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As described in Chapter 1, the pilot communities have a broad range of demographic characteristics -- low and high density; home to major universities with populations without automobiles; self-contained small urban areas; and components of major metropolitan areas. Some communities have extensive existing nonmotorized networks and experience planning for nonmotorized transportation investments, including current nonmotorized plans with projects prioritized to meet projected community needs.
The diverse community characteristics and the variety of starting points for creating nonmotorized transportation networks should yield a rich range of results and experiences that can be applied in communities across the nation. NTPP results should provide valuable insights about traditional infrastructure projects forming the foundation of nonmotorized transportation networks and other innovative initiatives.
The pilot communities will document experiences in planning and project development that will be useful for a broad range of peer communities. The final report will summarize how each community worked with other institutions at policy and planning levels to implement nonmotorized projects.
Each of the four communities is well underway with NTPP implementation. Although placing NTPP infrastructure projects and educational and promotional programs into use quickly in each pilot community has been challenging, it is essential to demonstrate results. Some communities have selected the full set of projects and programs to be implemented under NTPP, while others will conduct additional calls for projects and programs.
Existing mechanisms for the sharing of information among the communities has resulted in significant NTPP efficiencies and shared knowledge among the communities. The Working Group's e-mail exchanges, biweekly conference calls, annual face to face meetings, and the activities of the evaluation subgroup will continue and be modified, as necessary, to strengthen the results of evaluation. The Working Group will continue to serve as an important forum for pilot community representatives to share effective practices among their peers.
As stated in Section 1807(b) of SAFETEA-LU, the purpose of NTPP is "to demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking can carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution, within selected communities." The final report to Congress is due by September 30, 2010.
FHWA and the pilot communities anticipate that all NTPP projects will not be fully implemented by September 30, 2010. Realizing the benefits of these projects may require additional time for users to become accustomed to them. The timing of project implementation affects the selection of projects that lend themselves to collection of "before" and "after" data over a long enough period to identify changes in travel behavior.
The University of Minnesota conducted the Phase 1 survey from September 2006 -- January 2007, to establish a community-wide baseline of travel behavior in each of the communities and one control community. The results are summarized in Chapter 5. The Working Group's NTPP evaluation plan calls for the University of Minnesota to conduct the final "bookend" or "after" survey from September 2010 -- January 2011. The survey results will be used to identify changes in travel behavior in the pilot communities over the course of NTPP.
Depending on the number and scope of NTPP projects fully implemented by 2010, FHWA believes it is premature to decide whether it is better to initiate the survey in September 2010 or possibly September 2011.
FHWA and the Working Group also realize 2010 Census data would be useful in assessing NTPP results across the pilot communities, and in relation to other demographic and travel trends in urban areas nationwide. Census data will not be available in time to be used for the analysis in the report to Congress by the September 30, 2010 deadline.
Ultimately, FHWA wants to ensure the best data and information is available to complete a thorough analysis and provide meaningful results to meet the purpose of NTPP. FHWA will continue to work with the pilot communities and the Working Group to implement NTPP and refine the evaluation plan. FHWA will report to Congress on the preliminary final results of NTPP by the September 30, 2010 deadline, followed by a report with the final results at a later date. When submitting the 2010 report, FHWA will advise Congress of plans to conduct the survey, complete the final evaluation of the NTPP, and report the results to Congress.
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