From the Sustainable Development Evaluation of Road Infrastructure Programmes and Projects
Community Effects: Key Conclusions & Recommendations
- The main problem with the EIS “community effects” section is that its conclusions are – on the whole – subjective and speculative. Much of the research presented on community effects appears to be based upon opinion and not science. Even the methodology outlined by the “Environmental Assessment Advice Note from the UK Department of Transport Publication Design Manual for Roads and Bridges Volume 11” is inadequately followed.
- More scientifically-based research on likely “community effects” should be conducted. Data and conclusions on the community effects experienced by similar road schemes in other communities (in and outside Ireland) should be collected, analyzed, and consulted. There is plenty of research on the proper ways to build roads; we also ought to be conducting and consulting research on the effects that such roads have on people and their communities.
- In general the criteria used in the EIS to assess community effects are too narrowly focused. Issues such as how the road scheme will affect health, social capital, and many other factors important to communities are not considered. More community effects should be included in future EIS reports. Reform of the EIS process is recommended.
- Proper transportation planning cannot be divorced from land-use planning. The two go together like hand in glove. Future land-use planning and transportation efforts should require joint consultation. American-style Euclidean zoning is unsustainable and should be avoided. The planning of mixed-use pedestrian- oriented communities should be encouraged if not required. Dependence on the automobile for transit should be avoided.
- Serious, innovative, inclusionary efforts designed to involve local residents in decisions that affect their communities should be undertaken. Innovative use of planning charrettes and other community-based planning efforts should be utilized.
- Consultants and Inspectors should be required to assess a broader range of community effects than those outlined in existing documents. The criteria used to assess the likely effects of a road scheme on a local community should be clearly specified.
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