Defining Areas of Potential Effects: State of the Practice
106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) requires federal
agencies to consider the effects of their projects, activities, and programs on
historic properties. Transportation
agencies must establish the Area of Potential Effects (APE), which is the
geographic area within which a federal action has the potential to effect
historic properties eligible or listed on the National Register of Historic
Places. Linear transportation corridors,
particularly those that cross municipal, state, and/or Tribal boundaries,
present a particular problem when defining an APE. Accurately and effectively defining the APE
is essential to determining the level of effort required for the project’s
compliance with Section 106.
APEs are generally
defined on a project-by-project basis, without a standard methodology by
project type or common approach. This
can result in lengthy discussions and deliberations between transportation
agencies, state and local officials, Tribes, and other interested parties. An APE that is too narrow may not adequately
capture all the project effects, and need to be adjusted later in the
process. An APE that is too large may cause
over expenditures in time and money for survey work. On large linear
transportation projects, and APE that is too large or too small can easily set
back project timelines with impact to funding and construction deadlines.
the Nation, there are transportation agencies, states, and organizations that
have developed standard approaches on how to effectively establish APEs for
projects. However, much of this
information resides solely within its respective state or organization; there
is no nationwide survey or database of solutions that others could look to for
a variety of methods, standards, and agreements in place to define APEs, but
there is no one central repository or synthesis of best practices. This Research Needs Statement (RNS) proposes
a comprehensive nationwide survey of State DOTs, FRA and other agencies as
identified on establishing APEs for linear transportation projects, partnered
with the creation of a document to discuss the survey findings and gather the
best practices and/or methodologies currently in place. With this information, transportation
project proponents could have access to examples and best practices that could
immediately be useful. This
RNS funding is needed to have a sufficiently wide reach and sample size, and to
organize and synthesize the outcome.
nationwide survey of practitioners and projects would bring to light the
variety of approaches currently used to develop APEs for linear transportation
agencies and individual practitioners struggle with the establishment of APEs
for long linear projects, and do not have sufficient time, funding, or
connections to reach out to a broad group of professionals to find existing
solutions. This research would allow for
a comprehensive nationwide survey to find the solutions and best practices already
developed, house them in a central location, and create a report to serve as a reference
on proven APE methodologies for the larger cultural resources and project
example, the survey research and subsequent report that would result from funding
this RNS could be used to help agencies in negotiate APE delineation with
partners and stakeholders by showing what industry standards are in setting
APEs for certain project types. Best
practices highlighted in the report could help agencies and officials by
providing templates for how to incorporate these proven methodologies for
development of APEs into reports and agreement documents.
outcomes of funding this RNS would both foster more effective cultural resource
compliance and improve project delivery.
for relevant topics in both TRID and RIP on 3.2.21 did not produce any
results. There were a handful of Section
106-specific topics, but nothing relating to APEs.
Nationwide Survey of Section 106 Practitioners
of the survey:
and implement a nationwide survey of Section 106 practitioners on their
experiences delineating APEs for linear transportation projects.
survey would cast a wide net in soliciting information from a broad group of
Section 106 practitioners. Practitioners
could include: State Historic Preservation Officers and staff; Tribal Historic
Preservation Officers and cultural resource staff; Federal Preservation
Officers and cultural resource staff at federal agencies; cultural resource
staff at state transportation agencies; cultural resource contractors working
on transportation projects; and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
survey questions/topics include:
establishing an APE a challenge in your work on linear transportation projects?
is the APE defined in your agency/state/organization?
is involved in defining the APE? How are
do you consider when thinking of “potential” to effect?
you have a documented methodology, approach, or agreement document where the
process for establishing an APE is described?
who indicate they have examples of best practices, successful
methodologies/documents, or other relevant information would receive a follow
up interview. During this interview,
specific information could be collected, including example or template
State of the Practice Document
survey results and subsequent interviews from Task 1, this State of the
Practice document would synthesize the current challenges, best practices, and
practical advice for the delineation of APEs on linear transportation
components of the document:
synthesis of the responses to the survey, including a summary of the responses
review/synthesis of documents currently in place around the country relating to
APEs, and include example methodologies.
list of best practices for practitioners to use when developing an APE or
codifying a system on how APEs can be defined and could include examples from a
range of undertakings, project types, and agencies.
based on best practices captured in the survey for how to incorporate proven
methodologies into agreement documents.
impediments to implementation include a challenge in getting adequate
representation from all of the relevant groups to participate in the
survey. There may need to be support
from agencies or organizations in the field to encourage participation. Ways to overcome this challenge will include
keeping the initial survey brief and limiting detailed questions to follow-up
interviews with those who indicate they have information to share. Survey participants will be encouraged using:
the AME60 Committee to promote the survey to members and State’s Departments of
Transportation; asking the National Council of State Historic Preservation
Offices to promote the survey to members; and using available social media and
This State of the Practice document could immediately be useful to:
- Federal transportation agencies, including cultural resource staff and project delivery staff
- Federally-recognized Tribes, including cultural resource staff and transportation staff
- State transportation agencies, including cultural resource staff and project delivery staff
- Local transportation agencies, and local governments.
- Cultural resource consultants, particularly those working on transportation projects
- Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
The following TRB Committees:
o AEP70 Environmental Analysis and Ecology
o AME30 Native American Transportation Issues
|Sponsoring Committee:||AME60, Historic and Archeological Preservation in Transportation
|Research Period:||12 - 24 months|
|Source Info:||AME60 RNS Development Team (state and federal transportation agencies)|
|Index Terms:||Historic preservation, Historic sites, State of the practice, Construction projects, |