Achieving Efficient Cultural Resources Management in Project Delivery

Transportation projects in which the study area contains cultural resources in need of identification and analysis often struggle to meet project delivery schedules, particularly with respect to federally funded projects that fall under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The now-rescinded Executive Order (EO) 13807 of 2017 first established goals of 2-year completion of environmental impact statements and 1-year completion of environmental assessments under NEPA. While EO 13807 and One Federal Decision (OFD) requirements have been rescinded, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Council of Environmental Quality regulations codified these required timelines. Additionally, state laws and other factors may also put pressure on agencies to conduct more efficient cultural resources identification and analyses in project delivery. State departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies employ various approaches to meet the project delivery timelines established in NEPA, including Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) studies; early project scoping; simplified review and application of historical context for common resource types; and programmatic agreements. NEPA and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) regulations are not triggered until there is a programmed, funded project for which environmental compliance studies are conducted. However, cultural resource analysis is critical for safeguarding cultural resources protected in federal, state, and tribal law. Research is needed to identify and analyze methods and strategies to achieve efficiencies and avoid delays in project delivery when cultural resources are affected. The objective of this research is to prepare tools with guidelines for completing effective cultural resource analyses in a time-constrained project delivery context. At a minimum the research should: (1) Provide the regulatory and practical benefits of implementing efficient and timely cultural resources analyses in project delivery; (2) Identify and address specific agency challenges to completing efficient cultural resources analyses, particularly in time-constrained project delivery processes such as those mandated by NEPA; and (3) Advise agencies on the selection and implementation of proven methods and tools for conducting timely and effective cultural resources analyses of a range of specific resources.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $300000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 08-180

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    Office of Planning, Environment and Realty (HEP)
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Weeks, Jennifer

  • Start Date: 20240115
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01899008
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 08-180
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 13 2023 5:58PM