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Report to the U.S. Congress on the Outcomes of the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program SAFETEA-LU Section 1807

3. Program Investments and Implementation Approach

This chapter discusses overall program-wide investments and the individual implementation approaches taken by each of the pilot communities.

Program Investments

The NTPP funding has provided an opportunity for pilot communities to make significant investments in walking and bicycling infrastructure and education. As shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3, program-wide, the vast majority of program funds (89.2 percent) have been spent on infrastructure, with the next highest share (7.9 percent) spent on outreach, education, and marketing programs. The remaining funds have been spent on bicycle parking (2.1 percent) and planning (0.8 percent). Definitions of the funding types and examples of types of projects are provided below. In addition to funding infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects (shown in Figure 2 and 3), the communities also set-aside funds for evaluation, communications support, and program administration. Combined, the four communities spent approximately $1.6 million on evaluation, $2.1 million on communications support, and $6 million on program administration. The FHWA also contributed approximately $360,000 of its own research funds to support NTPP evaluation.

Figure 2: Funding by Project Type

Bar chart showing funding by project type. Bike parking $1,497,813; Infrastructure off-street $28,413,369; infrastructure on-street $29,303,181; infrastructure on-and off-street $7,151,440; outreach, education, and marketing $5,776,281; planning $567,000.
*Funds programmed as of December 2010, across all four communities


Figure 3: Percent Funding by Project Type for All Pilot Communities

Pie chart showing the percent of funding by project type. Infrastructure off-street 39.1 percent; infrastructure on-street 40.3 percent; Infrastructure on- and off-street 9.8 percent; outreach, education, and marketing 7.9 percent; planning 0.8 percent; and bike parking 2.1 percent.

Bicycle Parking
This category includes bicycle racks, shelters, and lockers at a variety of locations. Secure and convenient bicycle parking can encourage more people to ride, as it prevents theft and damage, and provides easy access to destinations. Racks range in size, holding anywhere from 2 to 15 or more bicycles. Depending on the design, bicycle parking costs start around a couple hundred dollars per bicycle accommodated.

Infrastructure Off-Street
This category includes infrastructure projects outside of the road right-of-way. Many of these projects are off-road, shared-use paths; the category also includes signage, bicycle sharing, and pedestrian overpass construction. Off-street infrastructure projects often involve complicated engineering, environmental, or land acquisition issues, and can be expensive. It is not uncommon for construction of an off-street multi-use path to cost in excess of $1-2 million per mile. Many of these projects provide critical connectivity and safety benefits that cannot be achieved with on-street projects.

Infrastructure On-Street
This category includes infrastructure projects located within the road right-of-way. Most of these projects include sidewalks, bicycle, or shared-use lanes, intersection reconstruction, and lighting, signage, and signal improvements. Some require expanding the existing paved area in the right-of-way, while others reallocate the existing space. The costs for these projects vary widely, depending on complexity, technological features, and whether they require expanding the existing paved area. In many cases where streets have underused space, simple restriping of bike lanes and crosswalks can be implemented at relatively low cost. These projects typically improve safety for all users, while also expanding accessibility to a wide range of destinations and activities.

Infrastructure On- and Off-Street
This category includes projects with multiple components, including both on- and off-street elements.

Outreach, Education, and Marketing
This category includes many small projects designed to assist and encourage residents to increase walking and bicycling safety and activity. Activities include: maps, booths at local events, media announcements, guided walks and rides, training courses, personalized travel planning, safety awareness, enforcement, and comprehensive marketing campaigns. These relatively inexpensive projects complement the infrastructure program, providing information and encouragement to use new and existing facilities and change travel habits.

Planning
This category includes planning studies, some addressing bicycle and pedestrian improvements along specific corridors, and others focusing more comprehensively on community-wide nonmotorized needs. It also includes some bicycle and pedestrian data collection and study of improved bicycle and pedestrian access to transit. The planning studies have helped to identify and develop projects, some of which were later funded through NTPP. Strategic planning ensures high quality projects into the future, helping to institutionalize and "mainstream" nonmotorized transportation.



Expanding the Reach of NTPP Investments

The NTPP has offered many opportunities for the communities to work with a variety of partners, further deepening preexisting relationships and developing new ones. Partnerships with other governmental agencies, local businesses, universities, schools, and community groups have provided opportunities to try new and innovative projects, combine with other funding sources, and expand the reach of NTPP investments. Most Federal funding programs require a 20 percent match from local sources. Though no match was required of this pilot program, through fall 2010, NTPP projects have leveraged over $58 million in additional outside funding commitments. In addition to funding, pilot communities have also received "in-kind" donations of staff support, volunteer support, legal services, and easements toward the completion of their projects. Figure 4 shows the total outside leveraged funds for NTPP projects by project type.

Figure 4: Outside Funds Leveraged for NTPP Projects (as of December 2010)

Bar chart showing outside funds leveraged for NTPP projects (as of December 2010). Bike parking $180,000; infrastructure off-street $28,471,600; infrastructure on-street $22,515,300; infrastructure on-and off-street $2,375,514; outreach, education, and marketing $102,080.

Pilot Community Implementation Approaches

Each community took a different approach to program implementation and project selection. The direction for each community depended on multiple factors, including: the existing nonmotorized infrastructure, urban form, population and demographics, local needs, already identified projects or plans, opportunity to experiment with innovative projects, and ability to complete projects within program duration. While all of the communities invested heavily in infrastructure, communities with fewer existing facilities focused primarily on laying foundations for comprehensive nonmotorized networks, including through planning; in other settings, identifying barriers and addressing more complex gap-filling projects were most appropriate. All of the communities invested in planning, education, outreach, and marketing - these efforts were instrumental in helping to institutionalize nonmotorized transportation in each pilot community and continue the cultural shift in travel behavior.

The communities also used a variety of approaches for identifying projects to fund. Both Marin County and Columbia, with the benefit of existing comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plans, approved the vast majority of their projects all at once at the beginning of the program. This approach helped to minimize the time commitment required by citizen advisory committee members, and also helped keep more of the construction projects on track for completion by 2010. Minneapolis issued multiple calls for projects to enable a competitive process across 14 jurisdictions. This strategy also built a depth of institutional capacity and community support for more innovative designs and projects. Sheboygan County also issued multiple project calls to first develop a comprehensive bicycle-pedestrian plan and build community awareness of the goals of the program. While the process of issuing multiple calls for projects may have extended the schedule for full construction of NTPP projects, it also provided opportunities for additional education, outreach, and critical buy-in from stakeholders.

The following subsections discuss the implementation approach in each community.

GetAbout Columbia - experimental design and behavior change

Figure 5: GetAbout Columbia Budget

Pie chart showing the GetAbout Columbia budget. Infrastructure off-street 40 percent; infrastructure on-street 42 percent; outreach 15 percent; bike parking 2 percent.

The GetAbout Columbia philosophy is to promote a cultural change in travel behavior and attitude toward walking and bicycling, while providing the necessary infrastructure to support such a shift. The presence of a major university in Columbia offers many opportunities to encourage walking and bicycling, as many destinations are closer together and not all students have cars. Transitional times during the academic year provide opportunities to change travel habits and behavior, as they are times when other habits or routines may also be changing.

Program Investments

As with all of the communities, the bulk of NTPP funding in Columbia has gone toward infrastructure projects. GetAbout Columbia has placed a high priority on on-street infrastructure, taking advantage of the existing roadway network. A smaller number of off-street projects provide key strategic linkages, linking important community facilities and improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. A breakdown of the GetAbout Columbia budget is provided in Figure 5.

Infrastructure

Columbia has made significant investments in bicycling and walking infrastructure, utilizing both standard and experimental designs. Table 4 provides detail on planned and completed infrastructure.

Table 4: Planned and Completed Capital Projects in Columbia, MO

Element Miles/Spaces
(funded)
Miles/Spaces
(complete)*
% Complete*
Off-road shared-use paths 7.7 2.4 31%
On-street bicycle lanes 62 50 81%
On-street shared-lane markings 34 32 94%
Sidewalks and crosswalks 4.4 0.9 20%
Bicycle parking 1,130 1,130 100%

* as of August 2011

In addition to common, standard designs, Columbia has used the NTPP funding as an opportunity to experiment with other creative infrastructure and traveler information approaches. These are intended to improve safety, provide convenient information to travelers, and make best use of limited right-of-way and other resources. Examples of these innovations include:

The GetAbout Columbia bicycle rack program provided another opportunity for innovation; successfully concentrating new bicycle parking in the downtown area, promoting good access to businesses and destinations and supporting the local economy. The bicycle rack cost-sharing program between the city and local businesses allows the city to purchase the racks and loan them to local businesses, which in turn are responsible for installation and maintenance, and for ensuring that the racks are publicly accessible. As of summer 2011, 47 businesses had contributed 513 bicycle parking spaces in town. Figure 6 shows one location where the city was able to replace one automobile parking space with eight bicycle parking spaces.

Figure 6: Downtown Columbia Bike Parking Corral

A photograph of bikes parked at a bike rack in a former on-street parking space.

Education and Promotion

GetAbout Columbia has invested heavily in professional marketing that complements the infrastructure improvements. There are four key components to the promotion approach:

To build awareness, GetAbout Columbia invested in a professional branding and marketing campaign, which included advertisements on the radio, television, and in printed media. Community interest and concern over specific projects often brought "free" media attention, especially to this university town with a nationally known school of journalism. The various efforts were successful in building awareness; GetAbout Columbia conducted attitude and awareness surveys in 2007 and 2010. The surveys found an increase from 67 percent to 83 percent community awareness of the program and activities.

Moving into the future, GetAbout Columbia plans to continue trail projects and sidewalk gap closures, and focus heavily on continuing the use and evaluation of experimental designs.

WalkBikeMarin - filling gaps and leveraging partnerships and funds

Building off a long history of nonmotorized transportation advocacy and activity, WalkBikeMarin has focused the NTPP resources toward filling in key infrastructure gaps in the network, leveraging existing and emerging partnerships, and using strategic community outreach to complement infrastructure investments. These infrastructure gaps tended to be expensive projects that had not been undertaken previously because traditional grant sources tend to have scoring criteria that reward smaller projects.

Figure 7: WalkBikeMarin Investments

Pie chart showing the WalkBikeMarin investments. Infrastructure off-street 29 percent; infrastructure on-street 44 percent; infrastructure on-street and off-street 2 percent; outreach 6 percent; planning 16 percent; bike parking 3 percent.

The existing plans and citizens advisory committee process allowed WalkBikeMarin to quickly move forward with project selection, and identify the key areas in which to target NTPP funding for the biggest impact. These strategic investments - some very large and technically complicated - fill gaps in the existing nonmotorized transportation network and also support connections to transit for relatively long distance commutes.

Program Investments

As with all of the communities, the bulk of NTPP funding in Marin County has gone toward infrastructure projects. WalkBikeMarin has placed a high priority on closing existing gaps in its network, developing complete streets, incorporating appropriate on-street bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure into all new construction, and retrofits of existing facilities. A smaller number of off-street projects provide key strategic linkages, connecting to schools, ferries, commercial areas, and providing direct and more convenient routes for pedestrians and bicyclists. A breakdown of WalkBikeMarin's funding distribution is provided in Figure 7.

Infrastructure

WalkBikeMarin has made significant investments in bicycling and walking infrastructure, building projects with the County Department of Public Works and funding projects in the municipalities. WalkBikeMarin has been especially effective in leveraging funds to increase the magnitude of NTPP investments, both through compiling multiple sources for desired projects and incorporating nonmotorized components into larger projects. Many of the infrastructure projects undertaken have been relatively short distance gap closures, often in locations with high levels of engineering complexity, such as reconstruction of the Cal Park Hill railroad tunnel into a level rail-with-trail that connects two communities and is a segment of the North-South Bikeway, extending the length of the county. Further, innovative and collaborative projects were undertaken including mid-block stairway shortcuts in established neighborhoods, bicycle detection at traffic signals, improved transit connections, and multi-jurisdictional corridor studies. Table 5 provides detail on planned and completed infrastructure.

Table 5: Planned and Completed Capital Projects in Marin County, CA*

Element Miles
(funded)
Miles
(complete)*
% Complete*
Off-road shared-use paths 4.9 3.5 71%
On-street bicycle lanes 5.8 5.0 86%
On-street shared-lane markings 1.2 1.2 100%
Sidewalks and crosswalks 3.7 2.7 73%

* as of August 2011

Education and Promotion

WalkBikeMarin invested approximately $1 million in education and promotion programs to build awareness, skills, promote public health and safety, and provide incentives to encourage people to increase walking and bicycling.

Figure 8: Marin County Bus Advertisement

A photogprah of an advertisement on the back of a bus that say 'Put a Lid on It! Wear a Helmet,' with a picture of a helmet.

WalkBikeMarin undertook several safety-related and promotional activities by placing advertisements on buses (Figure 8), in newspapers and magazines. Educational programs included:

WalkBikeMarin interacted with thousands of people through informational booths at community events, and worked closely with households to provide personalized travel planning to assist with identifying ways to walk and bicycle more. Personal Travel Planning is a method of providing customized information, incentives, and motivation directly to individuals, to encourage more trips by foot, bike, bus, train or in shared cars. The "Way to Go" program reached over 14,450 households in four communities; with approximately 15 percent requesting customized information and/or participating program events. The program provided "Walk Bike Ride" maps to each town for walking, bicycling, and transit facilities, as well as other materials such as: newsletters, event calendars, local merchant coupon books, and transit schedules and maps. In all "Way to Go" communities, participants reported a decrease in discretionary automobile trips and increased walking and bicycling, especially for shopping and errands.[10]

WalkBikeMarin also partnered with the county's Health and Human Services department (HHS) by providing funding for the Wellness Collaborative to create the Walking and Biking Toolkit, a resource guide for businesses, nonprofits, and institutional organizations to encourage increased walking and bicycling by their staffs and clients. The collaborative has also been working to make the connection in the community between improved connectivity in the bicycle and pedestrian network and increased physical activity from driving less for everyday trips. In partnership with the CDC, pre- and post-project surveys are being conducted by HHS to evaluate the impacts of improved bicycling and pedestrian facilities connecting the community to three school campuses. From the mode change and distance traveled data, the levels of increased physical activity by the students along with improved air quality and reduced congestion will be measured.

Moving into the future, WalkBikeMarin places a high priority on continuing to fill in and build out the pedestrian and bicycle network; conducting outreach and educational programming; and completing the next phase of high priority corridor studies.

BikeWalk Twin Cities - transformational strategies and building capacity

Building off of extensive existing nonmotorized transportation infrastructure and advocacy, where the existing trail system and sidewalks were already built out, BWTC focused on innovation and on-street connections to complete the network. This required innovative street design and operations, and working with transportation professionals, elected officials, and citizens. All projects were guided by the following overarching program goals:

The TLC Board, with input from external advisors, developed strategic priorities to guide the development of solicitations and awards selection. Projects were submitted by jurisdictions in response to specific solicitation criteria, scored by technical experts, reviewed with recommendations by external advisers, and acted upon by the TLC Board. Project selection priorities included the following:

Program Investments

Figure 9: BikeWalk Twin Cities Investments

Pie chart showing the BikeWalk Twin Cities investments. Infrastructure off-street 28 percent; infrastructure on-street 45 percent; infrastructure on-street and off-street 14 percent; outreach 9 percent; planning 3 percent; bike parking 1 percent.

The BWTC has used several strategies to implement the pilot program. These strategies include providing grants to municipalities for infrastructure improvements, planning studies, and awareness campaigns. The BWTC has placed a high priority on relatively low-cost improvements that expand the use of existing roadway areas. The average award for the 21 projects identified as bicycle boulevards or operations where roadways are restriped to include bicycle lanes was less than $150,000. It has also focused on funding multiple planning studies, helping to develop high quality projects in each of the jurisdictional areas. With the most diverse population of the pilot communities, BWTC has placed special emphasis on reaching specific populations, including recreational walkers and cyclists, women, and underserved communities (low-income, people of color, immigrants, etc.). A breakdown of the BWTC investments is provided in Figure 9.

Infrastructure

The BWTC has made significant investments in bicycling and walking infrastructure in the region, through planning studies and funded construction projects. The BWTC has helped to push forward the state of the practice in the region, funding many "first-time" projects in the Minneapolis area, including:

Table 6 provides detail on planned and completed infrastructure.

Table 6: Planned and Completed Capital Projects in Minneapolis, MN

Element Miles/Spaces (funded) Miles/Spaces (complete)* % Complete*
Off-road shared-use paths 2.1 0.3 14%
On-street bicycle lanes 78.2 36.6 47%
On-street shared-lane markings 47.1 17.8 38%
Sidewalks and crosswalks 0.8 0.4 50%
Bicycle parking 3,097 2,831 91%
Bicycle sharing (stations/bicycles) 65/700 65/700 100%

* as of August 2011

In addition to BWTC funded projects, the program has also made significant contributions to expertise, experimentation, and new types of projects funded by the city and county. In several cases, BWTC has consulted on or helped to guide projects that were funded through other means. One significant example is the Franklin Avenue Bridge near the University of Minnesota campus, originally identified in part of a project award to Minneapolis. The bicycle improvements were later made as part of a scheduled county bridge and intersection improvement project, which, based upon the planned bicycle facilities, reduced travel lanes from four to two to accommodate bicycle lanes and a bicycle advance box.

Education and Promotion

The BWTC has also placed a strong emphasis on education and promotion, with special attention on outreach to traditionally underserved communities and those typically less engaged with nonmotorized transportation. One innovative example is the Bike/Walk Ambassadors Program, which provides information, presentations, clinics, workshops, and instructional courses on biking and walking as a part of everyday travel. The Ambassadors Program, housed within the city of Minneapolis Public Works Department, provides education and outreach to worksites, schools, higher education institutions, neighborhoods, and city staff. Bike Walk Ambassadors are available in a variety of capacities, with special focus on reaching youth, immigrant communities, communities of color, and women.

Moving into the future, BWTC places a high priority on continuing to enhance the network by filling gaps and providing new routes for access across the region, and also continuing extensive community outreach and communications through neighborhood marketing campaigns and education services.

Sheboygan County NOMO - building the network and the movement

At the beginning of NTPP, Sheboygan County had a strong culture of recreational bicycling, with very little infrastructure or cultural presence devoted to utilitarian bicycling. Many of the communities within the county had comprehensive sidewalk networks (and policies in place), though there were some important gaps remaining. The initial major activity of the Sheboygan County NOMO was to develop the first comprehensive county-wide pedestrian and bicycle plan and begin to build public support and awareness for prioritizing walking and bicycling for transportation. The plan identified priorities to guide investments through NTPP and beyond. It also provided guidelines and standards for pedestrian and bicycle facility design, and presented Wisconsin laws and policies related to nonmotorized transportation. The public process and the projects identified in the plan were used to guide the Sheboygan County NOMO.

Program Investments

Sheboygan County NOMO investments have focused on filling gaps, building the network, and broad education campaigns to build public support and awareness. The priorities have been to start with the relatively easy projects (both technically and politically), to develop a comprehensive network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. A breakdown of the Sheboygan County investments is provided in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Sheboygan County Investments

Pie chart showing the Sheboygan County investments. Infrastructure off-street 48 percent; infrastructure on-street 26 percent; infrastructure on-street and off-street 23 percent; outreach 1 percent; planning 0.2 percent; bike parking 2 percent.

Infrastructure

Sheboygan County NOMO has invested widely across the county, funding projects in 14 of 16 incorporated communities. Projects have focused primarily on building key network connections, with a strong emphasis on providing facilities near schools.

A signature project that will be constructed in 2012 is the development of a 1.7 mile multiuse path on a portion of abandoned Union Pacific rail corridor. The rail corridor, derelict for over 40 years, runs through the heart of the city and is accessible to many destinations by bicycle or foot. The area within 1 mile of this corridor includes 31 percent of the county population, 20 schools, 34 churches, over 90 manufacturers with over 5,300 employees, and many commercial businesses. The business community is excited that this neglected industrial area will again be a vibrant part of the city, and development of the project has led to several creative and exciting partnerships to help develop a dedicated maintenance fund for the trail. Table 7 provides detail on planned and completed infrastructure.

Table 7: Planned and Completed Capital Projects in Sheboygan County, WI

Element Miles/Spaces (funded) Miles/Spaces (complete)* % Complete*
Off-road shared-use paths 8.6 1.3 15%
On-street bicycle lanes 60 58 97%
On-street shared-lane markings and paved shoulders 22 3.4 15%
Sidewalks and crosswalks 14.2 5.4 38%
Bicycle parking 1,500 1,500 100%

* as of August 2011

Education and Promotion

Sheboygan has used a multipronged approach to promote walking and bicycling, including school and community programs, training classes, workshops, newsletters, media coverage, and use of volunteers. The NOMO program has funded numerous Safe Routes to School programs throughout the county, focusing on bicycle and pedestrian safety. These have included bicycle skills and safety classes in schools, walking school bus programs, and a safe routes plan developed for each school that identifies nearby hazardous areas and recommends countermeasures.

Sheboygan County NOMO has also focused on education for local professionals, most notably local law enforcement officials and municipal engineering staff. The NOMO partnered with the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Department and other local groups to develop and implement a variety of law enforcement training and outreach activities, including a 2-day course on bicycle and pedestrian safety and laws. The course provided opportunities for long-lasting relationships and partnership with the law enforcement community.

Moving into the future, Sheboygan County NOMO places a high priority on continuing key network expansion and connection projects, using more innovative design concepts and continuing to close gaps to provide time and distance advantages for walking and bicycling. One legacy of the program will be the training and exposure to best practices provided to local engineers. Whereas on-road pedestrian facilities were very basic and on-road bicycle facilities were nearly non-existent at the beginning of the program, the county now routinely considers sophisticated bicycle and pedestrian designs for all projects, including those not funded through NTPP.

Updated: 02/10/2014
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