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Third-Year Report, TCSP Projects

2. TCSP Projects

To characterize the range of projects funded in FY 1999 through 2001, TCSP projects are categorized according to the following characteristics:

The 199 TCSP projects awarded in FY 1999, 2000, and 2001 are listed in Appendix A.

Type of Grantee

Counties and cities represent the most common type of grantee (94 projects, or 55 percent of known grantee types) in the first three fiscal years of the program. MPOs represent the second largest type (33, or 19 percent). Twenty-five projects (14 percent) were awarded to State DOTs. A small number of grants were also awarded to other State agencies, tribal governments, and transit agencies. In a few cases, a joint application was submitted by more than one lead agency. Based on a more detailed analysis of the 524 TCSP letters of intent received for FY 1999, the distribution of agencies applying for funds was similar to the distribution of agencies awarded funds.

The mix of grantees has changed significantly as the TCSP program has progressed. For example, the share of grants awarded to cities and counties grew from 40 percent in 1999 to 51 percent in 2001. At the same time, the share of grants awarded to MPOs decreased dramatically, from 48 percent in 1999 to 17 percent in 2000, and only two percent in 2001. Also in 2001, a number of grants (14 percent) were awarded to other governmental organizations such as universities and economic development agencies. In a few cases, non-governmental organizations such as environmental or community groups have taken the lead in initiating a project, partnering with a governmental organization to apply for the grant and carry out the project.

TCSP Projects by Type of Grantee
Pie chart showing percent of TCSP projects by type of grantee.

Area Type

Area types include:

Ninety projects (46 percent) awarded funds in years 1999, 2000, and 2001were located in urban settings, 13 projects (seven percent) in suburban settings, and 47 projects (24 percent) in small town/rural settings. Most of the remainder (45 projects, or 23 percent) were of a regional nature. (A small number of projects were statewide in nature and not associated with a particular region.) This mix has changed significantly, however, over the first three years of the TCSP program. The share of projects in urban settings more than doubled from 26 percent in FY 1999 to 57 percent in FY 2001, and the share of projects in small town or rural settings also increased from 11 percent to 27 percent. In contrast, the share of projects that are of a regional nature declined from 57 percent of all FY 1999 projects to only seven percent of all FY 2001 projects.

TCSP Projects by Area Type
Bar chart showing percent of TCSP projects by area type and regional, and Fiscal Year.

Area Size

Areas receiving grants are classified as:

Just over three-fifths of grants (125) in FY 1999, 2000, and 2001 were awarded to agencies in metropolitan areas, with the majority of these (76) awarded to agencies in large metropolitan areas. The share of projects located in large metropolitan areas has declined, however, from 46 percent of all projects in FY 1999 to 30 percent of all projects in FY 2001. During this same time period, the share of projects located in non-metropolitan areas grew from 17 percent to 42 percent. The average dollar award per project was similar across area sizes.

TCSP Projects by Area Size
Pie chart showing percent of TCSP projects by area size.

Type of Project

TCSP projects are categorized according to a variety of types. Project types and corresponding examples of "typical" TCSP projects include:

Each project was identified as having a "primary" project type and up to two secondary types. For example, a corridor planning project might also have a significant and innovative public involvement component. Overall, the most common primary project types included corridor/area planning (46, or 26 percent of known projects), bicycle/pedestrian facilities or traffic calming (36, or 20 percent), regional planning (20, or 11 percent), and transit (18, or 10 percent). Including secondary as well as primary project types, a significant number of projects (more than 10 percent each) also include components of public involvement and outreach, urban revitalization, highway/road design or construction, and the development of modeling tools.

Comparing project types across years shows a significant decline in projects that include regional planning, transit-oriented development, modeling tool development, and innovative public involvement approaches. While more than half of all FY 1999 projects included one or more of these components, almost none were included in FY 2001 projects. Conversely, there was a strong increase in projects with components of bicycle/pedestrian/ traffic calming (from 14 percent in FY 1999 to 31 percent in FY 2001), highway/road projects (from zero to 14 percent), and freight (from three to 10 percent). (It should be noted that 24 percent of FY 2001 projects could not be characterized with a specific type, because insufficient information was available about the project.) This trend can be characterized in general terms as a shift away from multimodal, area-wide planning efforts and planning methods, and toward the design and implementation of specific projects.

TCSP Projects by Project Type
Bar chart showing total number of TCSP projects by project type and fiscal year.

Type of Product

Each project is identified as having up to two types of products, one primary and one secondary. These product types include:

Among the FY 1999 and 2000 TCSP projects, the most common primary products were plans or planning studies (60 projects or 51 percent), with actual construction projects (28 or 24 percent) and handbooks/guidebooks (19 or 16 percent) also common. A smaller number of projects involved a research study or the development of a modeling tool.

The share of products in these years resulting in plans (as a primary or secondary product) remained stable, but the share of projects including actual construction increased from 11 percent to 32 percent. Five projects with a research emphasis were funded in 2000, while none were funded in 1999. In contrast, the share of projects resulting in handbooks or guidebooks decreased from 40 percent to 13 percent. The share of projects resulting in quantitative models also decreased from 11 percent to six percent.

TCSP Projects by Product Type
Bar chart showing total number of TCSP projects by product type.
Note: Some projects my be classified in more than one category.

Funding by Project Characteristic

In addition to examining the total number of projects by characteristic, the total funded grant amount also was tabulated by area size, area type, and grantee type to see if there are significant differences in the average size of the award by any of these characteristics.

Across all projects, the average dollar value of the award remained stable between FY 1999 and FY 2000, at $375,000 and $370,000 per award, respectively, but increased in FY 2001 to $586,000 per award. The average dollar value of awards to cities and counties increased over this three-year time period but remained stable or declined for other agency types.

Average Award Value of TCSP Grants by Year
Bar chart showing average award value of TCSP grants by Fiscal Year.


TCSP projects have been initiated primarily by MPOs, cities, and counties, but also in some cases by State DOTs and tribal governments. The geographic diversity of projects has been broad, with projects centered in both large and small urban areas as well as rural areas, and located throughout the United States. Some projects have focused on the relationships between transportation and community throughout a region, while others have focused on a specific site, neighborhood, or transportation corridor. Most site-specific projects have been located in urban settings or small towns, rather than suburban areas, reflecting the program’s emphasis on redeveloping and revitalizing older areas with existing infrastructure.

The types of projects funded have ranged from regional land use and transportation visioning exercises to the renovation or construction of an intermodal transit facility. Different projects have attempted to achieve TCSP’s five objectives in different yet related ways - by facilitating alternative modes of transportation, promoting more compact and pedestrian-friendly development, encouraging infill and redevelopment of urban centers, and affecting the design of transportation and development to reduce environmental impacts and better integrate with the community.

The products of these projects most often are a planning study, plan, or proposed design, although many grants have funded the actual construction of a facility. A number of TCSP projects also are producing "best practices" handbooks or planning models for transportation and/or land development, not only for use locally but also for the use of other communities.

There is a clear shift over the first three years of the program toward local projects, such as local area plans or facility construction, and away from projects of a regional nature, such as regional visioning and planning. This shift also is reflected in the types of grantees; consistent with a decline in the share of regionally-focused projects to almost zero in FY 2001, the share of grants awarded to MPOs has declined to almost zero while the share awarded to cities and counties has increased. Along with this shift in the geographic scale of projects has come an increased emphasis on project implementation rather than planning, with the proportion of grants dedicated to construction projects growing significantly. While a sizeable number of earmarked projects are still for planning activities, the nature of these activities has shifted away from regional transportation and land use policy issues and also away from the development of planning tools, methods, and handbooks. In their place has been a shift towards more locality-specific corridor, area, or neighborhood-level planning, with an emphasis on public-sector transportation and capital investment alternatives.

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Updated: 8/1/2013
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