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The study process is a blending of engineering analysis, environmental evaluations and public and agency involvement. The PD&E process is a planning tool used to develop transportation improvements that are technically sound, environmentally sensitive, economically feasible, legally defensible and socially acceptable. The following graphic illustrates the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) process.
The PD&E process was developed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in response to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, to ensure that transportation projects are developed with consideration of current engineering standards, project costs and minimization of social and environmental impacts, while involving the public throughout the entire study process. The basic activities of the I-4 Express PD&E study include:
Data Collection
The first major work effort is the collection of all available data pertaining to the study corridor including existing roadway characteristics, traffic counts, existing and future land uses, drainage patterns, locations of wetlands and habitat for threatened or endangered species, potential contamination sites, existing traffic noise levels and air quality conditions. The information collected during this stage is used as the basis from which all potential improvements are developed.

Alternatives Development and Analysis
Once the data collection is complete and the needs of the corridor have been determined, various improvement alternatives are developed. This involves developing concepts that meet the project objective in an environmentally responsible, socially acceptable and cost feasible manner, consistent with public and agency input.

Environmental Evaluations
Prior to and in tandem with concept development, environmental evaluations document and assess potential impacts to the natural environment including wildlife habitat, public lands, and wetland locations. This information aids in the development of alternative concepts that avoid/minimize project impacts.

Public Involvement
Throughout the PD&E Study exist opportunities for Public Involvement. Public meetings, small group meetings, elected/appointed officials involvement, stakeholder coordination and community outreach. These are all integral parts of the proactive public involvement process. During the I-4 Express PD&E study, four public meetings and four public hearing will be conducted to gain public feedback.  Visit the Public Outreach page for specific information about upcoming meetings and hearings.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Acceptance
The final step of the PD&E process is Location Design Concept Approval (LDCA) from the FHWA. This occurs following the Public Hearing and involves finalizing and submitting project reports to the FHWA for approval. Once approved, the PD&E study phase of the project will be completed.