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Joseph A. Burns CWB
National Transportation Ecology Program Leader
Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air, Rare Plants
1400 Independance Ave SW - MS1121
Washington, D.C. 20250-1121
(202) 205-0919

Sandra Jacobson
Wildlife Biologist
USDA Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Research Station
(541) 678-5240


You are here: HOME » Resources » Decision Support Tools for Large Scale / Long Term Transportation Planning

Decision Support Tools for Large Scale / Long Term Transportation Planning

Transportation departments typically distinguish planning for highways at two levels. The long term, strategic level is called ‘transportation planning’. It can be as much as 20 years in the future.

Tools for public land managers in this section include strategies for ‘getting out ahead’ so that all agencies have a place at the planning table early enough for every agency’s missions to be heard and considered.

SAFETEA-LU Section 6001: Environmental Considerations in Planning

SAFETEA-LU Section 6001 is a profoundly important section because it directs transportation agencies to consult and compare information on natural resources. You can read more about Section 6001, and the text of Section 6001.

Integrating transportation planning and conservation is no small feat, and all agencies concerned, as well as non-governmental stakeholders, are still working through tools to do so effectively and efficiently.

Several important initiatives or programs are being developed to assist. Two important ones are the Collaborative Assessment Process called Transportation for Communities - Advancing Projects through Partnerships (TCAPP), and the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service's Information Planning and Conservation system (IPaC).

The Decision Guide for TCAPP is still in draft format. The Wildlife Crossings Toolkit will be integrating into this tool at key points so that our processes can assist in integrating transportation and conservation.

Large Scale Habitat Connectivity Assessments

Currently, no direction exists for states to develop a large scale habitat connectivity assessment, but numerous states have accomplished an assessment at various degrees of detail.

One of the first steps in assessing impacts of a highway development project is to identify any wildlife movement areas, or linkage zones. A large scale assessment assists in putting projects into context, thus helping to prioritize areas for restoration or maintenance of habitat connectivity.

As these efforts increase in scale and seamlessness, greater benefits will accrue both to transportation and resource agencies.

Click here for an analysis of states with large scale assessments.

Page Last Modified: February 18, 2014

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