Our project team uses evaluation criteria to evaluate a range of alternatives that could meet the project’s purpose and need. We also use the criteria to understand potential social, economic and environmental impacts.
We developed the evaluation criteria while taking into account public feedback gathered from an extensive engagement effort along the corridor and within the cities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis. This effort took place during the Environmental Assessment project work that occurred from 2017 through February 2020.
We are presenting the draft evaluation criteria at this early stage of the new Environmental Impact Statement process for the public to review.
Our Hwy 252/I-94 project team is conducting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to identify a project alternative that meets the purpose and need. We have engaged extensively with the public along the corridor and within the respective cities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis. The Information and feedback we received as part of these outreach efforts has helped enhance the purpose and need for the project, and subsequent evaluation criteria we have before us in draft form.
All previous engagement activity and feedback received can be carried forward into the EIS process. While the core needs have not changed significantly, our team will be conducting engagement to revisit the community's ideas and feedback on the purpose and need, and evaluation criteria. The purpose and need of the project are converted into evaluation criteria that are used to judge a range of project alternatives that can meet the project’s purpose and need. Project alternatives that do not meet the purpose and need can be eliminated from further consideration.
The alternatives evaluation process for the Hwy 252/I-94 project includes four steps:
- Step 1: Identify project corridor elements that address purpose and need.
- Step 2: Develop a list of possible corridor alternatives.
- Step 3: Determine which alternatives should be studied further in the draft EIS.
- Step 4: Identify the preferred alternative.
At each step, the project team conducts a progressively more detailed level of evaluation and analysis with a series of criteria used to evaluate the alternatives.
Evaluation criteria are the measures and metrics used to evaluate a range of alternatives that could meet the project’s Purpose and Need while identifying and considering potential social, economic, and environmental (SEE) impacts. Evaluation criteria can also be used to determine how well an alternative addresses the project’s goals.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), as joint lead agencies, are responsible for determining the methodology and level of detail for the evaluation of alternatives.
The evaluation criteria are first used to determine whether a range of alternatives address the project’s Purpose and Need. Alternatives that address the Purpose and Need would be considered for further evaluation. Those that do not address the Purpose and Need would be rejected as not being reasonable.
Alternatives that address the Purpose and Need are further evaluated to determine their impacts on social, economic, and environmental (SEE) resources within the project area. Alternatives that have unmitigable impacts are rejected. Alternatives with the potential for significant impacts may be rejected or revised to reduce potential impacts.
Alternatives will be further evaluated (after addressing purpose and need and SEE items) on how well they address project goals. Those that also address project goals may be viewed more favorably than those that do not.
The evaluation criteria are used during each of the four evaluation process steps. There are five key evaluation criteria categories.
- Vehicle safety. Measurements to help us understand how alternatives improve safety for vehicles along the project corridor.
- Vehicle mobility. Measurements to help us understand how alternatives improve the ease and reliability of vehicle movement along the project corridor.
- Transit considerations. Measurements to help us understand how alternatives improve transit that can best serve people living along the project corridor.
- Walking/rolling/biking. Measurements to help us understand how alternatives can improve the experiences of people walking, rolling and biking along and across the project corridor.
- Social, economic, and environmental considerations, including components of equity and health.
- Step 1: Identify project corridor elements that address purpose and need. (Occurring spring 2021)
- Step 2: Develop a list of possible corridor alternatives. (Occurring summer 2021)
- Step 3: Determine which alternatives should be studied further in the draft EIS. (Occurring fall/winter 2021/2022)
- Step 4: Identify the preferred alternative. (Occurring January/February 2023)
The criteria are organized into five groups:
- Vehicle safety
- Vehicle mobility
- Transit considerations
- Social, economic, and environmental considerations, including components of equity and health
As we move the project alternatives through the steps, the criteria analysis gets more specific. We apply the criteria at different levels of detail and not uniformly with each step. Each criterion—and the step it applies to—is further explained below.
- How well does the alternative reduce the likelihood of crashes? Steps 1-4
- How well does the alternative minimize overall system travel – vehicle miles traveled across the system? Step 1 only
- How well does the alternative reduce congestion? Step 1 only
- How well does the alternative accommodate future traffic volumes? Step 1 only
- How reliable does the alternative make the corridor for vehicles? Steps 1-3
- How efficiently does the alternative get vehicle users from Point A to Point B? Steps 1-3
- How well does the alternative accommodate future transit ridership? Steps 1-3
- How much will the alternative cost to operate? Steps 1-3
- How well does the alternative reach employment and population density clusters? Steps 1-3
- How well does the alternative reach populations that are reliant on transit? Steps 1-3
Walking, rolling and biking
- How well does the alternative improve multimodal connections? Steps 1-4
- How well does the alternative reduce the likelihood of pedestrian or bicycle crashes? Steps 1-4
Social, economic, and environmental considerations
- How does the alternative impact properties in the study area? Steps 2-4
- How does the alternative impact parks, trails and other community facilities in the study area?
- Is the alternative consistent with local planning in the study area? Steps 2-4
- Does the alternative have a high and adverse impact to minority and low-income populations?
- Does the alternative impact natural and cultural resources in the study area? Steps 2-4