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Summary of Federal Highway Administration Pedestrian and Bicycle Research and Program Activities

Prepared for TRB 2014

Federal Highway Administration
Pedestrian & Bicycle Activities
January 2014

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Federal Highway Administration

This document describes recent, ongoing, and upcoming efforts for the following Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Offices and Contacts:

FHWA Office of Human Environment
Contacts:

Federal-Aid Funds for Pedestrian and Bicycle Programs and Projects: States obligated $676 million in Federal-aid highway program funds for bicycle and pedestrian programs and projects in FY 2013, (including all Safe Routes to School and Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program funds), a decrease from $854 million in FY 2012. Bicycle and pedestrian funding was less than 2.0% of Federal-aid highway program funding in FY 2013 (~$40 billion). See www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/funding/bipedfund.cfm.

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) retained broad eligibility for pedestrian and bicycle activities for all Federal-aid highway program funds, but did not dedicate any funds for pedestrian and bicycle activities. MAP-21 did not make any significant changes to the Federal statute relating to Bicycle Transportation and Pedestrian Walkways (23 U.S.C. 217). MAP-21 consolidated three of the most-used fund sources for pedestrian and bicycle projects, the Transportation Enhancement (TE) Activities, Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS), and Recreational Trails Program (RTP), into the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). MAP-21 funded the TAP at about the same level as TE previously. FHWA posted Transportation Alternatives Program Guidance on its MAP-21 Guidance page. Any project eligible under TAP also is eligible under the larger Surface Transportation Program (STP). [See the Safe Routes to School report below.]

Research: The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) did not reauthorize the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). For more information about FHWA’s research program under MAP-21, see FHWA’s Highway Research and Development Program Fact Sheet, FHWA State Planning and Research Fact Sheet, and FHWA’s Research, Technology, and Education Provisions Presentation.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Research and Technical Assistance Activities

Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design Flexibility

FHWA issued a Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design Flexibility memorandum dated August 20, 2013. This memorandum expresses the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) support for taking a flexible approach to bicycle and pedestrian facility design. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) bicycle and pedestrian design guides are the primary national resources for planning, designing, and operating bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Designing Urban Walkable Thoroughfares guide builds upon the flexibilities provided in the AASHTO guides, which can help communities plan and design safe and convenient facilities for pedestrian and bicyclists. FHWA supports the use of these resources to further develop nonmotorized transportation networks, particularly in urban areas. The memo also lists FHWA staff with national responsibilities related to bicycle and pedestrian activities.

Cycle Track Planning and Design

The FHWA Office of Human Environment’s Livability Team initiated a research project focused on the planning and design of cycle tracks. The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center was selected as the prime consultant for the project. FHWA formed a Technical Working Group to actively participate in the study process. It includes representatives from cities, State DOTs, and MPOs throughout the US, as well as organizational representatives from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and the League of American Bicyclists’ (LAB) Equity Initiative. This research will include a detailed safety and mode share analysis, while also highlighting cycle track planning and design considerations. By evaluating the full range of design options, safety studies, and qualitative input from practitioners, it will also inform the planning, design, and safety outcomes of future cycle tracks. The research project is expected to be completed in Fall 2014.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Updates to the Traffic Monitoring Guide (TMG)

The most recent release of the TMG includes recommendations for conducting bicycle and pedestrian counts, and specifies a standard set of data fields for reporting the counts. FHWA already maintains a system called the Traffic Monitoring Analysis System (TMAS) which receives raw data from automatic motorized vehicle collection programs, vehicle classification counts, and weigh-in-motion counters, and computes basic reports from those data sets. A project funded by FHWA will modify TMAS to receive and report on bicycle and pedestrian counts based on the TMG format. Those enhancements will be included in the next version of TMAS (Version 3.0), which is schedule to be released in early 2015. In addition, a pilot project for a regional count database will soon get underway at Portland State University, with FHWA support.

FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Work Group

An FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Work Group is meeting biweekly to coordinate ongoing and planned pedestrian and bicycle initiatives and includes representatives from Human Environment, Planning, Policy, Infrastructure, Resource Center, Operations, Safety, Research, and Civil Rights.

Interim Approval for Bicycle Signals

FHWA issued an Interim Approval for bicycle signal faces on December 24, 2013. These signals will be commonly referred to as “IA-16” by MUTCD users. More information is available on the Interim Approval page of FHWA’s MUTCD website at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/res-interim_approvals.htm.

Statewide and MPO Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan Assessment

This ongoing project will highlight successful examples of linkages between statewide and MPO plans and policies and pedestrian and bicycle network creation. The project is synthesizing typical plan elements, key considerations, and examples of good sections of existing statewide pedestrian and bike plans, while also highlighting the use of GIS to improve pedestrian and bicycle planning and outcomes.

Pedestrian Bicycle Information Center (PBIC):

In 2011, FHWA awarded a cooperative agreement to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Highway Safety Research Center to operate the national bicycling and walking clearinghouse, known as the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC). FHWA will be working closely with the PBIC to develop and provide webinars, white papers, case studies, and other material to support walking and bicycling throughout the U.S. See PBIC’s report for more information.

Recreational Trails Program (RTP): The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) reauthorized the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) through Federal fiscal years 2013 and 2014 as a set-aside from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The RTP provides funds through a cooperative agreement with American Trails for the National Trails Training Partnership, a clearinghouse for trail training, see www.NTTP.net.

FHWA posts trail publications, including several Forest Service trail publications and DVDs, at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/publications/. Many of these publications were developed with RTP support. The RTP also supports trail-related conferences: www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/events/rtevents.cfm.

Internet reference iconUpdated Websites: FHWA’s Livability Team updates its websites frequently:

Some Bicycle and Pedestrian Guidance highlights:

FHWA Safety Technologies Activities
Contacts:

Safety Products Under Development or Ongoing

BIKESAFE: FHWA is currently updating the Bicycle Countermeasure Selection System (BIKESAFE), which will provide practitioners with the latest information available for improving the safety and mobility of those who bicycle. The new version of BIKESAFE should be completed in early summer 2014.

Bicycle Safer Journey: Videos are being developed for use by educators and parents to help teach children about safe bicycle use. The videos for children are being produced in English and Spanish and they are expected to be completed in 2014.

Pedestrian Forum: The Office of Safety produces a quarterly newsletter that focuses on pedestrian safety. The current (and previous issues) can be viewed here (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/pedforum/) and you can subscribe by visiting this site: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/esubscribe.cfm#ped.

Pedestrian Safety Focus States and Cities: Since 2004, FHWA’s Safety Office has been working to aggressively reduce pedestrian deaths by focusing extra resources on the cities and States with the highest pedestrian fatalities and/or fatality rates. The States and cities were revised in late 2011 to what you currently see in this map. Pedestrian focus cities were selected based on the number of pedestrian fatalities or the pedestrian fatality rate per population. Cities were identified as pedestrian focus cities if they had more than 20 average annual pedestrian fatalities or a pedestrian fatality rate greater than 2.33 per 100,000 population (the annual national average number of pedestrian fatalities is 20 and the average national rate of pedestrian fatalities is 2.33 per 100,00 population). States with a focus city were automatically identified as focus States. We have been offering free technical assistance and courses to each of the States and cities, and free bimonthly webinars on subjects of interest.

Recent Safety Products

Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety: The Guide provides guidance for maintaining pedestrian facilities with the primary goal of increasing safety and mobility. The Guide addresses the needs for pedestrian facility maintenance; common maintenance issues; inspection, accessibility, and compliance; maintenance measurers; funding; and construction techniques to reduce future maintenance (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/tools_solve/fhwasa13037/). The accompanying research report is also available online (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/tools_solve/fhwasa13037/research_report/).

Pedestrian Safer Journey: (http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/pedsaferjourney/) These resources help educators, parents and others who care about pedestrian safety get the conversation started with children and youth. Three videos - one for each of three age groups - accompanied by a quiz or discussion and an educator's resource library can be used as an introduction to pedestrian safety skills or to augment a comprehensive curriculum.

FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Research (Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center)
Contacts:

Safety Research Activities in Progress

FHWA Pedestrian Safety Program Strategic Plan: Note that this is a joint activity between FHWA’s Safety Research and Safety Design teams. The project description can be found in the Safety Technologies section of this document.

Evaluation of Pedestrians Safety Engineering Countermeasures at Urban and Suburban Midblock Crossing Locations: The goals of this research effort are to improve pedestrian safety at urban and suburban midblock crossing locations by identifying and evaluating low- to medium-cost pedestrian countermeasures to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries at these locations. This project will be completed by summer 2015.

Evaluation of Safety Treatments for Pedestrian Crossing: Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon, Circular Rapid Flashing Beacon, and Raised Crosswalks: This effort will develop and analyze pedestrian and driver behaviors regarding Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) and the operational tradeoffs for different locations of PHBs. Additional research will begin to identify the impacts of beacon/LED characteristics, such as size or flash pattern, being used or considered for Pedestrian Crossing signs, and determine the safety effectiveness of raised crosswalks. This project will be completed by summer 2016.

Ongoing In-House Safety Research Projects

Human Factors Assessment of Pedestrian Midblock Behavior: This research effort is to develop a rule-based analytical framework from which areas prone to midblock crossings. Identified roadway and pedestrian factors that will feed into an analytical framework that can help identify areas prone to midblock crossing. This project was completed August 2013.

Completed Research Reports:

Copies of the completed research reports are available upon request to: ann.do@dot.gov.

Safe Routes to School 2013 Activities
Contact:

Note: Effective October 1, 2012, oversight of the Federal Safe Routes to School Program transferred from the FHWA Office of Safety to the FHWA Office of Human Environment.

FHWA entered into a 3-year cooperative agreement with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center to operate the National Center for Safe Routes to School (National Center), which serves as the clearinghouse for the Federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program. Below are highlights of activities the National Center conducted in 2013.

Tracking the Federal SRTS Program
Tracking Briefs are produced quarterly to provide information about State SRTS programs with a focus on funding award announcements. Highlights from the report ending September 30, 2013 include:

Federally Funded Project List and Map
This searchable list is updated twice yearly and is organized by State, project type, year, amounts, and recipient schools, http://apps.saferoutesinfo.org/project_list/.

Program Data Collection
To both facilitate local program planning and monitoring and to inform a national-level understanding of progress of the SRTS program, standardized data collection forms and data processing are provided by the National Center.

Research Program
The National Center is engaged both in conducting research and evaluation of the SRTS program and
working with researchers across the country to provide assistance in State evaluations of SRTS programs.

Technical Assistance
Technical assistance occurs primarily through educational resource development, training and support for State and local SRTS Coordinators. The website www.saferoutesinfo.org is the central distribution mechanism for SRTS technical assistance. A second website www.walkbiketoschool.org (formerly www.walktoschool.org) serves as support for Walk and Bike to School Day activities. Technical assistance highlights in 2013 include:

Trainings

Peer Exchange Program

Annual State Safe Routes to School Coordinators Meeting

Marketing and Outreach
The National Center has served as the national coordination organization for National Walk to School Day since 2006. In 2012 the National Center launched the first National Bike to School Day. Marketing highlights include:

Updated: 02/10/2014
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