Section 2: Logical Termini and Independent UtilityAnchor: #i1010535
How do you determine what constitutes a project? Part of this determination is developing the area of the project’s influence, including termini and the ability of a roadway to provide effective transportation without further construction at either linear terminus of the roadway.
FHWA regulations indicate three principles to use when determining the termini and function of a project. These principles are taken from 23 CFR §771.111(f).
To provide a meaningful evaluation of alternatives, all EA/FONSI and EIS projects should:
- Connect logical termini and be of sufficient length to address environmental matters on a broad scope.
- possess independent utility or independent significance
- not restrict consideration of alternatives for other reasonably
foreseeable transportation projects
NOTE: Determining logical termini for CE projects is not as vital, primarily because CE projects typically do not involve added capacity. If a CE project does involve added capacity, there should be logical termini.�
FHWA defines logical termini as:
- rational end points for a transportation improvement (typically major traffic generation, i.e., intersecting roadways)
- rational end points for a review of environmental impacts (generally broader than the strict construction termini)
Guidelines on selecting logical termini:
- TxDOT generally considers logical termini to be a state or federal system roadway, or a local major thoroughfare.
- Geographic boundaries (county lines, rivers, etc.) are not generally useful as logical termini. If a project ends at a geographic boundary, “project study” limits should be extended to the nearest state or federal system roadway.
- Logical termini should encompass an entire project. Cutting
a larger project into smaller projects may be considered “improper
segmentation” under NEPA. If smaller segments are desired,
the project should be evaluated for independent utility.
NOTE: FHWA has a 1993 paper on logical termini in addition to 23 CFR §771.111(f).
A project must have independent utility; that is, a project must be able to function on its own, without further construction of an adjoining segment.
EXAMPLE: If a circumferential freeway is planned, the project can be broken down into segments if each segment can stand on its own without the construction of any other segments.
Projects that do have independent utility should not be planned so as to restrict alternatives in a future segment of the same project.
EXAMPLE: As one segment of a circumferential freeway is finished, the location and design of the segment should not restrict alternatives in the next segment. The preferred alternative should be flexible enough to provide a broad range of alternatives.
NOTE: Logical termini should be determined on a project-by-project basis. As with much of project development, decisions on logical termini should be deliberate and professional, and not based on arbitrary boundaries such as county or district lines.