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Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program: 2014 Report

Executive Summary

This report summarizes the progress and results of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) from August 2005 through December 2013. Section 1807 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) provided approximately $25 million in contract authority to four pilot communities (Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis area, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin) for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and nonmotorized programs.

In response to evaluation and reporting requirements in the legislation, the FHWA submitted two reports to Congress: an interim report in 2007 and a final report in 2012. The Interim Report to Congress outlined an evaluation plan for NTPP and initial program progress. The Final Report to Congress reported the results of four years of data collection on program implementation, transportation mode shift towards walking and bicycling, and related health and environmental benefits. This report represents an update to the findings in the Final Report to Congress with evaluation of three additional years of data, reflecting additional projects that have been completed since the 2012 report. This report also expands the scope of analysis to further consider priority themes of access, environment, safety, and public health.

Key outcomes from NTPP described in this report include:

Since authorization of the NTPP in 2005, interest and investment in nonmotorized transportation has grown dramatically around the country. Walking and bicycling as transportation, once the purview of a few U.S. cities and a peripheral issue for transportation practitioners, is increasingly a focus for policymakers, planners, and engineers throughout the U.S. With increasing emphasis on creating more livable communities, the public has grown to expect walking and bicycling options within the transportation system that are safe, equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically efficient. Looking forward, the NTPP leaves a legacy of:

Program Introduction

The Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP), established in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) provided approximately $25 million1 each to four pilot communities (Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis area, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin) for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and nonmotorized programs. This investment provided the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) with an opportunity to work with the four pilot communities to implement a suite of focused nonmotorized projects within relatively limited geographic areas and to evaluate their impacts to provide insights for peer communities nationwide. SAFETEA-LU Section 1807 sought 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."

SAFETEA-LU Section 1807 enabled each pilot community to determine how best to program funds given their experience with nonmotorized transportation, unique geographic and demographic contexts, and community priorities. As a result, each community developed its own set of program priorities and approach to implementation. The purpose of the summary in this section is to:

To respond to evaluation requirements in the legislation, FHWA and the pilot communities created a Working Group (WG) to coordinate implementation of the program and develop a common methodology for data collection and analysis across the four pilots (see Appendix A for a list of WG members). With funding from the FHWA and program budgets of individual communities, the WG developed a collaborative approach to data collection and evaluation relying on directly collected data and supplementary national, State, and local data sources. The WG developed and implemented evaluation approaches to assess the travel behavior impacts of nonmotorized investments, grounded in a community-wide count approach following the National Pedestrian and Bicycle Demonstration Project methodology.

Pursuant to the legislation, the FHWA submitted two reports to Congress: an interim report in 2007 and a final report in 2012.2,3 The Interim Report to Congress outlines an evaluation plan for NTPP and initial program progress. The WG then implemented the evaluation plan and reported the results of four years of data collection in the Final Report to Congress through 2010. The evaluation focused on program implementation, transportation mode shift towards walking and bicycling, and related health and environmental benefits. The WG decided to continue the evaluation as NTPP projects approached completion. This report represents an update to the findings in the Final Report to Congress with evaluation of three additional years of data. This report also expands the scope of analysis to further consider priority themes of access, environment, health, and safety.

Using community bookend counts collected over the course of seven years (2007-2013), the WG modeled annual changes in nonmotorized trips and vehicle miles averted. These estimates contributed to a community-wide and program-level evaluation of NTPP investments, pointing to positive environmental, economic, health, and safety benefits of the pilot. Each community also selected a small subset of projects and programs to receive more in-depth evaluation. The WG's analysis reveals improved local accessibility and safety and increased use of active transportation over the measurement period. Non-infrastructure projects resulted in training and outreach for thousands of participants, improving the awareness of nonmotorized transportation issues and directly benefiting a diverse array of community members.

Updated: 5/30/2014
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