Human Environment and Communities


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Human Environment is the context in which we live, work, and play—in short, it's our livable community. It reflects a sense of place, including the infrastructure, natural resources, and services that support the community. It requires focusing on the people in a geographic area who are connected by how they live, in addition to where they live. It means considering subgroups within the overall population and how transportation systems can affect everyone's quality of life.

For many years, considering impacts on the community has been expanding to include economy, equity, connectivity, livability, sustainability, and sensitivity to the context in which transportation systems are built and operate. The breadth of this topic can be challenging to transportation practitioners. Developing both broad and specific understanding of individual communities often requires new data-gathering techniques, outreach methodologies, and partnerships.


Collaboration with the community is essential to understand the relationship between transportation systems and the communities they serve. Transportation decisions are of mutual interest to professionals and a wide range of community groups and individuals. This includes agencies with a mission to preserve and protect community features and populations as well as individuals or groups with specific interests.


Although the Newtown Pike Extension Project near Lexington, Kentucky was conceived in 1931, severe traffic congestion in the 1990's required a solution. During environmental review, an urban village plan and Community Land Trust were shown to address environmental justice impacts, provide equitable and affordable housing, and preserve community cohesion- showing how transportation investment can support mobility, quality of life, and community goals. See more at The Road that Rebuilt a Neighborhood


The Decision Guide helps transportation practitioners identify the individual Key Decisions where specifically addressing community interests and concerns is important. Hover over the highlighted Key Decisions to understand the specific relationship of human environment and communities to the decision. Click on any highlighted Key Decision for more information about questions, data, and relationships that support this interface. Key Decisions that are greyed-out have no specific relevance to the individual application or topic area but are still accessible from this graphic.