Research Reports

Scoping in Environmental Review for Transportation Projects: A Study of NEPA Scoping Methods and Outcomes in State Departments of Transportation

Principal Investigator:

Carissa Schively Slotterback, Susan Sloper

December 2008

Report no. CTS 08-04

Projects: Scoping in Environmental Review for Transportation Projects

Topics: Environment, Planning

This report summarizes the findings of a study of scoping processes conducted in state departments of transportation (DOTs) in the U.S. The study focused specifically on scoping conducted as part of implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for various types of transportation projects. The intent was to identify variation in approaches to scoping in DOTs across the U.S. and to identify the outcomes of scoping on later steps in the environmental review process, through the use of an online survey methodology. In addition, the study asked state DOTs to evaluate their own approaches to scoping. To supplement the national review of scoping practices, four case studies of recent scoping processes conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) were completed. The key findings of the study provide insights into the range of approaches used for scoping in state departments of transportation, as well as valuable information about the influence of scoping efforts in environmental review.

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