generally more productive when the parties dis- cuss desired outcomes. Successful performance standard

115 development requires at least two key components. First, the performance standard outcome must be clearly measur- able through an agreed-on method. Second, no perfor- mance standard should be agreed on without review by appropriate representatives from DOT design, construc- tion, and maintenance staff. One of the unique performance standards developed for the bridges permits was the fluvial performance standard. This standard created the flexibility to balance the sometimes competing desires of (a) minimizing bridge piers in the waterway (subject to Section 404 permitting requirements) and (b) minimizing bridge abutment–related fill that is within the floodway or floodplain but is above the ordinary high-water mark (and therefore not subject to Section 404 permitting requirements). For more information on this and other environmental performance standards, see the Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners website (18, 19, 21). Dispute-Resolution Process More than 30 of the bridges that were part of ODOT’s state- wide bridge repair and replacement program were located on federal lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). ODOT had developed programmatic permits and a batched biological opinion to cover Clean Water Act Section 404 and 401 requirements, state wetland permit requirements, and ESA Section 7 consultation requirements for nearly all of the bridges requiring these approvals. However, the permitting and approval requirements associated with federal lands were not necessarily or completely covered by these programmatic permits. In order to address the unique NEPA and other approval requirements for bridges on USFS and BLM lands, ODOT, FHWA, BLM, and USFS developed an MOA. The MOA defined the approach that would be taken to ensure that ODOT’s NEPA process and documentation would address the NEPA requirements of BLM and USFS and how other permitting requirements would be addressed. The MOA also defined each agency’s role and responsibilities as either lead or cooperating agency, and it specifically outlined a process for elevating and resolving any disputes or issues that arose during the approval process. Developed in close coordination with USFS and BLM, the dispute-resolution process specifically incorporated lessons learned by those agencies from their previous expe- rience with dispute resolution. In particular, USFS and BLM had experienced problems with a previous dispute- resolution process that placed excessive emphasis on avoid- ing escalating disputes above the technical staff level. Technical staff on this earlier project had believed that escalating a dispute to senior staff would be perceived as a failure, and therefore they were very reluctant to elevate. This reluctance resulted in protracted attempts by technical staff to resolve disputes that probably could not be validly resolved at their level. Some disputes can only be resolved by senior staff or leadership with the authority to reinter- pret policies or agency objectives or refine standard proto- cols and policies. Lessons Learned In the process of developing a new approach to implementing project delivery for the bridges program, ODOT and other agencies identified a number of keys to success in developing new approaches to project delivery, including expediting measures. They provide the following guidance: • Identify and secure leadership support; • Mobilize energy and commitment by jointly identifying problems and solutions with other divisions within the agency and with other agencies; • Create a shared mission and pursue mutual benefits; • Build on your and others’ past successes; • Initiate the new approach with a relatively autonomous group (e.g., a pilot program); • Understand the relevant laws and regulations and their flexibility; • Remove your agency’s internal roadblocks to streamlining; • Plan for and facilitate conflict and dispute resolution; • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good; • Formalize success through policy, systems, and organiza- tional structure; • Monitor results, evaluate, and improve; and • Train, educate, and follow through (20, 22, 23). Virginia DOt early-Move Incentive program Summary The Virginia DOT (VDOT), in cooperation with FHWA, expedited the relocation process for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project by implementing a program that provided monetary incentives to encourage tenants to vacate their property quickly and allow subsequent construction activi- ties to occur on schedule. Response to this program was largely positive. Tenants in 333 residential units in three apartment complexes were relocated on an aggressive sched- ule that allowed construction to begin earlier than otherwise possible. Delays in other preconstruction efforts were recov- ered, and the schedule was achieved in large part because this program gave tenants incentive payments if they were able to move out of their property within targeted time frames. Ulti- mately, VDOT paid approximately $1.2 million for incentive

116 payments, but saved an estimated $6 million by avoiding a projected 7-month delay to start construction. Project Overview The Woodrow Wilson Bridge project is the largest public works project in the mid-Atlantic region. This bridge carries the I-95/I-495 Capital Beltway and is one of seven crossings over the Potomac River in the Washington, D.C., metropoli- tan area. The 7.5-mile-long project replaced the previous bridge and reconstructed the four interchanges adjacent to the crossing that directly influence its operation. The project is sponsored by four agencies: FHWA, VDOT, the Maryland State Highway Administration, and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation. There were three primary drivers for this project: • Congestion relief; • Safety improvements; and • Correction of structural deficiencies. The previous Woodrow Wilson Bridge opened in 1961 and was designed to carry 75,000 vehicles per day. By 2000, nearly 200,000 vehicles were using the bridge, with nearly 300,000 vehi- cles projected by 2020. The bridge’s six lanes narrowed the eight-lane Capital Beltway and had become a severe bottleneck that created 7 hours of congestion on the average weekday and frequently created traffic backups that spanned several miles. Additionally, the previous structure—a drawbridge with only 50 feet of vertical navigation clearance—had to be raised fre- quently for river traffic, which exacerbated congestion and traffic backups. The congestion problems, coupled with substandard highway design, lead to safety problems on and around the original bridge. The merging from the eight-lane Capital Beltway to the six lanes on the original bridge created traffic conflicts, which were worsened by very narrow shoulders. Furthermore, the drawbridge, which was frequently raised, added potential conflicts as it introduced a stop that was unexpected by some drivers. Overall, the accident rate on and around the bridge was twice that of similar highways in Maryland and Virginia. Vibrations from the increased traffic volume had caused the bridge supports to deteriorate, compromising the struc- tural integrity of the original bridge. Engineers estimated that if the bridge did not receive significant repairs or replacement by 2004, it would require weight restrictions (see the timeline in Table 4.11). After several years of planning studies and alternatives evaluation, the preferred alternative was identified in 1996. This design included two separate six-lane bridges with a pedestrian–bicycle path to connect trails on both sides of the crossing. The new facility includes the ability to add two HOV–transit lanes or a rail transit system if connecting facil- ities are constructed. Project Constraint Relocation Process Delays Construction As with most projects of this magnitude, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project encountered many potential causes of delay. The hurdle highlighted for this case study was the need to rapidly relocate the tenants of 333 units in three apart- ment complexes located in the area where VDOT would con- struct the Virginia landside connections to the new bridges. The project leaders hoped to relocate these tenants quickly as relocation was one of the final steps needed before con- struction could begin. A variety of minor delays that pre- ceded property acquisition and relocation added more pressure for quick completion in order to recover the sched- ule and begin construction on time. What was originally planned to be a 15-month relocation process needed to be completed in just 8 months to avoid delaying the start of construction. Table 4.11. Virginia Dot Early-Move Incentive Program Timeline 1987 A study is initiated by the federal government, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Early 1990s Traditional project selection process fails in face of opposition from local jurisdictions. 1992 Inclusive project development effort is launched. A multijurisdictional coordination committee is created, with nine of 14 members representing local jurisdictions. 1992–1996 Panel studies are conducted with extensive public input. 1996 A 12-lane facility and reconstruction of four adjacent interchanges is recommended. 1997 FEIS and ROD are issued. 2000 Final supplemental EIS and ROD are issued. 2000 Construction begins with river dredging. 2001 Bridge foundation construction begins, as well as some work on Maryland interchange improvements. 2003 Bridge superstructure construction begins with work on Virginia and Maryland tie-ins. 2006 First new bridge is completed; traffic is rerouted to this bridge, and demolition of the old bridge begins. 2008 Second new bridge is completed, along with the majority of the adjacent three interchanges. 2013 Fourth interchange is expected to be completed.

117 Expediting Strategy Incentive Payments to Expedite Relocations The VDOT right-of-way team knew that relocating 333 apart- ment units in 8 months could not be accomplished simply by implementing traditional approaches to the relocation pro- cess. Fortunately, FHWA, AASHTO, and NCHRP had recently completed a study of transportation agencies in England, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands to review best prac- tices for property acquisition and utility relocation. This study looked at how transportation agencies in these coun- tries addressed the needs of property owners affected by highway projects, identified some innovative techniques for compensating owners, and made recommendations for U.S. applications. One of the innovative techniques identified from this study was the use of incentive payments to encour- age property owners and tenants to more quickly come to agreement on arrangements for relocation. Based on information from this study, VDOT introduced the early-move incentive program, which stated that any ten- ant who moved within 30 days of receiving a replacement housing payment would receive a $4,000 incentive. Residents able to move between 31 and 60 days of receiving a replace- ment housing payment would receive a $2,000 incentive. These payments were in addition to the relocation assistance benefits provided to displaced tenants. Tenants responded positively to the early-move incentive program. Tenants in 262 units moved within 30 days of receiving the replacement housing payment and were given the $4,000 incentive payment, and tenants in 15 units moved within 60 days and received the $2,000 payment. Ultimately, all tenants were successfully relocated within the 8-month time frame, allowing construction of the Virginia bridge con- nections to commence on schedule. Overall, VDOT paid approximately $1.2 million to displaced tenants via the early- move incentive program. However, if the relocation process had required the originally planned 15 months, this 7-month delay to construction would have cost VDOT $6 million. Lessons Learned The early-move incentive program was a nearly unqualified success and is a good example of implementing techniques learned from FHWA’s International Technology Scanning Program. Several important factors contributed to this suc- cess. Techniques employed by VDOT staff helped to increase the response rate from tenants to this program, and several characteristics of the project helped to make the use of incen- tive payments worthwhile. While incentive payments can be a helpful strategy for expediting the relocation process, they are not always cost-effective. Once the incentive program was approved internally by VDOT and FHWA, the right-of-way team made sure all ten- ants were quickly made aware of the program by going door- to-door and explaining to each tenant the relocation process and how the incentive payments would work. Performing this outreach face-to-face immediately at the inception of the program helped to maximize its effectiveness at compressing the relocation schedule. Accelerating the relocation process added staffing demands. Immediately after the issuance of the replacement housing payments, the relocation team received a strong response from tenants wanting to make sure they moved in time to meet the requirements of the incentive program. This required additional staff to handle tenant inquiries and pro- cess the paperwork during the first several weeks of the program. Additionally, the compressed timeline for moving tenants from the apartment buildings required additional staff to coordinate the moving process with property manag- ers. The high-rise apartment building had only two elevators, and one needed to be available at all times for day-to-day use. This left just one elevator dedicated for tenants moving out, a situation that required project staff to help manage logistics. Overall, more project staff were required for the relocation process because of the incentive program, but the shorter schedule meant these staff were needed for less duration. A few important characteristics of this project helped make the early-move incentive program successful. First, the relo- cation process became the last task required before construc- tion of the Virginia portion of the project could begin, meaning that any delay to the relocation process would delay construction and increase project cost accordingly. The risk of increasing construction cost made the incentive payments a cost-effective option. Second, the scheduled time frame for relocations became shortened to nearly half the time that would typically be allotted for the task, meaning that a busi- ness as usual approach would not work. Finally, the large number of tenants to be replaced also raised the possibilities of delay that can arise when attempting to relocate a large number of households rapidly. VDOT has recently used incentive payments on another project that is making improvements to the I-66 interchange in Gainesville. In this case, VDOT offered $100,000 incentives to 42 businesses if they were able to relocate within 30 days of the program’s inception, and $50,000 if they moved in 31 to 60 days. Business relocations entail many different consider- ations than residential relocations and can often be more complex. However, these incentives ultimately proved help- ful in accelerating the relocation of 41 of the 42 businesses, which was enough to advance the utility relocation process (previously expected to delay the project) by an estimated 18 months. This delay would have escalated construction cost by approximately $10 to $15 million.

118 references 1. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation. Environmental Review Toolkit: The 11th Street Bridges: Building Teams to Improve Out- comes and Expedite Environmental Review. Successes in Steward- ship, 2008. aug08nl.asp. 2. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation. 2009 Environmental Excellence Awards: 11th Street Bridges Environmental Impact State- ment. 3. District of Columbia Department of Transportation. Anacostia Water- front Initiative. 4. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation, and Wisconsin Depart- ment of Transportation. I-94 North–South Freeway Project: Final Environmental Impact Statement. 2008. feis.pdf. 5. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation, and Wisconsin Depart- ment of Transportation. Record of Decision for I-94 North–South Corridor. 2008. 6. Wisconsin Department of Transportation. 94 North–South Freeway Project: Plan Ahead, Drive Safely, Move Forward. Accessed April 20, 2012. 7. Lynard, G. NEPA and Negotiation Combine to Prevent Blackouts While Protecting a Valuable Watershed. NEPA Lessons Learned, Vol. 36, September 2003, pp. 16–17. files/nepapub/nepa_documents/RedDont/LLQR-2003-Q3.pdf. 8. Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. Transmission: Kangley–Echo Lake Project Information. http:// transp/kangley/. Accessed April 20, 2012. 9. Federal Transit Administration. Environmental Analysis Framework and Environmental Performance Commitments for Federal Trans- portation Recovery Projects in Lower Manhattan. July 2003. www 10. Federal Transit Administration. Approach to Cumulative Effects Analysis for the Lower Manhattan Recovery Effort. 2003. http:// apps.pdf. 11. Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO. Case Law Updates on the Environment: Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central U.S. v. USDOT. clue/case_details.aspx?case_id=33. Accessed April 20, 2012. 12. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation. Project Profiles: Inter- county Connector. .htm. April 20, 2012. 13. Maryland State Highway Administration, and Maryland Transpor- tation Authority. Draft Environmental Impact Statement. http:// Accessed April 20, 2012. 14. Maryland State Highway Administration, Maryland Department of Transportation. Intercounty Connector: Environmental Programs. Accessed April 20, 2012. 15. Research and Innovative Technology Administration, John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. Strategies and Approaches for Effectively Moving Complex Environmental Documents Through the EIS Process: A Peer Exchange Report. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation, 2009. eisdocs.asp. Accessed April 20, 2012. 16. Oregon Department of Transportation. Oregon Transportation Investment Act: OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program. http:// Accessed April 20, 2012. 17. Oregon Department of Transportation. Oregon Transportation Investment Act: OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program: Environ- mental Program Overview. OTIA/OTIA3_baseline.shtml. Accessed April 20, 2012. 18. Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners. Partner Central—Environmental. Accessed April 20, 2012. 19. Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners. Partner Central—Environmental: General Authorization (GA)/Regional General Permit (RGP). www 20. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation. Environmental Review Toolkit: Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife: Oregon’s Ecosystem-Based Approach to Mitigation and Conservation Banking. www.environ Accessed April 23, 2012. 21. Oregon Department of Transportation. OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program Environmental Performance Standards. 2005. 22. Oregon Department of Transportation. Oregon Transportation Investment Act: OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program: Bridge Program Background. bridge_delivery.shtml#background. Accessed April 23, 2012. 23. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation. Environmental Excel- lence Awards. Accessed April 23, 2012.

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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Please note you do not have access to teaching notes, environmental area conservation through urban planning: case study in dhaka.

Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law

ISSN : 2514-9407

Article publication date: 19 September 2019

Issue publication date: 18 March 2020

There are some environmentally critical areas (ECAs) in cities such as flood flow areas, agricultural land, canals, rivers, water bodies, forests and hills that need to be conserved from land transformation. The purpose of this paper is to review the compliance, challenges and significance of urban planning, and to develop a contextual framework of urban planning for environmental area conservation to improve the urban environment in case study city Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.


This research is based on a qualitative thematic analysis of the available relevant literature.

This research identified non-compliance of the contemporary urban plans such as indiscriminate land conversion activities in the ECAs. Conflicting interests between the urban plans concerning protection of the conservation areas and business interests of the community people and the real estate development companies are identified as the major challenges. Dhaka faces several environmental problems such as loss of biodiversity and ecosystem, waterlogging, flooding, pollution, reduction of vegetation, groundwater depletion, temperature increase and a reduction in agriculture and fishing because of land conversion in the ECAs.

Practical implications

Urban planning with effective conservation area management, conflict resolution through communication and participation, creation of economic opportunity to generate income from the ECAs and assessment of the conservation strategies and interventions might ensure environmental conservation in Dhaka.


The conceptual framework of urban planning for environmental conservation is innovative as this could be a basis for other cities in Bangladesh and in other developing countries.

  • Conservation
  • Land conversion
  • Urban planning
  • Community awareness
  • Conservation area

Nahrin, K. (2020), "Environmental area conservation through urban planning: case study in Dhaka", Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law , Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 55-71.

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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  • Published: 15 June 2020

The eco-city and its core environmental dimension of sustainability: green energy technologies and their integration with data-driven smart solutions

  • Simon Elias Bibri 1 , 2  

Energy Informatics volume  3 , Article number:  4 ( 2020 ) Cite this article

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Ecological urbanism is seen today as one of the keys towards unlocking the quest for a low-carbon or fossil fuel–free society. Global and local policies promote and advocate the eco–city as the most environmentally sound model of sustainable urbanism. It is argued that the eco–city strategies and solutions are expected to deliver positive outcomes in terms of minimal demand on energy resources and thus minimal environmental impacts. Moreover, it has recently been suggested that the eco-city needs to embrace and leverage what advanced ICT has to offer, particularly with regard to sustainable energy systems, so as to improve and advance its contribution to the goals of environmental sustainability. This paper examines how the eco–city especially its core environmental dimension is practiced and justified in urban planning and development with respect to sustainable energy systems and their integration with data-driven smart technologies at the district level. To illuminate this urban phenomenon accordingly, a descriptive case study is adopted as a qualitative research methodology where the empirical basis is formed by urban planning and development documents combined with secondary data and scientific literature. To provide a theoretical foundation and produce a rationale for this study, this paper first provides a state–of–the–art review of the field of ecological urbanism in terms of its foundations, models, strategies, research issues, as well as data–driven smart technological trends. This study shows that the Eco-city District of Stockholm Royal Seaport uses green energy and data-driven smart technologies as the key strategies and solutions for achieving the environmental objectives of sustainable development in terms of lowering energy consumption and mitigating pollution. This entails conserving and decreasing the demand for energy through renewable resources (i.e., sun, wind, and water), bio–fuelled Combined Heat Power system, large-scale smart grid system, energy management, sustainable waste management, and passive solar houses. This research enhances the scholarly community’s current understanding of the emerging phenomenon of the smart eco-city with respect to the synergic potential of the integration of its sustainable energy strategies with data-driven technology solutions for advancing environmental sustainability.


Cities have a defining role in strategic sustainable development. Therefore, they have gained a central position in operationalizing this notion and applying this discourse. This is clearly reflected in the Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SGD 11) of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, which entails making cities more sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and safe (UN 2015a ). In this respect, the UN’s 2030 Agenda regards ICT as a means to promote socio–economic development and protect the environment, increase resource efficiency, achieve human progress and knowledge in societies, upgrade legacy infrastructure, and retrofit industries based on sustainable design principles (UN 2015b ). Therefore, the multifaceted potential of the smart city approach as enabled by ICT has been under investigation by the UN ( 2015c ) through their study on ‘Big Data and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Sustainable cities have been the leading global paradigm of urbanism (e.g., Bibri 2019a , 2020 ; Bibri and Krogstie 2017a , b ; Jabareen 2006 ; Van Bueren et al. 2011 ; Wheeler and Beatley 2010 ; Whitehead 2003 ; Williams 2010 ) for more than three decades. They represent an umbrella term for various models of sustainable urban forms, including eco–cities. In the late 1980s, the discourse on sustainable development produced the notion of the eco–city that became one of the preferred responses to the challenges of sustainable development. Richard Register, an architect widely credited as the first to have coined the term, defined an eco–city in 1987 as ‘an urban environmental system in which input (of resources) and output (of waste) are minimized’ (Register 2002 ). This definition highlights that the environmental dimension of sustainability is at the core of the eco-city. However, as the concept has become more established, the meanings associated with it and the diversity of initiatives and projects adopting the label have become widespread across the world. As an umbrella concept, the eco–city encompasses a wide range of urban–ecological proposals that aim to achieve sustainability. These approaches emphasize green energy, smart energy, integrated renewable solutions, passive solar design, green structure, ecological and cultural diversity, and environmentally sound policies (Bibri 2020 ). Of these strategies, green energy technology remains the most contributor to environmental sustainability in the context of the eco-city. Green energy comes from natural resources, which are renewable. Renewable energy sources include solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, and oceanic.

However, in the current climate of the unprecedented urbanization and increased uncertainty of the world, it may be more challenging for eco-cities to reconfigure themselves more sustainably, especially when it comes to energy production and consumption. The predicted 70% rate of urbanization by 2050 (UN 2015d ) reveals that environmental sustainability will be a key factor in global resilience and viability to forthcoming changes. This implies that city governments in the ecologically advanced nations will face significant environmental challenges due to the issues engendered by urban growth. These include increased energy consumption, pollution, toxic waste disposal, resource depletion, inefficient management of resources, and so on, In a nutshell, urban growth raises a variety of problems that tend to jeopardize the environmental sustainability of cities, as it puts an enormous strain on energy systems as well as ecosystem services.

Against the backdrop of the unprecedented rate of urbanization and the rising environmental concerns, a number of alternative ways of planning and managing energy resources based on advanced ICT have materialized and are rapidly evolving, enabling eco-cities to improve and advance their contribution to the environmental goals of sustainability (Bibri 2020 ; Bibri and Krogstie 2020a ). Achieving environmental targets in eco-cities has long mostly been based on sustainable energy systems and environmental policies. Advanced ICT constitutes a promising response to the challenges of environmental sustainability in the face of urbanization due to its tremendous, yet untapped, potential for tackling many problems associated with energy management and environmental efficiency (see, e.g., Anthony et al. 2019 ; Bibri and Krogstie 2020a ; Kramers et al. 2014 ; Shahrokni et al. 2015a , b ). Many urban development approaches emphasize the role of big data technologies and their novel applications as an advanced form of ICT in advancing environmental sustainability (e.g., Al Nuaimi et al. 2015 ; Angelidou et al. 2017 ; Batty et al. 2012 ; Bettencourt 2014 ; Bibri 2018b , 2019b , Bibri and Krogstie 2017b ,  2020a ,  b ; Hashem et al. 2016 ). Indeed, there has recently been a conscious push for sustainable cities across the globe to be smarter and thus more environmentally sustainable by developing and implementing advanced data-driven solutions to enhance and optimize urban operations, functions, services, designs, and strategies (Bibri 2020 ).

A large body of work has investigated the presumed outcome of the eco–city achieved through planning practices and design strategies. More specifically, scholars have discussed to what extent it produces the expected environmental benefits of sustainability (see, e.g., Bibri and Krogstie 2020a , Holmstedt et al. 2017 ; Joss et al. 2013 ; Pandis and Brandt 2011 ; Rapoport and Vernay 2011 ; Suzuki et al. 2010 )—with a focus on the natural environment and ecosystems (Mostafavi and Doherty 2010 ). Accordingly, this line of research directs attention to the ecological dimension of sustainability. Moreover, a recent wave of research has started to focus on integrating sustainable cities (especially eco-cities) and smart cities in a variety of ways (e.g., Bibri 2018a , 2019a , 2020 ; Bibri and Krogstie 2019a , b , 2020a , b ; Cowley 2016 ; Höjer and Wangel 2015 ; Kramers et al. 2014 ; Shahrokni et al. 2015a , b ; Späth 2017 ) to improve environmental sustainability.

This paper examines how the eco–city especially its core environmental dimension is practiced and justified in urban planning and development with respect to sustainable energy systems and their integration with data-driven smart technologies at the district level. To provide a theoretical foundation and produce a rationale for this study, this paper provides a state–of–the–art review of the field of ecological urbanism in terms of its foundations, models, strategies, research issues, as well as data–driven smart technological trends.

This paper unfolds as follows. Section 2 describes and justifies the research methodology. Section 3 provides a detailed review on the eco-city. Section 4 presents the results of the case study. Section 5 discusses the results and how they are interpreted in perspective of previous studies, Finally, this paper concludes, in Section 6, by drawing the main findings, providing some reflections, and suggesting some avenues for future research.

Research methodology

Descriptive case study design, characteristics, and approach.

Case study research has long been of prominence in many disciplinary and interdisciplinary and fields. Creswell et al. ( 2007 , p. 245) describe case study methodology as ‘a type of design in qualitative research, an object of study, and a product of the inquiry.’ The authors conclude with a definition that collates the hallmarks of key approaches and that represents the core features of a case study: ‘a qualitative approach in which the investigator explores a bounded system (a case) … over time through detailed, in–depth data collection … and reports a case description and case–based themes’ (Creswell et al. 2007 , p. 245).

According to their design, case studies can be divided into several categories, including descriptive, explanatory, exploratory, illustrative, cumulative, and critical instance, each of which is custom selected for use depending on the objectives of the researcher or the purpose in evaluation. Case study research can be used to study a range of topics and for different purposes (Simons 2009 ; Stake 2006 ; Stewart 2014 ; Yin 2017 ). This case study uses a descriptive design, an approach that is focused and detailed, and in which questions and propositions about the environmental dimension of the eco-city are carefully scrutinized and articulated at the outset. The articulation of what is already known about this phenomenon is called a descriptive theory. Therefore, the main goal of this descriptive case study is to assess the selected case in detail based on such articulation. This research design intends to describe the environmental dimension of the eco-city in its real–world context, to draw on Yin ( 2014 , 2017 ). It is worth pointing out that the internal validity in this design, the approximate truth about inferences regarding cause-effect in relation to this phenomenon, is of irrelevance as in most descriptive studies. It is only relevant in studies that attempt to establish a causal relationship such as explanatory case studies. Indeed, descriptive research is used to describe characteristics of certain phenomena, and does not address questions about how/why/when the characteristics occurred—no causal relationship.

In the context of this paper, descriptive research involves the description, analysis, and interpretation of the present nature, composition, and processes of an eco-city district in Stockholm, Sweden, where the focus is on some prevailing conditions. That is, how this district behaves in terms of what has been realized and the ongoing implementation of plans based on the corresponding environmentally sustainable development strategies associated with sustainable energy systems and energy efficiency processes and their integration. To obtain a broad and detailed knowledge in this regard, we adopted an approach consisting of the following steps:

Using a narrative framework that focuses on the environmental dimension of the eco-city as a real–world problem and provides essential facts about it, including relevant background information

Introducing the reader to key concepts, models, strategies, and policies relevant to the problem under investigation.

Discussing issues, challenges, opportunities, and prospects

Explaining the actual solutions in terms of plans, the processes of implementing them, and the outcomes

Offering analysis, evaluation, and discussion of the chosen relevant strategies and solutions and their strengths, weaknesses, and lessons learned.

Unit of analysis and data collection and analytical methods

The entity that frames what is to be analyzed is the strategies and solutions of the eco–city for the environment. This is essential to focalizing, framing, and managing data collection and analysis. To identify the perceived link between the relevant eco-city dimensions and the environmental goals of sustainability, the common terms related to the eco-city model were searched for in the two cities’ comprehensive plans. The broad concepts represented by these terms linked to the environmental goals of sustainability were then mapped.

In addition, the district’s master plans, programs, policy documents, and project descriptions were identified and analyzed using a thematic analysis. This qualitative analytical technique is particularly (albeit not exclusively) associated with the analysis of textual material. Generally, it emphasizes identifying, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting themes, i.e., important patterns of meaning within qualitative data that can be used to address the problem under investigation. Braun and Clarke ( 2006 ) suggest that thematic analysis is flexible in terms of theoretical and research design given that it is not dependent on any particular theory or epistemology: multiple theories can be applied to this process across a variety of epistemologies Thematic analysis is an umbrella term for a variety of different approaches, which are divergent in regard to procedures. We adopted an inductive approach to thematic analysis, which allows the data to determine the set of themes that are to be identified. That is to say, we developed our own framework based on what we find as themes (inductive) by discovering patterns, themes, and concepts in the data.

Brief on the case study city and district

Stockholm is an important global city and one of the world’s cleanest capitals and metropolises due to the absence of heavy industry and fossil fuel power plants. Indeed, it has a long history of environmental work and was the first city to be granted the European Union’s Green Capital award by the European Commission in 2010 (European Green Capital 2009 ) because of its high environmental standards and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement. This pertains to climate change, air quality, waste management, wastewater treatment, environmental management, and so on. In particular, the city has a long–term commitment to sustainable development and environmental enhancement.

The City of Stockholm is at the forefront of ecological thinking. It has very strong environmental policies and is focused on improving the quality of life of its citizens (Lindström and Eriksson 1993 ). It argues that climate–adapted solutions will minimize energy use and waste (Stockholm City 2009b , c ), among others. In recent years, much of the environmental work within Stockholm has focused on developing new sustainable urban districts. One recent initiative is the Stockholm Royal Seaport (SRS) district, whose vision is to become a ‘world class environmental city district’ (City of Stockholm 2010 ). SRS is an area of 236 ha that is being transformed from a brownfield zone into a site of 12,000 homes, 35,000 workplaces, 600,000 m2 of commercial spaces, and parks and green spaces, with about 35,000 people to live and/or work in the area.

SRS is designated as an environmental profile area with the mandate to become a model of sustainable urban development (Stockholm City 2019 ). It is one of the key Climate Positive projects in the world that are considered as examples of successful environmental urban developments, demonstrating that cities can reduce carbon emissions and grow in climate friendly ways. The vision of SRS relates to the overall goal established by the City of Stockholm to be fossil fuel–free by 2050 (Stockholm City 2009a ). In this respect, SRS environmental profile should consolidate Stockholm’s position as a leading capital in climate work, support the marketing of Swedish environmental technology, and contribute to the development of new technology (Stockholm City 2009c ).

Literature review

Ecological urbanism and its relation to green urbanism.

Ecological urbanism and green urbanism are common terms that are similar or related to sustainable urbanism. It is argued that ecological urbanism draws from ecology to inspire an urbanism that is more sensitive to the environment and socially inclusive, predicated on the assumption that ecology is concerned with the relationships between all organisms and the environment. Ecological urbanism is also less ideologically driven, i.e., by ideas of a political or economic nature, than green urbanism whose principles are based on the triple–zero framework: zero fossil–fuel energy use, zero waste, and zero emissions. However, both models of urbanism are construed as focusing more on the natural environment and ecosystems and less on economic and social aspects (Mostafavi and Doherty 2010 ).

Ruano ( 1998 ) defines ecological urbanism as ‘the development of multi–dimensional sustainable human communities within harmonious and balanced built environments.’ Ecological urbanism focuses on developing urban environments based on the principles of ecological sustainability. If ecological urbanism as a holistic approach is to be successful, it needs to design and integrate complex systems and social processes together, and to reflect their synergy in ways that are dynamically interactive or cooperative to produce combined effects greater than the sum of their separate effects with respect to the benefits of sustainability as to its tripartite composition (Bibri 2019a ). It is of crucial importance for cities to become masters of a stable, equitable, and ecological urbanism (Brugmann 2009 ).

Ecological urbanism shares several concepts, ideas, and visions with green urbanism in terms of the role of the city and positive planning and development in shaping better places, communities, and lifestyles. Arguing for the need for new approaches to urbanism to incorporate more ecologically responsible forms of living, Beatley ( 2000 , pp. 6–8) views a city exemplifying green urbanism as one that:

strives to live within its ecological limits;

is designed to function in ways analogous to nature;

strives to achieve a circular rather than a linear metabolism;

strives toward local and regional self–sufficiency;

facilitates more sustainable lifestyles; and

emphasizes a high quality of neighborhood and community life.

A leading example of the models of ecological urbanism is Western Harbour district in Malmö, Sweden. This district is the the first climate–friendly district in Sweden, and a great deal of attention in this district has been given to the use of natural resources as well as recycled water, waste, and raw materials. Local energy production is integrated from the start throughout Western Harbor. The Bo01 area currently uses 100% locally produced energy supply from renewable sources, a concept based on local conditions for energy production (Malmö City 2006 ). It represents the first step in the process of transforming the 160 hectares of Western Harbor area into a sustainable urban district. When completed, the Western Harbor area will consist of a total of around 11,000 homes and 17,000 jobs, and over 20,000 people will be able to live in the area (Malmö City 2015 ).

The Eco-city Concept and its definitional issues

The idea of the eco–city is widely varied in conceptualization and operationalization. In other words, there are multiple definitions of the eco–city, depending on the context where it is embedded in the form of urban projects and initiatives in terms of the practices and strategies adopted to achieve its goals. Broadly, an eco–city is a human settlement which emphasizes the self–sustaining resilient structure and function of natural environment and ecosystems. It seeks to provide a healthy and livable human environment without consuming more renewable resources than it replaces. Roseland ( 1997a ) argues that there is no single accepted definition of the eco–city, but more a collection of ideas about concepts. Joss ( 2010 ) corroborates the conceptual diversity and plurality of the initiatives and projects using the term across the globe. The author argues that this makes it difficult to develop a meaningful definition, and ultimately questions the usefulness of attempting to capture a narrow form of definition. Alternatively, he defines the term using three analytical categories: an eco–city must be a development on a substantial scale, occurring across multiple domains, and supported by policy processes (Joss 2011 ). Jabareen ( 2006 , p. 47) describes the eco–city as an umbrella metaphor which ‘encompasses a wide range of urban–ecological proposals that aim to achieve urban sustainability. These approaches propose a wide range of environmental, social, and institutional policies that are directed to managing urban spaces to achieve sustainability.’ Joss ( 2011 ) succinctly describes it as a collective name for a city scale project that is environmental friendly. A recent study conducted by Rapoport ( 2014 ) traces the evolution of the eco-city as a concept and urban planning model over the last 30 years or so, outlining both the various definitions of the term as well as its applications and critiques.

A consistent theme in the literature on eco-cities is that there is no one agreed upon definition of the concept (Joss 2011 ; Keeton 2011 ; Roseland 1997a ). Worth pointing out is that most of the definitions of the eco–city tend to be associated with the wider socio–cultural context in which this model is embedded in the form of initiatives and projects and related objectives, requirements, resources, and capabilities. This though raises issues related to the analysis of what an eco–city is, which of the underlying design and strategies contributes more to its environmental dimension of sustainability, and the extent to which it considers all the three dimensions of sustainability. Regardless, each city should deal with its own planning and development in the sense of designing the eco-city, adopting its strategies, applying its solutions, and implementing its policies to improve the health of the city and the quality of life of its citizens. In addition, city authorities, scientific communities, and industry experts have no common agenda of action when it comes to urban developnent. As concluded by Rapoport and Vernay ( 2011 ), who have looked at several eco–city initiatives from across the world, there is no single solution for making urban living more sustainable, so in this sense, it is better to think of the eco–city as an objective that can be achieved in multiple ways.

Design and technology approaches to the eco-city

There are different models of the eco–city focusing either on passive solar design and greening or green and smart technology. Examples of models that emphasize passive solar design include: the Ecovillage, Solar Village (Van der 1991 ), Solar City (Joss 2011 ), Cohousing (Roelofs 1999 ), and sustainable Housing (Boonstra 2000 ). Examples of models that combine passive solar design and greening include: Eco–City (Roseland 1997a , b ; Engwicht 1992 ), Ecological City (OECD 1995 ), Environmental City, Green City, Sustainable City (Girardet 1999 ; Nijkamp and Perrels 1994 ; Gibbs et al. 1998 ), Sustainable Community (Nozick 1992 ; Paulson 1997 ), Sustainable Neighborhood (Rudin and Falk 1999 ), Sustainable Urban Living (Girardet 1992 ), Living Machines (Todd and Todd 1994 ), and Garden City (Zhou et al. 2012 ).

Examples of models that emphasize technology solutions for achieving the environmental objectives of sustainable development include: SymbioCity (Ranhagen and Groth 2012 ), Carbon Neutral City, Zero Energy City, Zero Carbon City, Eco–Municipality, Eco–Industrial Park (Joss 2011 ), Low Carbon City (Joss 2011 ; Zhou et al. 2012 ), Net Zero Carbon Community (McGregor et al. 2013 ), Eco2 City (Suzuki et al. 2010 ), Smart Eco–City (Bibri and Krogstie 2020a , Cowley 2016 ; Späth 2017 ), and Ubiquitous Eco–City (Yigitcanlar and Lee 2013 ).

In view of the above, what exactly constitutes the eco–city as an overarching approach to sustainable urbanism seems to be even unclear and thus difficult to pin down. Today an ever–increasing range of existing districts, cities, as well as new and planned urban initiatives and projects are labelled eco–cities (Rapoport and Vernay 2011 ). Eco–districts focus on community collaboration, integrated communication, and management to help cities to be more successful by working together. However, the way ecological urban initiatives and projects conceive of the eco–city status reflects more divergences than convergences (Bibri and Krogstie 2017b , 2019b ). In other words, the guiding planning documents in this regard tend to be largely developed as independent islands of locally ecological sustainability. Accordingly, it is more appropriate to think of the eco–city as an ambition that can be achieved through multiple ways.

Eco-city strategies and solutions

The key dimensions of the eco-city, which have been enacted in many cities across the world, include a variety of strategies and solutions for achieving the goals of sustainability (Bibri 2018a , 2019a , 2020 ; Bibri and Krogstie 2017b , 2020; Farr 2008 ; Jabareen 2006 ; Kenworthy 2006 , 2019 ; Lynn et al. 2003 ), especially in relation to its environmental dimension. Table 1 presents the key strategies and solutions of the eco-city as distilled based on a recent interdisciplinary case study conducted by Bibri ( 2020 ):

Research issues

The eco–city has been criticized as an idea that is loosely defined from a set of ostentatiously attractive projects as expensive schemes with aesthetic and commercial ends intended to satisfy a local or regional ambition to invest in ecological sustainability without posing a more theoretically focused and globally applicable approach. Moreover, Cugurullo ( 2016 ) questions the sustainability of the so–called eco–city by investigating the extent to which it is developed in a controlled and systematic manner as its developers claim. More specifically, the author counterclaims mainstream understandings of ecological urbanism, arguing that what are promoted as cohesive settlements shaped by a homogeneous vision of the sustainable city, are actually fragmented cities made of disconnected and often incongruous pieces of urban fabric. In reference to eco–cites, Holmstedt et al. ( 2017 ) point out that implementing sustainable solutions is more difficult because no unified practical definition is still accepted even if the subject of sustainability has been hotly debated more than three decades, and most projects act dishonesty in order to gain an advantage by not defining what is meant by sustainability and not meeting all requirements. Furthermore, in urban planning and policy making, the concept of the eco–city ‘has tended to focus mainly on infrastructures for urban metabolism—sewage, water, energy, and waste management within the city’ (Höjer and Wangel 2015 , p. 3), thereby falling short in considering smart solutions in relation to urban processes and practices (e.g., Bibri 2019a , 2020 ; Bibri and Krogstie 2017b ; Kramers et al. 2014 ,  2016 ).

Furthermore, scholars have often critically discussed to what extent the eco–city produces the expected environmental, economic, and social benefits of sustainability. Ideally, for sustainability to be achieved, its environmental, economic, and social dimensions need to be in balance. Whether this is actually the case in the eco–city initiatives or projects varies from one eco-city to another. In conducting a discursive study on six eco–city projects to uncover the diversity underneath the various uses of the term eco–city and to determine the extent of divergence in the way these projects conceive of what an eco–city should be, Rapoport and Vernay ( 2011 ) address several categories of discourse, including type of sustainability . Table  2 presents a summary of their analysis of the sets of documents associated with the six projects, and lists the frequency of the statements found accordingly that reflect this category of discourse.

What can be concluded from this tabulated summary is in fact consistent with the literature on ecological urbanism (e.g., Mostafavi and Doherty 2010 ; Holmstedt et al. 2017 ; Pandis and Brandt 2011 ) that the discourse of environmental sustainability clearly dominates over that of economic sustainability and social sustainability (indicated by the relevant numbers highlighted in bold in Table  2 ). That is, the environmental dimension of sustainability is at the core of the eco–city by its focus on the natural environment and ecosystems. Indeed, the eco-city brings the concern for these two foci to the forefront of urbanism processes and practices.

The contours of a goal hierarchy is evident in eco–city planning and development. Bibri and Krogstie ( 2020a , b ) conclude that the environmental and some economic concerns of sustainability are at the top of the goal hierarchy supporting the eco–city district strategies, notwithstanding the claim about the three dimensions of sustainability being equally important at the discursive level. This is a shortcoming when it comes to sustainability because the social and economic aspects are highly important in the context of sustainable cities. Nonetheless, while the environmental concerns of sustainability remain a key driver of the contemporary eco–city projects, they are also mobilized in the pursuit of politico–economic ends (Bibri 2015 ). Moreover, the plans and publicity materials of such projects, notably those promoted in Asia and the Middle East as ambitious, technologically-driven projects led by the public and private sector actors contain bold claims, attractive designs, ambitious targets, and innovative technologies to advertise their ‘eco-ness’ (Rapoport 2014 ).

Data-driven smart technology solutions: opportunities and prospects

Generally, a recent research wave has started to focus on advancing sustainable urbanism processes and practices by amalgamating the landscapes of and the approaches to sustainable cities and smart cities in a variety of ways in the hopes of reaching the optimal level of sustainability, particularly with regard to its environmental dimension. Indeed, it has been argued that ecological urbanism needs to extend its boundaries and broaden its horizons beyond the ambit of green technology and ecological design to include technological innovation opportunities and computational analytics capabilities by unlocking and exploiting the significant potential of big data technology.

Furthermore, smart eco-cities are increasingly becoming more complex with the very technologies being used to deal with their urban infrastructure as to its operational functioning and management. Hence, it is necessary to develop and apply more innovative solutions and sophisticated approaches to monitor, analyze, and plan eco-city systems. Eco-cities can only be smart if there are intelligence functions that are able to integrate and synthesize urban data to improve environmental sustainability through data-driven decisions. Especially, building models of eco-cities functioning in real time from routinely sensed data is becoming a clear prospect, and ubiquitous sensing is getting closer to providing quite useful information about longer term changes (Bibri 2020 ). These opportunities are part of the ongoing debate on integrating eco-cities and smart cities. This in turn relates to the current issue of sustainable cities and smart cities being extremely fragmented as landscapes and weakly connected as approaches (e.g., Angelidou et al. 2017 ; Bibri and Krogstie 2019a , b ; Kramers et al. 2014 ), despite the proven role of advanced ICT and the untapped potential of the IoT and big data technologies for advancing environmental sustainability (see Bibri 2019b ). Moreover, such technologies are often used in smart cities without making any contribution to environmental sustainability, while the strategies of sustainable cities fall short in considering data-driven smart solutions (Bibri and Krogstie 2017a , b ).

It is estimated that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020 (Perera et al. 2014 ). Already, the number of objects connected to the Internet (e.g., computers, smartphones, WiFi-enabled sensors, wearable devices, household appliances, and many more) has, according to the Cisco report, exceeded the number of human beings in the world (Ahmed et al. 2017 ). The continuously increasing number of networked devices deployed across urban environments will in turn result in the explosive growth in the amount of the data generated. Consequently, sustainable cities are becoming highly responsive to a form of data–driven urbanism. Besides, we are moving into an era where instrumentation, datafication, and computation are routinely pervading the very fabric of modern cities, coupled with the integration and coordination of their systems and domains. As a result, vast troves of data are generated, analyzed, harnessed, and exploited to control, manage, and regulate urban life.

Sustainable energy systems

With its vision to become a world–class environmental city district, SRS has set three ambitious environmental goals, namely (Stockholm City 2019 ):

To reduce CO2 emissions from 4.5 t in 2008 to a level below 1.5 t per inhabitant by 2020.

To be fossil fuel–free and climate + by 2030.

To be adapted to a changed climate, i.e., increasing precipitation.

One of the key strategies of the environmental sustainability program for SRS to achieve the above goals is ‘resource efficiency and climate responsibility.’ The focus of this strategy is for the City of Stockholm ( 2020 ) to develop SRS as a district that strives for a fossil-fuel-free, low-resource, and non-toxic future. Resource flows are designed to be circular, and to minimize environmental and climate impacts. The City of Stockholm argues that for the built environment to be robust over time, it is required that natural resources must be used efficiently and that buildings are designed with high quality (Bibri and Krogstie 2020a ).

All new buildings in SRS are being built as low-energy buildings to reduce the energy use. They are provided with a well-insulated building envelope and energy efficient installations, and the roofs are used to generate solar electricity and solar heating, which increases the production of renewable energy (Stockholm City 2020 ). In this respect, the Municipality of Stockholm set these energy requirements on urban developers: 55 kWh per m2 x year and 30% locally produced electricity by renewables. These energy standards are on the focus due to the awareness that greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in Stockholm mostly come from heating (42%) and electricity (20%). The energy requirements are associated with the energy goals set by SRS as shown in Table  3 .

Renewable energy generation is strongly advocated in order for SRS to become fossil fuel–free by 2030. Therefore, the future energy system in SRS is planned to be based on renewable sources in order for this district to fulfill the ambition of becoming environmentally sustainable (Stockholm City 2010 ).

Furthermore, Stockholm has a strong tradition of using district heating as a well–developed, efficient system for the distribution of heating, cooling, and hot water to buildings (Werner 1989 ). It focuses on low carbon development most notably through widespread district heating and cooling systems (OECD 2013 ). The environmental sustainability program for SRS states that the energy system must primarily be based on the Bio–fueled CHP system (Stockholm City 2010 ), which entails local production of electricity by renewables as well as smart waste collecting system. Incineration of household waste is one of the main energy sources for district heating (Fortum 2013 ). Figure  1 illustrates CHP integrated pyrolysis process in SRS.

figure 1

CHP integrated pyrolysis process in SRS

Therefore, it is important for SRS to have a waste management system that enables handling waste in an accessible, safe, and environmentally sustainable manner. There are a number of actions in the following areas that are being given priority for the environmental goals for waste management to be achieved in SRS.

Standardize the planning of waste sorting facilities in conjunction with housing and commercial properties.

Implement the regulations and use the instruments decided on, and monitor progress to ensure they achieve the desired outcomes

Distribute evenly large waste sorting stations throughout the district, and connect them to the city’s waste infrastructure.

Improve knowledge about pollutants—emissions of hazardous substances from waste—and their long-term risks and effects, and act accordingly.

Make it easy for households to sort their waste at source in the right way.

High degree of waste separation in that the household waste fraction should contain food residues and plastics.

Divide and maintain responsibility between waste producers and authorities, as well as further develop cooperation between them and monitor it together with service levels.

Handle the integration of wastewater and sewage fractions as important resources in the sustainable energy system.

According to the sustainability report for SRS (Stockholm City 2019 ), the results achieved in 2017 show that 100% of the properties are connected to a vacuum waste collection system and 100% of the kitchens have a waste disposal unit. SRS has high environmental sustainability ambitions, supported by the implementation of advanced technical solutions that can help to fulfill the vision. This must, however, be reinforced by the behavioral change of the local residents through their engagement as part of environmental stewardship. Indeed, the residents are the actual forefront users of new technologies. As stated by Bibri ( 2020 ), ‘It is up to the residents in SRS to … adopt sustainable habits and lifestyles. Especially, they have no regulations to adhere to in this regard. Therefore, it is up to the their goodwill and interests and the extent to which they want to live up to the vision of their district.’ In this regard, SRS needs to better tap into its potential for building community engagement to better encourage sustainable lifestyles among its residents.

Regardless, the energy requirements for the buildings in SRS are set high, and will thus decrease the demand for heating in the area (Stockholm City 2010 ). In this case, it is of importance to develop a flexible system in such a way that it can be adapted for use with other sources of energy as well as integrated with multiple systems. Hence, the utility provider Fortum is currently in the process of building a new bio–fueled CHP plant at its facility in Värtan, which is located in the SRS district (Fortum 2012 ). This plant will contribute to a further reduction in Stockholm’s CO2 emissions by generating 10% of its electricity needs and 25% of its district heating needs (Stockholm City 2009c ). And since it will distribute district heating to southern and central parts of Stockholm, in addition to SRS, it will contribute to reaching the ambitious emission reduction targets set by the City of Stockholm.

As acknowledged in the environmental sustainability program for SRS, every part of the district that is affected by the energy system, e.g., buildings and infrastructure, must be highly effective, and the goal is that SRS will become a climate–positive district (Stockholm City 2010 ). According to the sustainability report for SRS (Stockholm City ( 2019 , cited in Bibri and Krogstie 2020a ), the results achieved in 2017 show that the energy consumption was reduced by 40% in total—energy performance lower than national legislation, and actual PVs production is 1 GWh/year. Requirements on energy and waste as smart sustainable solutions implemented by SRS are reducing GHG emissions by about 60% (The Nordics 2017 ). However, developing an energy system that is not dependent on fossil fuels involves delicate challenges and developing such system for SRS as a single district can pose even greater ones (Bibri and Krogstie 2020a ).

Data-driven smart solutions for energy management and GHG emissions reduction

Stockholm is the leading Nordic smart sustainable city (Akande et al. 2019 ). In relevance to this study, the City of Stockholm ( 2017 ) sets these targets: to use digitalization and new technologies to make it easier for residents and businesses to be environmentally friendly, and to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint.

According to the City of Stockholm, an IoT–based infrastructure is highly important for, and the backbone for building, smart sustainable cities nowadays (Bibri and Krogstie 2020a ). As Johansson Claes, a project leader, states, ‘the reason we are establishing this is because we have a lot of challenges. We know that using the smart technologies can help us to be a better city, for the people that live there, work there and even the people that are visiting us.’ He also states that the environmental department in the city is being active with smart technologies. The smart eco-city district of SRS starts with a common vision in smart planning and design on the basis of the IoT technology (The Nordics 2017 ). Some smart solutions include (Bibri and Krgostie 2020a ):

BigBelly: Waste bins using solar power and packing the trash automatically when needed, notifying when they need emptying.

Smart lighting: Sensor-controlled Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting for pedestrian and bicycle paths, self-controlled-LED street lights with preset lighting schedules, and remote-controlled lights.

Green IT for reducing environmental impacts: energy-efficient buildings (monitoring and optimization), and digital meetings and mobile workings.

The small–scale tests performed within the different areas of the city to see if smart technologies work have been converted into pilot projects within such domains as smart traffic, smart lighting, air pollution, and the environment (Johannesson 2018 ). Here the IoT infrastructure is being used to establish and share data from different projects, and the role of private companies should lie in establishing new services out of these data (Bibri and Krogstie 2020a ). However, the strategic implementation of ICT was brought in by the environmental program for the City of Stockholm, which involved requirements that SRS should be smart in this direction. Therefore, the environmental targets set by SRS are being supported by the implementation of smart technologies. Among the smart sustainable solutions implemented by SRS are the establishment of digitalized monitoring and feedback processes and triple and quadruple helix R&D projects (e.g., the IoT, visualization, circular economy (The Nordics 2017 ). The use of ICT within SRS pertains mainly to the role of technology in reaching environmental targets as part of the digital city plan for the district.

The database systems for collecting the environmental data were secured and being used in SRS to give feedback and inform inhabitants (Bibri 2020 ). The City administration established a platform that can collect the environmental data given the importance of orchestrating a plethora of various systems. In SRS, ICT solutions are used to visualize and communicate energy use pertaining to households/buildings and smart sustainable system solutions. In this context, a new framework for Smart Urban Metabolism (SUM) has been implemented in SRS as part of a R&D project (Shahrokni et al. 2015a ). In this framework, four key performance indicators (KPIs) are generated in real time based on the integration of heterogeneous, real–time data sources, namely

kilowatt–hours per square meter,

carbon dioxide equivalents per capita

kilowatt–hours of primary energy per capita, and

share of renewables percentage.

These KPIs are fed back on three levels (household, building, and district) on four interfaces, developed for different audiences. The long–term opportunities of SUM include enabling a new understanding of the causalities that govern urbanism and allowing citizens and city officials to receive feedback on the system consequences of their choices. The SUM model works at high temporal (up to real–time) and spatial (down to house–hold/individual) resolutions. In other words, it can, through integrating ICT and smart urban technologies, provide real–time feedback on energy and material flows, from the level of the household to that of the urban district as applied to SRS (Shahrokni et al. 2015b ) as shown in Fig. 2 .

figure 2

a Visualization of a household carbon metabolism, b visualization of a building carbon metabolism, and c visualization of the district’s carbon metabolism, all at a given time through the use of Sankey diagrams. Source: Shahrokni et al. ( 2015b )

According to Shahrokni et al. ( 2015b ), the prototype developed for the SRS employs a hybrid approach to the implementation of the SUM concept, with the real-time calculation engine being able to process production and consumption data (see Fig. 3 ). The current focus of the SRS prototype is to understand the GHG emissions resulting from the consumption of electricity, heat, water, and the production of waste in the SRS. As additionally illustrated in Fig.  3 , the implementation of the SUM concept entails three phases: (1) obtaining data, (2) development of a calculation engine and data processing, and (3) development of feedback tailored to individual stakeholder requirements.

figure 3

Data flows for energy and materials in the SRS model. Source: Shahrokni et al. ( 2015b )

However, the most challenging barrier identified in relation to SUM is accessing and integrating siloed data from the different data owners, which is hard to overcome unless a significant value is perceived. Also, applying this framework at the city level has been limited by the lack of data at this scale (Shahrokni et al. 2015b ). This is actually one of the common challenges pertaining to the implementation of big data analytics and its novel applications in the context of smart sustainable cities (Bibri 2019a ; Bibri and Krogstie 2018 ).

In addition, SRS has implemented a large–scale smart grid system (see Fig.  4 ). Smart grid is an electrical grid which includes a variety of operation and energy measures, including smart meters, smart appliances, energy efficient resources, as well as renewable energy resources. As such, it is cost-effective, secure, and sustainable. It integrates and coordinates renewable energy production, consumption, and facilities through enabling technologies, energy services, and active users.

figure 4

Smart grid system in SRS

Among the data-driven smart applications pertaining to the smart grid system are:

Supporting decision–making pertaining to the generation and supply of power in line with the actual demand of citizens and other consumers to optimize energy efficiency and thus achieve energy savings.

Optimizing power distribution networks associated with energy demand and supply.

Monitoring and analyzing energy consumption and GHG emissions levels in real time across several spatial scales and over different temporal scales, as well as enhancing the performance and effectiveness of the power system.

Managing distribution automation devices to improve the efficiency, reliability, and sustainability of power production and distribution.

Avoiding potential power outages resulting from high demand on energy using dynamic pricing models for power usage by increasing charges during peak times to smooth out peaks and applying lower charges during normal times.

Avoiding the expensive and carbon–intensive peaks in power grid using new ways of coordination with regard to the overall ensemble of users and consumers.

Enabling power distribution based on a neighborhood model instead of a broadcasting model.

Improving coordination and planning around power generation from renewable energy plants, as good estimations of power generation from wind, solar panels, and photovoltaic plants can be made in advance.

SRS also uses a number of data-driven smart applications for energy management (see Fig.  5 ), which allow:

figure 5

Smart energy management in SRS

Citizens to have access to live energy prices and adjust their use accordingly;

The use of pricing plans in accordance with energy demand and supply models;

Consumers to manage their usage based on what they actually need and afford;

Self–optimizing and –controlling energy consumption through integrating sensing and actuation systems in relation to different kinds of appliances and devices for balancing power generation and usage;

Users to remotely control their home appliances and devices based on the IoT, and providing them with advanced functions like scheduling, programming, and reacting to different contextual situations;

Users and consumers to precisely estimate rooftop solar electric potential (PV panels) for almost every building by a simple click or by inputting an address using an interactive online rooftop solar mapping tool; and

Energy systems to gather and act on near real–time data on power demand, generation, and consumption from end–user connections (information about producers and consumers’ behavior).

One of the strengths of the SRS project in terms of the environment that gives it an advantage over other urban development projects lies in cutting–edge green–tech innovations. SRS aims to take the lead in realizing the latest innovations within green and smart technologies. It affords particularly great opportunities for climate–adapted and future–oriented development, from pioneering energy–efficient technical solutions in building and infrastructure to the development of smart electricity networks that enable local production and distribution of electricity (Stockholm City 2009c ). The innovation center in SRS will feature the latest developments in environmental technologies and show how related solutions are being tested and applied (Stockholm City 2010 ). The formal organization in the SRS project works in parallel with the SRS Innovation Arena, which involves industry experts, businesses, and citizens, to build up practical knowledge (Kramers et al. 2016 ).

However, as with all emerging advanced ICT-enabled solutions, there are several challenges that need to be addressed and overcome in terms of urban planning, design, and development. These challenges in the context of SRS involve the following:

Sustainable long–term management of the district

Long–term monitoring of its metabolism

Silo–thinking within the district administrations

Transition from pilot to large–scale implementations

In addition, long-term commitment of the Municipality of Stockholm is uncertain when political constellations change (red-green coalition versus blue coalition), despite the promising outcome of the inclusion of advanced ICT in the central governance of the City of Stockholm. Kramers et al. ( 2016 ) provide some general lessons learned as to what worked well and what did not in terms of using ICT in the planning phase of SRS as part of city governance.

The findings showed that the Eco-city District of SRS uses green energy technologies and smart data-driven technologies as the key strategies and solutions for achieving the environmental objectives of sustainable development in terms of lowering energy consumption and mitigating pollution. This entails conserving and decreasing the demand for energy through renewable resources—sun, wind, and water, bio–fuelled CHP system, large-scale smart grid system, energy management, sustainable waste management, and passive solar houses. Separated or combined, these outcomes are consistent with the findings of other studies (e.g., Austin 2013 ; Bibri and Krogstie 2020a ; Holmstedt et al. 2017 ; Pandis and Brandt 2011 ; Rapoport and Vernay 2011 ; Register 2006 ). Several real-world emerging data-driven smart cities strongly support smarter heating, electricity, and waste that use resources efficiently and do more with less investments (see Nikitin et al. 2016 for a comprehensive survey). Moreover, sustainable energy systems are being applied as smart solutions in such cities in terms of using renewable resources to support their power grid, such as solar panels distributed throughout the city. For example, Barcelona has required the use of solar water heaters by households since 2006 as well as new large buildings to produce their own domestic hot water since 2000 (Bibri 2020 ; Bibri and Krogstie 2020b ).

The energy sector produces the largest share of the world’s emissions of GHG. Therefore, when the energy system is based completely on renewable resources and supported by data-driven smart solutions, coupled with passive and low-energy buildings, sustainable and smart waste management, the reduction of emissions can be very significant. These strategies will make it possible for the SRS district to become climate positive. They will also pave the way for phasing in renewable energy sources and phasing out fossil fuels and potentially support the entire geographical area of the City of Stockholm with renewable energy. In regard to passive solar design, many studies have demonstrated and discussed its environmental benefits (e.g., Gordon 2005 ; Jabareen 2006 ; Owens 1992 ; Thomas 2003 ; Yeang 1997 ) related to building heat gains and losses, warming and cooling pressures, heat storage and discharge, emissivity, air and noise pollution reduction, and so forth.

Furthermore, it is important to highlight the role of advanced ICT in SRS in fulfilling its environmental ambition through energy savings by means of the optimization of energy systems and the improvement of energy services. This is consistent with the findings and conclusions from many studies (e.g., Angelidou et al. 2017 ; Batty et al. 2012 ; Bibri 2018a , b , 2019a , b, 2020 ; Höjer and Wangel 2015 ; Kramers et al. 2014 ; Townsend 2013 ). In the context of smart eco-cities, ICT innovation is mostly associated with integrated renewable solutions. These involve the use of analytical, management, modelling, and simulation techniques to enable a wide deployment of renewable energy across districts or cities (Bibri 2018a ). Here advanced ICT is embedded in sustainable systems (energy, waste, etc.) in the form of sensor devices and computational processes that monitor, analyze, and plan urban energy to mitigate environmental impacts. In this respect, the IoT and big data are the most applied technologies in developing and implementing efficient processes to enhance and optimize sustainable energy systems. Such technologies use fewer natural resources, optimize energy efficiency, and help reduce pollution or risks to public health and safety. They moreover enable beneficial ‘secondary’ effects by optimizing energy usage and improving waste management.

The main argument in the ongoing debate over eco-cities is that urban infrastructure (especially power supply system and waste management system) are in themselves complex in terms of operational functioning, management, and planning. Therefore, it has become of crucial importance to develop and apply innovative solutions in this regard for tackling the challenges of environmental sustainability as wicked problems. This requires, among other things, a blend of sciences for creating powerful technology design principles and analytical engineering approaches, with the aim of increasing energy production and decreasing energy consumption. There are numerous applied solutions being implemented in many emerging data-driven smart cities across the globe, which is justified by the high significance of natural resources in urban planning and development strategies. For example, as stated in the Smart London Plan, the City of London ( 2018 ) plans to:

Promote the use of smart grid technologies to better manage demand and supply of energy.

Stimulate the use of data and technology to bring efficiencies and scale to the separation and utilization of waste as a resource.

Investigate longer term infrastructure needs up to 2050—and using data and digital technology to meet those needs.

Worth noting is that London is ranked as one of the leading data-driven smart city in Europe (Bibri 2020 , Nikitin et al. 2016 ). In the early 2010s, it invested heavily in infrastructure, including an extensive IoT sensor network collecting data about energy and environment. Currently, it is using data and technology to build a sustainable city—data-driven sustainable smart city. Hence, there are many lessons for the City of Stockholm to learn from London so that it can improve its technological performance with respect to the application of data-driven smart solutions in the area of environmental sustainability.

In addition, advanced ICT is well placed to do a lot as to enhancing and optimizing energy systems and processes because its application to complex systems is founded on the integration of computer science, data science, urban science, complexity science (Batty et al. 2012 ; Bibri 2020 ; Bettencourt 2014 ; Kitchin 2014 , 2016 ), data–intensive science, and sustainability science (Bibri 2019d , e ). The ultimate aim is to find more effective approaches based on the IoT and big data technologies to improve, advance, and maintain the contribution of the eco-city to the goals of environmental sustainability. However, the rising demand for such technologies, coupled with the growing recognition of their potential to transform the way sustainable cities can be planned and designed and thus operate and function, comes with major challenges pertaining to the design, engineering, development, implementation, and maintenance of data–driven smart applications. These challenges are mostly computational, analytical, and technical in nature, and sometimes logistic in terms of the detailed organization and deployment of complex technical operations, adding to the financial, organizational, institutional, regulatory, and ethical ones as pertaining to the application, retention, and dissemination of big data (Bibri 2019c ). Regardless, as pointed out by Cowley ( 2016 ), the smart ecological ideals have succeeded in enabling action around the world, and have recently become normalized as widely accepted consensus concepts and ideas. The author concludes by recognizing that the utopian rhetoric mobilized in the promotion of the smart–eco city may provide sensible grounds for useful critical evaluations, but also proposes some ways in which it might be understood as a positive attribute. In general, as argued by Rapoport ( 2014 ), while the ability of eco-cities to achieve their utopian ambitions may be limited by the realities of being of a profit-driven, entrepreneurial nature, they can still help drive broader socio-technical transitions, and also play a valuable role in regard to providing a place to test innovative ideas and an ideal to aspire to. Besides, Bibri ( 2019f ) concludes that data–driven smart sustainable urbanism is shaped by socio–cultural and politico–institutional structures, and will prevail for many years yet to come given the underlying transformational power of big data science and analytics, coupled with its legitimation capacity associated with the scientific discourse as the ultimate form of rational thought and the basis for legitimacy in knowledge–making and policy–making.


The eco–city has long been one of the key preferred responses to the challenges of environmentally sustainable development, especially through its energy and climate strategies. The Eco-district of SRS is seen as exemplary practical initiative in environmental sustainability at national, supranational, and international scales. This study has been carried out as a demonstration endeavor of what SRS is renowned for in regard to its environmental profile.

The aim of this study was to examine how the eco–city especially its core environmental dimension is practiced and justified in urban planning and development with respect to sustainable energy systems and their integration with data-driven smart technologies at the district level. This study shows that the Eco-city District of SRS uses green energy and smart data-driven technologies as the key strategies and solutions for achieving the environmental objectives of sustainable development in terms of lowering energy consumption and mitigating pollution. This entails conserving and decreasing the demand for energy through renewable resources (sun, wind, and water), bio–fuelled CHP system, large-scale smart grid system, energy management, sustainable waste management, and passive solar houses. Production focused solutions incorporate green technologies to generate renewable energy, and consumption focused solutions use smart technologies and passive solar design to optimize and slash energy demand.

There is much enthusiasm currently about the opportunities created by the data deluge and its new and more extensive sources in the domain of ecological urbanism, particularly in relation to energy systems given their key role in mitigating the negative impacts on the environment. The availability of data from energy production and consumption is offering the opportunity for continuously providing an integrated view of the environmental effects of the way energy systems are functioning in real time. The real-time data collection and analytics on the energy flows can be used to follow up on the environmental goals of sustainability by optimizing energy use as related to utilities and building owners, as well as by mitigating the environmental impacts of energy consumption as related to households thanks to user-generated automated data collection, real-time analytics, and tailored feedback. The prospect of the real–time data collection and analysis at any instant will provide the opportunity for aggregating such data to deal with urban changes at any scale and over any time period. Datasets show the real-time functioning of energy systems and provide deep insights into how long term changes can be detected and hence dealt with. Short–termism in energy planning is about measuring, evaluating, modelling, and simulating what takes place over hours, days, or weeks instead of months or years. In this respect, big data can be used to derive new theories of how energy systems function in ways that focus on much shorter term issues than hitherto. Continuous energy planning as data constantly flood from energy systems and are updated in real time allows for a dynamic conception of such planning in response to processual outcomes of urbanization as regards building and living processes and consumption and production levels.

We hope that the case study has produced the kind of results which will be useful in directing further research by providing the grounding for more in–depth investigation on the eco-city at the district level, especially in relation to energy planning and management. We would particularly like to encourage qualitative research of the kind that we have attempted, which try to illuminate the environmental dimension of the eco–city and the assumptions behind related energy initiatives. And hence the claims that this model can make urban living more environmentally sustainable. The rationale for this is that as the demand for practical ideas, especially those related to integrated renewable solutions, from the ecologically advanced nations about how to achieve the requirements of environmental sustainability through ecological urbanism increases, those initiatives are likely to attract attention from strategic urban actors around the world. Further research should focus on providing the knowledge that these actors will need to make informed decisions about how to achieve the environmental objectives of the eco–city in their own context with regard to the integration of green and data-driven smart energy technologies. Lastly, we believe that the insights gained form this study can help advance the understanding of how the eco–city phenomenon is evolving and adapting to emerging technologies associated with sustainable energy systems.

Availability of data and materials

Not applicable.


Combined Heat Power

Greenhouse Gases

Information and Communication Technology

Internet of Things

Key Performance Indicators

Light Emitting Diode

Stockholm Royal Seaport

Smart Urban Metabolism

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case study on environmental planning

BUS602: Marketing Management

case study on environmental planning

Case Study on Environmental Scanning

This case study shows how environmental scanning is applied to Egyptian wheat crop production. Note the use of different techniques to deal with the uncertainty of the various environmental factors in producing and marketing wheat crops.

1. Introduction

Long-term strategic analysis (LTSA) is an important decision making process that helps policy/decision makers to develop an effective and efficient long-term strategic view. Thus, LTSA is crucial to help for decision-making under conditions of high uncertainty and complexity. Environmental scanning plays a fundamental role in long-term strategic planning. In addition, it is used to identify all drivers by discovering the current internal strength and weakness, external drivers, and future external opportunities and threats of a specific domain. 

A PESTEL analysis is a widely used environmental analysis tool. PESTEL stands for Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological, Legal, and Ethical issues. Its analysis examines the impact of each of these factors on a specific domain. In addition, SWOT analysis is an important strategic planning tool used to evaluate the internal Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and External Threats involved in a specific domain. A SWOT analysis cooperates with the results of the PESTEL analysis. 

For knowledge elicitation process from the domain experts, Real-Time (RT-Delphi) Delphi technique is widely-used as a structured and controlled debate. In RT-Delphi, all opinions are made anonymous and the domain experts move toward consensus. It has the following 5 advantages (in comparison to traditional Delphi): Round-less approach then significantly saves time and cost, experts have instantaneous access to the website, flexibility in the number of participants and it can be easily applied to problems formulated in a matrix design. 

The process of knowledge acquisition requires an agreement on the concepts and their attributes of a specific domain. Ontology describes domain concepts and their attributes and all relationships that hold between these concepts. It is crucial in order to harmonize the meaning of concepts and provide richer relationships between them. This paves the way towards the knowledge acquisition process by minimizing the chances of misunderstandings when debating a certain concept or a problem. It provides for reducing the contradiction of the experts' judgments by defining a common language between domain experts and avoiding misunderstandings when talking about specific topics. The explanation facilities for the knowledge-based model indeed influence policy/decision maker confidence in accepting the consensus results. 

Moreover, MICMAC (Impact Matrix Cross-Reference Multiplication Applied to a Classification) represents a structural analysis based on comparing the hierarchy of issues in the different classifications (direct, indirect, and potential), which is a rich source of information to determine the major wildcards of a specific domain. Finally, most classical environmental scanning models in literature provide only the short and medium term. 

The paper structure is organized as follows: in Section 2, we discuss the problem addressed. Then in Section 3, our proposed solution is explained in detail, including the inputs, output, and the approach itself. Also, in Section 4, we give a case study. Finally in Section 6, we conclude and suggest possible future work. 

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Case study in environment planning

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Let's see how a retailer learned from its mistakes and improved its environment planning with the help of the Microsoft FastTrack team.

The challenge

A multinational retailer wanted to implement Dynamics 365 Finance, Supply Chain Management, and Commerce in several phases over eight months. It set up an implementation project with the basic environments, services, and capacities that came with its subscription license. These included the production and sandbox environments and hosted build automation services.

However, the retailer's management team didn't realize that these resources were only enough to run the solution after it was deployed. They didn't have enough environments to do all the implementation activities they needed for their moderately complex rollout.

The solution

The retailer engaged the FastTrack team early in the implementation process. The FastTrack team reviewed the retailer's solution blueprint and discussed the deployment plans and risks with the retailer and its partner. They realized that the retailer's environment strategy was inadequate and suggested a deep-dive workshop on environment planning.

In the workshop, the FastTrack team explained that environment planning isn't a one-time task. It's an ongoing activity that requires close collaboration between key stakeholders. The team needs to plan the environments according to the project schedule and the purpose of each environment. They also need to review the environment plan regularly and adjust it as needed.

The retailer's project team created an environment plan that documented the different environments, their purpose, the project phase they were needed for, and how long they would be needed. They also identified key activities that might affect the environment plan, such as data migration, code deployment, and user acceptance testing. To make sure their environment plan stayed up to date, they scheduled regular reviews and updates as part of the project plan. This simple but important exercise helped the team feel confident that they understood and accounted for all the implementation requirements, and that they were ready to get the needed environments on time to meet all the milestones.

The development team also configured DevOps for multiple release branches, with a separate pipeline of sandboxes to support each go-live phase and ongoing maintenance.

The outcome

The retailer successfully implemented and rolled out the finance and operations apps across multiple countries and regions. It learned that timely environment planning was a critical factor in its success.

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Development of hydrological based physical model for nutrients transport simulation: case study of Makkah city, Saudi Arabia

  • Original Paper
  • Published: 26 May 2024

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case study on environmental planning

  • A. M. Al-Areeq   ORCID: 1 , 2 ,
  • M. A. Al-Zahrani 2 ,
  • S. Chowdhury 2 , 3 &
  • H. O. Sharif 4  

Urban flooding poses significant risks to water quality and public health due to inadequate drainage systems, leading to the dispersion of harmful pollutants in the neighborhoods. This study investigates the transport of nutrients during the flood events in Makkah (Saudi Arabia), underlining the city’s vulnerability to such environmental challenges as a pressing concern. The research aims to quantify the impact of non-point source (NPS) pollutant loads resulting from urban floods, emphasizing the need for improved flood control and pollution mitigation strategies. Employing the Gridded Surface/Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis (GSSHA) model, this research simulates the transport and fate of nutrients for variable percentages of manhole overflow (5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%), addressing the challenge of direct measurement and data scarcity in urban environments. This approach allows for the examination of NPS pollution from sewer systems, considering the mixing of contaminants with floodwaters on urban surfaces. To analyze the effects of rainfall intensity on the temporal and spatial distribution of nutrients, the methodology includes the simulation of storm events with 2- and 10-year return periods. This study facilitates the prediction of contaminants’ dispersion, accumulation sites, and potential impacts on groundwater quality, highlighting the model’s utility in urban flood risk management. The findings indicate that while nutrient concentrations from storms with less than a 10-year return period remain within acceptable limits, the infiltration and subsequent potential for groundwater contamination during more severe events pose significant environmental risks. The study reveals critical insights into the dynamics of contaminant distribution and accumulation, especially during the less frequent but more intense flood events. In essence, this paper highlights how the GSSHA model can simulate the intricate relationships between urban drainage systems and floodwaters, providing a strong framework for evaluating the risks of pollution caused by flooding when specific data is lacking. The study presents an innovative approach to managing urban water quality, which aids in the development of efficient flood response plans and pollution control measures. By highlighting the importance of integrating hydrological models in urban planning, the study provides valuable information for enhancing resilience against flood-related public health and environmental hazards.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the support provided by King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) to complete this study.

No funding was received for conducting this study.

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Interdisciplinary Research Center for Membranes and, Water Security (IRC-MWS), King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran, 31261, Saudi Arabia

A. M. Al-Areeq

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

A. M. Al-Areeq, M. A. Al-Zahrani & S. Chowdhury

Interdisciplinary Research Center for Construction and Building Materials (IRC-CBM), King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran, Dhahran, 31261, Saudi Arabia

S. Chowdhury

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, 78249, USA

H. O. Sharif

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Ahmed Al-Areeq: Conceptualization, Methodology, Designed the remote sensing portion, Modeling, Writing—Original draft preparation. Muhammad Al-Zahrani: Supervision, Conceptualization, Modeling, Reviewing, and Editing. Shakhawat Chowdhury: Reviewing and Editing. Hatim Sharif :  Reviewing and Editing.

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Al-Areeq, A.M., Al-Zahrani, M.A., Chowdhury, S. et al. Development of hydrological based physical model for nutrients transport simulation: case study of Makkah city, Saudi Arabia. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. (2024).

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Received : 22 May 2023

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Accepted : 14 May 2024

Published : 26 May 2024


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The Department of Urban and Regional Planning invites all to attend the student final presentations.

Spring 2024 URP Poster.

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Times and locations are subject to change.

Monday, April 29

End 360: environmental design workshop 2.

9 a.m. - 1 p.m. | Hayes 403

Topic: Redesigning the UB South Campus Front Lawn Instructor: Camden Miller, Mary Allen Redesign of UB South Front Lawn Throughout this course, students learned principles for graphic communication and understanding the environments around them. The final semester project instructed students to use their skills of analysis, design, and visual communication to recommend a redesign of the greenspace on South Campus between Main Street and Hayes Hall.

Tuesday, April 30

End312/arc316: design of cities/experiencing the city.

3:30 - 4:45 p.m. | Hayes 401

Topic: Mapping Allentown: a Lynch Analysis Instructors: Hiro Hata + Viyona Chavan, TA

Thursday, May 2

Monday, may 6, end 450: environmental design workshop 3.

1:30 - 2:30 p.m. |  Richardson Olmsted Complex (off campus)

Topic: The Richardson Olmsted Complex: a Student Publication on Works in Progress Instructor: Annie Schentag

The Richardson Olmsted Complex: a Student Publication on Works in Progress The Richardson Olmsted Campus looms large in the minds of Western New York residents and tourists alike, yet there is currently no major publication that traces the path of its evolution from a state of decay to one of adaptive reuse. Working with our client Paris Roselli, President of the Richardson Olmsted Campus and Lipsey Architecture Center, students have created a publication that traces the historic path of the campus into its contemporary rebirth. Using a combination of archival sources from the campus itself, some of which have never been systematically examined before, students have created a volume that makes rare materials and images of the Richardson Olmsted Campus publicly available for the first time. As the final product, the class has developed a publication to be used and distributed by our client at the Richardson Olmsted Complex to a new generation of local and international tourists visiting Western New York.

URP 581/582: Planning Practicum

1:30 - 3:00 p.m. |  Hayes 401

Topic: Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood: Streets, Public Spaces, Cultural Amenities Instructor: Kelly Gregg

Broadway-Filmore neighborhood: Streets, Public Spaces, Cultural Amenities Streets and Public Space in Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood: linking streets, public spaces, and cultural amenities.

Thursday, May 9

1 p.m. | Lyons, NY in Wayne County

Topic: Planning for Parks, Recreation, and Ecotourism in Wayne County, NY Instructor: Ernie Sternberg

Planning for Parks, Recreation, and Greenways in Wayne County, NY Based on a project currently underway for the Wayne County Department of Economic Development and Planning. (2.5-hour drive, bus transportation provided) There is space available on the bus for individuals interested in traveling to Lyons, NY, which is approximately a 2.5-hour drive. Those interested should reach out to Ernie Sternberg or a studio student member.

ARC630/URP566: Theories of Urban Settlement Patterns + Case Study. An Interdisciplinary Seminar in Urban Design

A Case Study: A Plan for a 10-minute Urban Hamlet: toward a Sustainable and Equitable Placemaking  Student teams to propose alternative visions for a small site in southern UK to become an Urban Hamlet: a small walkable and close-knit urban village. The project demands students to thread theories and visions for the site. PowerPoint Presentation followed by discussion. 

Friday, May 13

End 426, urp 526, arc 526: site planning and design.

6 - 8 p.m. | Hayes 217

Topic: Exploring Urban Development Dynamics: UrbanPlan Instructors: Matthew Roland Exploring Urban Development Dynamics: UrbanPlan Mock City Council Presentation Students have been participating in the Urban Land Institute's UrbanPlan program, and will present their Development Team's Proposal to a mock City Council, who will select a winning team.

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Case Studies from the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Program

This document contains Case Studies from the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Program. These studies highlight some of the success and effective strategies of previous projects.

  • Case Studies from the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Program (pdf) (3.7 MB)
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case study on environmental planning

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Will Trump Testify At Hush Money Trial? Attorney Habba Says He ‘Wants’ To Take The Stand—But Legal Experts Warn Against It.

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Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers are expected to start presenting their defense in his criminal trial this week after prosecutors rest their case, but it still remains to be seen whether the ex-president will take the stand and testify himself—though Trump has wavered on the issue, and legal experts largely believe it would be an unwise move.

Former President Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a short break during his hush money ... [+] trial on May 14 in New York City.

The defense is expected to start presenting its case next week, after prosecutors said Tuesday that ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen , who will take the stand for a third day on Thursday, will be their final witness.

Trump’s attorneys aren’t expected to call many witnesses—if any—with the only likely possibilities being an expert witness on campaign finance law and attorney Robert Costello, who was in touch with Cohen after he made the Daniels payment.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche said last week it’s still unclear if Trump will testify, answering “no” when Judge Juan Merchan asked if the attorney had any “indication” of whether Trump would testify or if any “determination” had been made on the issue—but then said Monday there’s a “likelihood” the defense could rest its case that day, soon after the prosecution rests, which would suggest Trump won’t testify.

Trump publicly committed to testifying when the trial first got underway, telling reporters, “All I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is that there’s no case”—but became more noncommittal in an April 26 interview with Newsmax, where he said only that he would testify “if it’s necessary.”

Trump attorney Alina Habba—who is not directly representing Trump in this case— told Fox News Monday the ex-president “has to listen to his attorneys” and that his lawyers still have to “discuss with our client,” citing Trump’s claims the court is biased against him, but claimed Trump, for his part, “wants to testify” and is “willing” and “able.”

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Get Forbes Breaking News Text Alerts: We’re launching text message alerts so you'll always know the biggest stories shaping the day’s headlines. Text “Alerts” to (201) 335-0739 or sign up here .

It’s common for defendants not to testify in criminal trials, with many defense attorneys believing the risk of a defendant harming their own case outweighs the benefits. When the trial began last month, Merchan reminded jurors Trump has a right not to testify, and if he chooses not to take the witness stand, they can’t hold it against him.

Should Trump Testify?

While it’s still up in the air whether Trump will testify, legal experts suggest doing so would hurt the ex-president’s case. “It would be suicide for” Trump to testify, left-leaning attorney Norm Eisen said on CNN Tuesday, arguing there’s “no way” his lawyers would allow him to take the stand. Trump’s former attorney Tim Parlatore said the same on CNN Tuesday, telling Kaitlan Collins that he “personally would suggest that he probably should not” testify. Both Eisen and Parlatore suggested doing so would hurt Trump’s case, with Parlatore arguing it would “significantly increase” Trump’s chances of conviction because “if the jury disbelieves him on anything, however small, that’s something they’re gonna hold against him and be much more likely to convict.” If Trump is convicted, Eisen suggested taking the stand could also lead to a more severe punishment, arguing that if Merchan believes Trump may have lied under oath, “it virtually ensures a sentence of incarceration.” While legal experts suggest Trump’s lawyers are near certain to prefer their client stay off the stand, however, they also note the ex-president has a history of not listening to his attorneys.

What To Watch For

Any decision on whether Trump will take the stand is likely to be made at the last minute, legal experts have noted, with Parlatore saying the decision will be made “down to the wire” based on whether it’s “worth taking the risk,” and former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance noting in April it’s “unlikely” Trump’s lawyers will decide “until the moment is close at hand.” Testimony in the trial is expected to wrap up this week, as Merchan said Monday that closing arguments will take place next week on May 28.

Surprising Fact

While this case marks Trump’s first criminal trial, the ex-president has recently taken the stand at several of his recent civil trials, testifying about defamation allegations brought against him by writer E. Jean Carroll and the fraud allegations brought against him and his company. Neither testimony appeared to help his case, as he was found liable in both cases and ordered to pay $88.3 million and $454.2 million, respectively. In his order finding Trump and his co-defendants liable in the fraud case , Judge Arthur Engoron argued Trump “severely compromised his credibility” when testifying, noting the ex-president “rarely responded to the questions asked, and he frequently interjected long, irrelevant speeches on issues far beyond the scope of the trial.”

Key Background

Trump faces 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in his Manhattan trial, which is one of four criminal cases that’s been brought against the ex-president. The charges stem from a $130,000 payment Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the days before the 2016 election in order to cover up her allegations of having an affair with Trump. Trump then allegedly reimbursed Cohen for the payment—paying him $420,000 after adding in other expenses and enough money to cover taxes—which were paid through a series of reimbursement checks throughout 2017. Prosecutors allege those reimbursements were handled through the Trump Organization and falsely labeled as being for legal services, which Trump has denied, as his lawyers have claimed the payments were correctly labeled and tried to distance Trump from the reimbursement scheme. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him—as well as in his other three cases—decrying the case as a politically motivated “witch hunt” designed to hurt his campaign. The trial, which has been ongoing since mid-April, has included multiple witnesses tying Trump to the hush money scheme, with Cohen directly testifying that Trump approved the Daniels payment and was involved with the reimbursement scheme. As the criminal defendant, Trump has been required to be present in the courtroom every day of the trial—though media reports suggest he has regularly dozed off during the proceedings.

Further Reading

Alison Durkee

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