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Designing for Nonmotorists

Policy, Planning, Programs, and Provisions for Pedal-Power, Pedestrians, and Paths

Photo of a group of people attending opening day and dedication of the Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway in Texas.

Photo from the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse
Mineral Wells to Weatherford Rail-Trail, Mineral Wells, TX.
Opening day and dedication of the Mineral Wells to Weatherford Rail Trail.
(Photo: Texas DOT).

Presented at the FHWA Field Engineers Learning & Development Seminar

April 20, 2010, Dallas, Texas

Revised May 14, 2012

Christopher Douwes, Trails and Enhancements Program Manager,
Federal Highway Administration


(Download Powerpoint Version / 2.1 MB)


Course Overview

Part 1: Policy, Planning, Programs, Provisions

  • Policy: This is Why we do what we do.
  • Planning: What we do, who does it, where and when we do it.
  • Programs: How we fund it.
  • Provisions: What is the result.

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Part 1: Policy, Planning, and Programs:

How do we treat nonmotorized transportation?

Photo of pedestrians walking on tight ledges and plywood bridges across great chasms.Photo of alligators on the side of a road. A sign reads 'HIKERS and BIKERS Move to the side of the road when a vehicle approaches'
Picture source: Claes Tingvall, Director of Road Safety for the Swedish Road Administration. http://www.slidefinder.net/t/swedish_model_vision/zero/modele_suedois/1896950 (slide 18).
Photo circulated by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

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Don't Embarrass the Agency or Yourself.

Then it was the DOT traffic engineer's turn....and I quote: "Since the bicyclists are always in the way of traffic, we need to figure out how to get them off the road." (or something very close to that :-]). I couldn't ignore the comment. I tried. Really I did. But I had to share: "Bicyclists and pedestrians are also traffic." The poor man didn't say one more word the rest of the meeting.

- A planner from the Heartland

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Laws, Regulations

  • 23 U.S.C. 217: Bicycle Transportation and Pedestrian Walkways
  • 23 U.S.C. 109(m): Protection of Nonmotorized Transportation Traffic
  • 23 U.S.C. 134 and 135: Planning
  • 23 U.S.C. 133: Surface Transportation Program
  • 23 CFR 652: Pedestrian and Bicycle Accommodations and Projects: Obsolete and superseded by subsequent law.

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Guidance

  • Nonmotorized Transportation Policy
  • USDOT Policy Issued on March 15, 2010.
  • FHWA Guidance - Bicycle and Pedestrian Provisions of Federal Transportation Legislation
  • Accessibility
  • Design
  • Planning
  • State Coordinators

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Information

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Why Should We Care?

  • The Federal Surface Transportation Program is the largest fund source for shared use paths and trails.
  • $790 million in FY 2011 (under 2% of highway funds).
  • Pedestrians are 10.5% of trips; bicyclists are 1.0%.
  • Pedestrians are 12% of highway fatalities, 67% occur on Federal-aid highways. Bicyclists are 2%.
  • About $200 to $300 million/year for trails, including $70 to $90 million/year for recreational trails.
  • Bicycling and walking benefit economies and health.

See: Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding: www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/funding/bipedfund.cfm. Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) raise funding to over $1 billion for FY 2009 and 2010.

Number of trips:

Fatalities:

Bicycling and walking economics:

Bicycling and walking economics and health: www.peoplepoweredmovement.org/site/index.php/site/memberservices/2012_benchmarking_report/

Health focus: www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/

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Why Should We Care?

Trails can be part of the overall transportation solution.

School info: How Children Get to School: School Travel Patterns from 1969 to 2009, National Center for Safe Routes to School. http://saferoutesinfo.org/program-tools/NHTS-school-travel-1969-2009. Personal vehicles taking K-12th grade students to school accounted for 5 to 7 percent of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and 10 to 14 percent of all personal vehicle trips made during the morning peak period in 2009.

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Nonmotorized Transportation Policy

United States Department of Transportation

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Nonmotorized Transportation Policy

The DOT policy is to incorporate safe and convenient walking and bicycling facilities into transportation projects. Every transportation agency, including DOT, has the responsibility to improve conditions and opportunities for walking and bicycling and to integrate walking and bicycling into their transportation systems. Because of the numerous individual and community benefits that walking and bicycling provide - including health, safety, environmental, transportation, and quality of life - transportation agencies are encouraged to go beyond minimum standards to provide safe and convenient facilities for these modes.

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California Policy Example

"The Department views all transportation improvements as opportunities to improve safety, access, and mobility for all travelers in California and recognizes bicycle, pedestrian, and transit modes as integral elements of the transportation system." Providing safe mobility for all users, including motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders, contributes to the Department's mission/vision: "Improving Mobility Across California".

Successful long-term implementation of this policy is intended to result in:

  • More options for people to go from one place to another,
  • Less traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions,
  • More walkable communities (with healthier, more active people), and,
  • Fewer barriers for older adults, children, and people with disabilities.

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California Policy Example

  • Economically, complete streets can help revitalize communities, and they can give families the option to lower transportation costs by using transit, walking or bicycling rather than driving to reach their destinations.
  • The Department is actively engaged in implementing its complete streets policy in all planning, programming, design, construction, operations, and maintenance activities and products on the State Highway System.
  • www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp/offices/ocp/complete_streets.html

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FHWA Accessibility Guidance

  • FHWA's Oversight Role in Accessibility: The FHWA is responsible for implementation of pedestrian access requirements from the ADA and Section 504. This is accomplished through stewardship and oversight over all Federal, State, and local governmental agencies ("public agencies") that build and maintain highways and roadways, whether or not they use Federal funds on a particular project.
  • FHWA Accessibility Resource Library: www.fhwa.dot.gov/accessibility/
  • Recommendation: Go to the Accessible Design Course.

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FHWA Design Guidance

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Protection of Nonmotorized Transportation Traffic

  • 23 U.S.C. 109(m)
  • (m) Protection of Nonmotorized Transportation Traffic.--The Secretary shall not approve any project or take any regulatory action under this title that will result in the severance of an existing major route or have significant adverse impact on the safety for nonmotorized transportation traffic and light motorcycles, unless such project or regulatory action provides for a reasonable alternate route or such a route exists.

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Planning for Nonmotorized Transportation

Photo of a 7-seat bicyle
Conference photo: Available on many websites.
Search for "conference bike photo".

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Planning: Livability

Livability means "being able to take your kids to school, go to work, see a doctor, drop by the grocery or post office, go out to dinner and a movie, and play with your kids at the park, all without having to get into your car."

- Secretary of Transportation - Ray LaHood

Photo of people crossing the street

Photo from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.
Location: La Mesa, California
Taken in 2006 by Dan Burden

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Planning

  • Each State DOT must have a State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.
  • Nonmotorized transportation must be considered in all transportation plans.
  • Nonmotorized transportation planning should be funded as part of normal statewide and metropolitan planning.
  • No requirement to build, but...

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Planning: 23 U.S.C. 217(g)

  • "Bicyclists and pedestrians shall be given due consideration in the comprehensive transportation plans developed by each metropolitan planning organization and State.
  • "Bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways shall be considered, where appropriate, in conjunction with all new construction and reconstruction and transportation facilities, except where bicycle and pedestrian use are not permitted."
  • "Transportation plans and projects shall provide due consideration for safety and contiguous routes for bicyclists and pedestrians."

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Planning: 23 U.S.C. 134 & 135

Specific requirements for the TIPs/STIPs include:

  • The process in developing the long-range statewide and metropolitan transportation plans and transportation improvement plans is to consider "...all modes of transportation..." (23 U.S.C.134(c)(3) and 135(a)(3))
  • The long-range metropolitan and statewide transportation plans are to "provide for the development and implementation of the intermodal transportation system". (23 U.S.C. 134(i)(2) and 135(f)(1))

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Planning

  • SAFETEA-LU added "representatives of users of pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities" to the list of "interested parties" with whom metropolitan areas and States must include in the development of the long range metropolitan and statewide transportation plan. (23 U.S.C 134(i)(5) and 135(f)(3)(A))
  • Bicyclists and pedestrians shall be given due consideration in the comprehensive transportation plans developed by each metropolitan planning organization and State..." (23 U.S.C. 217(g)(1))
  • www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/bp-guid.cfm#bp7

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Programs

How to fund nonmotorized transportation?

Photo of a walkable downtown area with playgrounds and shopping.

Photo from the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse.

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Programs

  • Nonmotorized transportation facilities are eligible for all Federal-aid and Federal Lands Highway fund categories.
    • $790 million in FY 2011 (less than 2% of Federal-aid highway funds).
    • About $200 to $300 million/year for trails, including $70 to $90 million/year for recreational trails.

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Federal-Aid Highway Program Funding for Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities and Programs
FY 1992 to 2011 (Millions of Dollars)

Graph showing Annual Obligations in Millions of Dollars. Total Obligations - 1992:$22.9 1993:$33.7 1994:$112.6 1995:$178.6 1996:$197.2 1997:$238.8 1998:$216.5 1999:$204.2 2000:$296.7 2001:$339.1 2002:$415.9 2003:$422.7 2004:$427.1 2005:$399.9 2006:$394.9 2007:$564.0 2008:$541.0 2009:$1,188.6 2010:$1,036.6. Including SRTS &  NTPP Obligations - 2006:$17.5  2007:$45.7  2008:$91.2  2009:$118.2  2010:$117.2, and Including ARRA funds - 2010:$444.2.

Graph: Gabe Rousseau, Federal Highway Administration Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager.
Data: FHWA Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS).

See more information, including State-by-State information, at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/funding/bipedfund.cfm.
Note: The Federal Fiscal Year is from October 1 through September 30. FY 2012 began October 1, 2011, and continues until September 30, 2012.

TE: Transportation Enhancement Activities
SRTS: Safe Routes to School Program
NTPP: Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program
ARRA: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provided 2 years of supplemental funding for economic stimulus purposes.
Definitions.

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Federal Lands Highway Program

  • Federal Lands Highway Program funds may be used for nonmotorized transportation projects: 23 U.S.C. 217(c).
    • National Park Service has been reluctant...
    • Forest Service has been less reluctant...
    • Fish & Wildlife Service dedicates about 5%.
    • Public Lands Highways Discretionary gets earmarked...

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Federal-aid Highway Program

  • All Federal-aid Highway Program funds may be used for nonmotorized transportation projects.
  • Interstate Maintenance: Example: walkway under or over an Interstate.
  • National Highway System: Projects that benefit an NHS Corridor.
  • Bridge: For nonmotorized transportation on any eligible bridge project.

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Federal-aid Highway Program

  • Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Improve air quality.
  • Surface Transportation Program: Eligible for all STP funds. May be located anywhere (not only on Federal-aid highways).
    • Transportation Enhancement Activities (A 10% subset of STP. See more information below.).
  • Highway Safety Improvement Program: Eligible for all HSIP funds. May be located anywhere (not only on Federal-aid highways).

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Federal-aid Highway Program

  • Safe Routes to School: within about 2 miles of elementary or middle school. Located anywhere.
  • Recreational Trails Program: recreational trails (motorized or nonmotorized). No transportation requirement; may include motorized trails.
  • Discretionary Programs
    • Borders & Corridors; Ferry Boat; National Scenic Byways; Transportation, Community, and System Preservation; Public Lands Highways.

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Federal-aid Highway Program

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Transportation Enhancement Activities

TE projects must relate to surface transportation and be eligible under one or more of 12 Eligible Categories:

1) Pedestrian and bicycle facilities
2) Pedestrian and bicycle safety and education
3) Scenic or historic easements and sites
4) Scenic or historic highway programs
5) Landscaping and scenic beautification
6) Historic preservation
7) Historic transportation buildings, structures, or facilities
8) Rail-trail conversions
9) Inventory, control, and removal of outdoor advertising
10) Archaeological planning and research
11) Mitigate highway water pollution and wildlife mortality
12) Transportation museums

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Transportation Enhancement Activities

  • Single largest source of Federal-aid funding for trails and nonmotorized transportation in the US.
  • Reasonable amenities may be eligible:
    • Curb extensions, pedestrian crosswalks, curb cuts;
    • Benches, bus shelters, pedestrian plazas;
    • Trees, landscaping, lighting;
    • Bicycle parking
  • Enhancements are enhancements: Not a substitute for normal environmental mitigation.
Recommendation:
  • Use native plants.
  • Avoid excessive lighting.

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Transportation Enhancement Obligations

Pie Chart: Click image for text description.

Source: National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse.
This pie chart (through FY 2008) was presented during the training.
See the latest figures at www.enhancements.org/publications.asp.

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Provisions

Photo of one small cat walking past a line of German Shepherds.
Are pedestrians and bicyclists comfortable on your highway system?

Photo: Source unknown. See http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=38943 for the story behind the photo. One comment: "It has been circulated for many years and in newspapers and last time someone investigated it (can't recall if it was Snopes or Museum of Hoaxes) it was indeed a photo from police or military dog training."

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Provisions

Photo of pedestrians walking on tight ledges and plywood bridges across great chasms.
Picture source: Claes Tingvall,
Director of Road Safety for the Swedish Road Administration.
www.slidefinder.net/T/Swedish_Model_Vision/Zero/1896950 (slide 18).

How secure do
pedestrians feel?



Is it like walking next to
cliffs, with plywood boards
for bridges?


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Provisions

If you build a facility...

  • Make sure it works for all users.
    • Accommodate pre-existing legal users.
    • Ensure Accessibility: to be covered in the Accessible Design course.
    • Ensure construction to standards: Verify!
    • Maintain facilities for nonmotorized users to the same degree as motorized users.

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Which Uses are Allowed?

Photo of Christopher standing next to a lifesize model horse and holding a sign that says 'Surface Transportation? You bet it is!'
  • Who are nonmotorized transportation users?
  • No Federal law or regulation prohibits equestrian use.
  • Motorized vehicles: generally not permitted, but some exceptions...
  • Electric vehicles: it depends...


See Equestrian and Other Nonmotorized Use on Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities.
Photo of Christopher Douwes (Session Presenter), Trails and Enhancements Program Manager, Federal Highway Administration, at the Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference, July 10, 2009.

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Bicycles on Freeways?

QUESTION:
Can bicycles use Interstate Highways or other freeways?

ANSWER:
It depends on State law.
Most western States allow bicycles, with some exceptions in urban areas..
Major bridges often have separate facilities...

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Traffic Control Devices

  • The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices applies to nonmotorized transportation facilities:
  • http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/
  • See MUTCD Part 9 - Traffic Control for Bicycle Facilities (1.25MB)
  • Purely recreational trails: Use judgment.
  • Snowmobiles: see www.snowiasa.org.

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Questions, Comments, etc.???

Photo of a fence made out of twisted bicycles.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Hayworth, FHWA Tennessee Division
(now FHWA Mississippi Division bridge engineer)

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Updated: 02/10/2014
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