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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Public Roads - Autumn 2021

Date:
Autumn 2021
Issue No:
Vol. 85 No. 3
Publication Number:
FHWA-HRT-22-001
Table of Contents

Hot Topic

Simplifying Environmental Reviews and Collaboration with INPCT

by Megan Cogburn and David Williams

The Federal Highway Administration is on the cutting edge of efforts to accelerate project delivery. To help save time and simplify the environmental documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), FHWA created the Interagency NEPA & Permitting Collaboration Tool (INPCT). A rebranded and improved version of FHWA’s eNEPA, INPCT is a web-based collaboration tool designed to aid NEPA practitioners in efficiently managing the environmental review and permitting processes for all types of transportation projects, from simple Categorical Exclusions to more complex Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements.

"The logo for the Interagency NEPA & Permitting Collaboration Tool (INPCT). Image source: FHWA."

More than 400 participants attended the webinars launching INPCT, hosted by FHWA’s Office of Project Development and Environmental Review in May and June 2021. Attendees included representatives from 37 State departments of transportation, 33 FHWA division offices, other USDOT modal administrations, 6 other Federal agencies, and multiple metropolitan planning organizations and consulting firms.

"A screenshot showing a sample project in the Interagency NEPA & Permitting Collaboration Tool (INPCT). Image source: FHWA."

Housed behind FHWA’s firewall, INPCT provides a secure web-based platform. The tool can help strengthen interagency collaboration during the NEPA process by making it easier for project managers, environmental planners, and resource and regulatory agency staff to exchange documents and collect and share comments in real time. INPCT centralizes the many elements of a NEPA review to help seamlessly manage the decisionmaking process. Through its user-friendly interface, users can track project and permitting schedules and key milestones, send meeting invites, manage documents, and even track mitigation commitments.

"A screenshot showing the interactive workspace in the Interagency NEPA & Permitting Collaboration Tool (INPCT). Image source: FHWA."

INPCT’s integration with FHWA’s Project and Program Action Information System means data can now be sent to the Federal Permitting Dashboard. Users only enter information once, eliminating redundant data entry. These time-saving features can help reduce the time it takes to complete environmental reviews and permit applications in line with the new regulations from the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing NEPA.

INPCT is available at https://inpct.fhwa.dot.gov. For more information about the tool, see FHWA’s Environmental Toolkit at www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/pubs_resources_tools/env_tools/INPCT/default.aspx.

Megan Cogburn (Megan.Cogburn@dot.gov) and David Williams (David.Williams@dot.gov) are FHWA’s INPCT system administrators.