Volume 4: Community Impacts Assessment


Community Impact Assessment, Volume 4 of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Environmental Handbook series provides guidance and procedures for assessing the impacts of proposed transportation projects on communities and neighborhoods and for achieving context sensitive solutions in the design of transportation projects. This guidance is intended to assist Caltrans environmental personnel, consultants, and other transportation partners in completing the community impact assessment report or documentation; engaging the public and other stakeholders in the transportation planning process; avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating for adverse effects, and increasing project benefits.

To assist in this objective, Volume 4 provides a discussion of the most vital laws, regulations, guidelines, practices, and procedures that must be addressed as part of the project planning and development processes. Additionally, this volume provides links to many valuable Internet resources that will assist in conducting the analysis. This volume is intended to be used as a guide and is not a substitute for legal requirements nor does it impose requirements different from or in addition to those imposed by law.

In addition to the guidance below, a Community Impact Assessment template can be found on the SER Other Guidance page.

What's New

Community Impact Assessment Related Topics (PDF)

Download Entire Volume 4 (PDF) 

Table of Contents (PDF) 

Chapter 1: Introduction (PDF)

This is an introduction to community impact analysis for transportation projects, how it relates to organizational objectives, and an overview of related laws and requirements.

Chapter 2: Assessing Community Impacts (PDF)

Chapter two presents the step-by-step process of assessing community impacts in order to inform planning, project development, and decision making throughout the life of a transportation project.

Chapter 3: Involving the Public and Developing a Community Profile (PDF)

Chapter three provides an overview of the public involvement process and how to develop a community profile.  The community profile establishes the baseline conditions for assessing impacts and is used to prepare the "Affected Environment" or "Setting" section of the community impact assessment report and the environmental document. The community profile describes the physical features of the study area and the pertinent social and economic conditions in the community and region.

Chapter 4: Land Use, Farmland, and Growth (PDF)

Chapter four walks the practitioner through the process of assessing land use impacts in the context of the community impact analysis. This chapter focuses on direct impacts and indirect growth-related impacts.

Chapter 5: Social Impacts (PDF)

Chapter five discusses how to analyze social impacts as part of the community impact assessment process. Social impacts are the effects of the project that disrupt the normal daily functions of a community or neighborhood.

Chapter 6: Economic Impacts (PDF)

Chapter six provides an overview of the economic impacts of transportation projects including the effects of the project on factors such as personal and business income, employment, property values, and tax revenues.

Chapter 7: Relocation and Displacement (PDF)

Chapter seven discusses how to analyze impacts related to relocation and displacement as part of the community impact assessment process.

Chapter 8: Title VI and Environmental Justice

Chapter eight discusses how to analyze impacts related to environmental justice issues as part of the community impact assessment process.

Appendix A: References (PDF)

Appendix A provides the following general list of books, reports, and articles, in conjunction with the various suggestions provided within this volume, should prove useful for preparers of community impact assessments. This list includes reference materials related to the following topics:

  • Agriculture and rural lands
  • Demography and census
  • Economic forecasting and fiscal analysis
  • Environmental justice
  • Growth inducement and land use
  • Planning and socioeconomic assessments
  • Public and minority involvement
  • Secondary and cumulative impacts

Appendix B: Resource Kit (PDF)

Appendix B is intended to help environmental planners and others concerned with community impact assessment issues collect the needed information. It concentrates on basic informational sources and publications covering a wide area, with a specific focus on the federal census and state agencies.

Appendix C: Relocations (PDF)

Appendix C covers the relocation laws and provisions with which the Department works. Provided is some general descriptive information of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970.

Appendix D: Transportation Effects on Property Values (PDF)

Appendix D provides guidance for the transportation effects on property values, literature review, and route effects on houses.

Appendix E: Ramp Closures (PDF)

Appendix E serves as an example of a requisite study that was prepared to address temporary ramp closures.


For questions regarding Community Impact Assessment, please contact Jennifer Heichel of the Environmental Management Office at (916) 651-8164.