PennDOT Environmental Reference Webpages
Inspired by best practices examples from the
Ohio Department of Transportation and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
Center for Environmental Excellence, PennDOT launched a repository for
environmental policy and development on its website in February 2017. As part of the Environmental Work Group under the STIC’s Design Technical Advisory Group (TAG), these pages feature a one-stop-shop of all the resources needed to complete the environmental analyses required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
How Does It Work?
The central webpage acts as a portal to all the resources PennDOT and its partners need for project development. This resource can be used in the planning phase by PennDOT planning and programming staff,
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Regional Planning Organizations (RPOs), and county and municipal planners. During preliminary engineering, district project managers, environmental staff, highway design and traffic safety engineers, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) staff, regulatory and resource agencies, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and consultants, now have access to all needed documents in one convenient and easily accessible location. This includes PennDOT publications, federal and state regulations and policies, relevant forms, tools, and educational links - all divided into resource-specific pages.
Prior to the development of these webpages, no centralized location existed for users to access PennDOT environmental resources information. The new webpages brought all these various information sources into one location, assisting PennDOT employees and transportation partners with the environmental clearance process.
What Are The Benefits?
The webpages have been well received by users. Several PennDOT district employees and consultants have commented on the ease with which they can access information. The webpages are especially useful for new employees, as they can click through the pages, learning about each aspect of the environmental requirements of the transportation project delivery process. This central repository ensures:
policies, manuals, forms and other documents are always current
- As regulations and policies change, resources are available in one location
- Public education about the project development process
The pages went live on the PennDOT website in February 2017 with a large amount of daily traffic, nearly 100 page views each day for the first week. A deeper review of the website analytics shows that the resource pages are working as intended. Nearly 85 percent of visitors to the main landing page continue to another page before leaving the website. The landing page tends to see multiple visits during a session. This means that visitors are returning to the page once or twice to navigate to other portions of the site.
While a visitor on average only spends 38 seconds on the landing page, the other pages in this section see visitors spending between two to three minutes using the resources. This indicates that visitors are taking the time to use the resources on the educational pages. In addition, nearly 40 percent of the traffic to the site comes from returning visitors, who are coming back to the site to reference materials as needed. This is a positive trend because, as materials and references on the pages are updated, users will receive the most current information on each visit.
For more information about this innovation, contact the
STIC Management Team.