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FHWA Home / Policy & Governmental Affairs / Chapter 11: Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation - 2015 Conditions and Performance

Conditions and Performance

2015 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
Conditions & Performance

chapter 11

chapter 11

Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation

Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation

Background and Context for Pedestrian and Bicycle Network Development, Safety, and Usage Trends

Trends in Pedestrian and Bicycle System Usage

Activity Level Trends

Safety Trends

National Policies, Programs, and Initiatives

Federal Funding for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation

Federal Strategic Plans, Policies, and Guidance: 1994—2014

Current Federal Initiatives

Moving Forward

Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation

Improving pedestrian and bicycle safety is a top priority at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The agency is committed to making walking and bicycling safer and more comfortable transportation options for everyone. Providing multimodal transportation options such as walking and biking improves access and mobility, fosters Ladders of Opportunity,[1] and contributes to a range of policy goals related to equity, health, economic development, and the environment.

This chapter outlines policies and plans that frame and provide context for ongoing activities to advance pedestrian and bicycle transportation in the United States. It summarizes trends in funding and walking and bicycling activity, while also highlighting selected current projects and initiatives. Information on pedestrian and bicycle safety, including data on fatality statistics and trends, is provided in Chapter 4.

Background and Context for Pedestrian and Bicycle Network Development, Safety, and Usage Trends

The following summary of trends, discussed in more detail throughout this chapter, highlights progress made by DOT; partner agencies; advocacy organizations; and local, metropolitan planning organization (MPO), and State stakeholders over the past three decades toward advancing safe, comfortable, and well-utilized pedestrian and bicycle transportation networks.

  • The Federal goal set in the 1994 National Bicycling and Walking Study to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities by 10 percent has been exceeded. Injuries have decreased 17 percent for pedestrians and 20 percent for bicyclists, while fatalities have dropped 16 percent among pedestrians and 13 percent among bicyclists. Nevertheless, the rate of injuries increased between 2009 and 2013, after steadily dropping between 1994 and 2008.
  • Progress also has been made toward the 1994 goal to double the share of nationwide trips made by pedestrians and bicyclists from 7.9 percent to 15.8 percent ; it has risen to 11.5 percent , almost halfway to the target.
  • Federal funding for pedestrian and bicycle transportation has increased significantly, from $113 million in 1994 to a peak level of $1.2 billion in 2009; funding for 2014 was $820 million.
  • Federal policies and guidance supporting the inclusion of pedestrian and bicycle transportation into routine transportation planning, design, and construction have advanced multimodal planning and project development at all levels. Hundreds of communities, MPOs, and State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have adopted Complete Streets policies that require the formal consideration of all modes of travel throughout the project planning and development process. States and communities now routinely accommodate people with disabilities when developing pedestrian facilities and pedestrian access routes.
  • Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS), a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and holistic approach to the development of transportation projects, has become increasingly accepted by a broad range of stakeholders in all phases of program delivery, including long-range planning, programming, environmental studies, design, construction, operations, and maintenance.
  • Livability, or the linkage between the quality and location of transportation facilities and broader opportunities such as access to good jobs, affordable housing, quality schools, and safer streets and roads, also has become increasingly commonplace in transportation planning and design at all levels. For more information on livability and FHWA's Livability Initiative, see Chapter 5.
  • The field of pedestrian and bicycle transportation engineering and planning has evolved, enabling practitioners at all levels to become more effective in improving safety and mobility for pedestrians and bicyclists. Professional organizations such as the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals and pedestrian and bicycle advocacy organizations have played a key role in this process.
  • Information-sharing resources such as the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center have been established, and professional training programs, guidebooks, and other educational resources have been developed.
  • Improvements have been made to pedestrian and bicycle data collection methods and analysis tools, and research activities have increased.

Trends in Pedestrian and Bicycle System Usage

In 1994, FHWA and NHTSA submitted the final report of the National Bicycling and Walking Study to Congress. The study set two overall goals:

  • Double the percentage of trips made by bicycling and walking in the United States from 7.9 percent to 15.8 percent of all travel trips. Although the percentage of trips has increased to nearly 12 percent , the goal to double the mode share has not yet been reached.
  • Reduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed or injured in traffic crashes by 10 percent . This goal has been met, although recent trends indicate slowdowns and reversals of the progress achieved between 1994 and 2009. For more information, see Chapter 4.
Activity Level Trends

According to the most recent National Household Travel Survey (NHTS),[2] 11.5 percent of all trips were made by bicycling or walking in 2009, compared with 7.9 percent in 1994 (note that the NHTS is not performed annually). This change represents an increase of 45 percent , which demonstrates progress but falls short of the goal to double the share. Most of the increase is attributed to more walking: The percentage of all trips pedestrians made increased from 7.2 to 10.5 percent , while the share of trips made by bicycles increased from 0.7 to 1 percent (see Exhibit 11-1).

According to the 2014 American Community Survey,[3] an ongoing survey that provides information about travel behavior and trends, the number of American workers who commute by bicycle increased from 532,364 in 2005 (0.4 percent of all commute trips) to 857,774 in 2013 (0.6 percent of all commute trips). Although still modest when compared to all commute trips, this 60-percent increase among bicyclists was the largest change among the types of commuter modes reported. The number of people walking to work increased from 3,327,276 (2.5 percent of all commute trips) to 4,002,946 (2.8 percent of all commute trips) over the same period, representing a 20-percent increase. By comparison, the number of people driving alone increased by only 4 percent , from 89,875,050 in 2005 to 93,713,554 in 2013, and this group's representation among all commuters dropped from 77 to 76 percent (see Exhibit 11-2).

Exhibit 11-1 Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel Trends as Percentage of All Trips, 1994 and 2009

A bar chart plots percentages of bicycle and walking trips for 1994 and 2009. In 1994, bicycle trips and walking trips represented 0.7% and 7.2% of all trips, respectively. In 2009, bicycle trips and walking trips represented 1% and 10.5% of all trips, respectively. Source: National Household Travel Survey.

Source: National Household Travel Survey.

A bar chart plots percent increase in biking, walking, and driving alone for 2005 through 2013. percent increases in biking, walking, and driving alone were 61%, 20%, and 4%, respectively. Source: American Community Survey.

Source: American Community Survey.

In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy Community Design Initiative, the Alliance for Biking & Walking publishes a biennial Benchmarking Report on bicycle and walking travel and behavior within the 50 United States.[4] Exhibit 11-3 lists the "top ten" States and major cities where commuter bicycling and walking levels are higher than the national average. Exhibit 11-4, also drawn from the 2014 Benchmarking Report, illustrates the percentage of pedestrian and bicycle commuters in large cities, while also illustrating the recently growing interest in nonmotorized traffic counting programs among American cities.

Exhibit 11-3 Bicycle and Pedestrian Commuter Mode Share in States and Large Cities, 2009—2011

State Commuter Mode Share (Highest to Lowest) Large City Commuter Mode Share (Highest to Lowest)
Bicycling to Work Walking to Work Bicycling to Work Walking to Work
1 Oregon 2.3% 1 Alaska 7.9% 1 Portland, OR 6.1% 1 Boston 15.0%
2 Montana 1.4% 2 New York 6.4% 2 Minneapolis 3.6% 2 Washington, DC 11.8%
3 Colorado 1.3% 3 Vermont 5.8% 3 Seattle 3.4% 3 New York City 10.3%
4 Idaho 1.1% 4 Hawaii 4.8% 4 San Francisco 3.3% 4 San Francisco 9.9%
5 Alaska 1.0% 5 Montana 4.8% 5 Washington, DC 2.9% 5 Honolulu 9.7%
6 California 1.0% 6 Massachusetts 4.7% 6 Tucson 2.5% 6 Philadelphia 8.8%
7 Arizona 1.0% 7 South Dakota 4.3% 7 Oakland 2.5% 7 Seattle 8.6%
8 Hawaii 0.9% 8 Oregon 3.9% 8 New Orleans 2.3% 8 Baltimore 6.8%
9 Wyoming 0.9% 9 Pennsylvania 3.9% 9 Sacramento 2.3% 9 Minneapolis 6.3%
10 Washington 0.9% 10 Maine 3.8% 10 Denver 2.2% 10 Chicago 6.3%
Source: National Alliance for Bicycling and Walking 2014 Benchmarking Report.

Exhibit 11-4 Pedestrian and Bicycle Mode Share Trends, Outcome Benchmark Changes, 2005—2012

Mode Share Years of Benchmarking Data Source
2005/2006 2007/2008 2009/2010 2011/2012
% of commuters who walk: national average 2.5% 2.8% 2.9% 2.8% ACS 1 year est.
% of commuters who walk: large city average 4.5% 4.8% 4.9% 5.0% ACS 3 year est.
% of commuters who bicycle: national average 0.4% 0.5% 0.6% 0.6% ACS 1 year est.
% of commuters who bicycle: large city average 0.7% 0.8% 0.9% 1.0% ACS 3 year est.
# of cities counting bicyclist trips - - 36/51 43/52 City survey
# of cities counting pedestrian trips - - 26/51 37/52 City survey
# of States counting bicyclist trips - - 24 38 State survey
# of States counting pedestrian trips - - 24 36 State survey
Source: National Alliance for Bicycling and Walking 2014 Benchmarking Report.
Safety Trends

NHTSA collects and distributes information regarding traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Fatal injuries are tracked via the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and injuries are tracked via the National Automotive Sampling System — General Estimates System. The following points are based on NHTSA data from 1994 to 2013:[5]

  • The numbers of pedestrian injuries and fatalities have dropped by 16 percent and 17 percent , respectively, since 1994, while bicyclist injuries and fatalities have dropped by 20 percent and 13 percent , respectively. The goal to improve safety by 10 percent has been exceeded. Gains made toward reducing the rates of injuries and fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists during the first 15 years of the period, however, were undercut by increases during the most recent 4 years.
  • About 1.5 million pedestrians have been injured over the past 20 years. Another 1 million bicyclists were injured between 1994 and 2013. Meanwhile, more than 50 million people were injured while riding in cars and light-duty trucks.
  • Approximately 100,000 pedestrians died during the past 20 years, compared to fewer than 75,000 motorcyclists and 15,000 bicyclists, along with about 580,000 people in cars and light trucks.
  • In 1994, pedestrians and bicyclists suffered more than twice as many injuries as motorcyclists and three times as many fatalities. By 2013, the numbers of injuries and fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists had dropped moderately, while the number of motorcycle injuries and fatalities rose dramatically. Today, the numbers of deaths among motorcyclists and pedestrians are virtually the same; about 18,000 people in each group died in 2010 through 2013. The rates of injury and death among motorcyclists have begun to drop in recent years, while the rates for pedestrians and bicyclists have been rising.

National Policies, Programs, and Initiatives

Federal policies and investments to promote pedestrian and bicycle transportation have evolved steadily over the past 25 years. The overall tone and content of Federal, State, and local policy statements regarding nonmotorized transportation have shifted to reflect a significant increase in its perceived value-from a forgotten mode in the 1980s to routine consideration, proactive support, and leadership today.

Federal Funding for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation

In 1990, the year before the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) was enacted, Federal-aid obligations for pedestrian and bicycle improvements amounted to about $6 million. The new emphasis on multimodal transportation under ISTEA, particularly the introduction of the Transportation Enhancement (TE) activities, resulted in a rapid expansion of funds allocated to pedestrian and bicycle transportation. The 1992 obligation of almost $23 million was nearly four times the 1990 obligation.

By 1997, the obligation for pedestrian and bicycle projects totaled $238 million, about three-fourths of which came from TE activities. Federal obligations for these modes under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) increased from $204 million in 1999 to more than $427 million in 2004, with about two-thirds from TE activities. Funding levels remained around the $500-million mark until 2009, when they increased again to the current annual range of $800 million to $1 billion (with a spike in 2009 and 2010 related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) (see Exhibit 11-5).

Today, pedestrian and bicycle projects are broadly eligible for funding throughout the Federal-aid and Federal Lands programs. Funds from the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP), Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), Highway Safety Improvement Program, Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside from STBG (including the Recreational Trails Program set-aside and Safe Routes to School projects), Tribal Transportation Program, Federal Lands Transportation Program, and Federal Lands Access Program may be used for bicycle transportation and pedestrian walkways. Pedestrian and bicycle projects also are eligible under some Federal Transit Administration programs. FHWA has a table of Pedestrian and Bicycle Funding Opportunities describing available transit, highway, and safety funds.

Exhibit 11-5 Federal Obligations for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects, 1992—2015

A bar chart plots total federal obligations in millions of dollars for projects related to bicycling and pedestrians for 1992 through 2014. In 1992, obligations for new projects totaled $22.9 million. Obligations peaked in 2009 when the total amount for new projects was $1.188 billion. Since 2009, total obligations have fluctuated, but generally trended down. In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, the amount obligated was $820 million. Source: FHWA Fiscal Management Information System.

Source: FHWA Fiscal Management Information System.

STBG and CMAQ funds may be used to construct pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities and to carry out nonconstruction projects related to safe bicycle use. NHPP funds may be used to construct pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities on land adjacent to any highway on the NHS. Funds from the Federal Lands Transportation Program and Federal Lands Access Program authorized for forest highways, forest development roads and trails, public lands development roads and trails, park roads, parkways, Indian reservation roads, and public lands highways may be used to construct bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways.

Federal Strategic Plans, Policies, and Guidance: 1994—2016

In addition to legislative directives and increased funding, Federal support for pedestrian and bicycle transportation has grown significantly over the past 20 years through policy and regulatory documents. Selected plans and policies are highlighted below.

The FHWA 1994 National Bicycling and Walking Study: Transportation Choices for Changing America represented the first comprehensive examination of the state of nonmotorized transportation in the United States. The 1994 study also included a 9-point Federal Action Plan, supported by approximately 60 strategies. Status reports on progress toward the 1994 goals and strategies were developed in 1999, 2004, and 2010. These reports documented progress toward the original commitments DOT made to establish pedestrian and bicycle travel as a meaningful element of a safe, convenient transportation system.

Federal Transportation Legislation Supporting Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) represented the first major shift away from the traditional national focus on high-speed roadway networks. ISTEA provided a framework for creating an intermodal transportation system that links every point to all other points by at least one mode, enabling the movement of all people and goods at reasonable speeds and economic costs.[6] The legislation authorized general eligibility for pedestrian and bicycle projects under the Federal-aid highway program; special funding categories for small-scale projects, such as Transportation Enhancement (TE) activities; and funding of pedestrian and bicycle projects under the Surface Transportation Program (STP), Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), National Highway System (NHS), and Federal Lands Highway Program. Each State was required to consider and provide safe bicycle accommodations when Federal-aid funds were used to replace or rehabilitate bridge decks, except on full-access controlled highways. Pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities could be designated as highway projects with a Federal share for construction costs of 80 percent . ISTEA required metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and States to give due consideration to pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities in long-range plans.

The National Highway System (NHS) Designation Act of 1995 included several clauses that advanced Federal support for bicycle and transportation investments, allowing the Federal share for pedestrian and bicycle projects to be the same as that for Federal-aid projects in general, including use of sliding-scale approaches. The Act also provided for an advance payment option and allowed categorical exclusions from environmental impact assessments. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) of 1998 advanced pedestrian and bicycle transportation by allowing the use of NHS funds for pedestrian walkways and previously eligible bicycle facilities on any route of the NHS. TEA-21 also lifted restrictions to accommodate bicycle access on bridges where access was fully controlled, added pedestrian and bicyclist needs as considerations in the development of comprehensive transportation plans, required FHWA to issue design guidance for accommodating pedestrian and bicycle travel, replaced the National Recreational Trails Fund Act with the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), and established funding for a National Bicycle and Pedestrian Clearinghouse.

Enacted in 2005, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) continued the RTP with increases in funding each year through Fiscal Year 2012, established the national Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, continued funding for a National Bicycle and Pedestrian Clearinghouse, and established the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program to study the impact of concentrated investment in pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act in 2012 created a new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to replace the Transportation Enhancements, Recreational Trails, and SRTS programs. TAP provides competitive grant funds, administered through the States and MPOs. MAP-21 turned the RTP into a set-aside from TAP and made SRTS activities and projects eligible for TAP, subject to TAP requirements.

The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 modified Federal law to require federally funded projects on the NHS to consider access for other modes of transportation. It broadened design guidelines for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, providing greater design flexibility. It renamed the STP as the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program, and replaced TAP with the Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside under the STBG Program, maintaining funding levels and eligibility. It also established a NHTSA safety fund to reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities, and broadened design guidelines for pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

The FHWA 2000 publication, Accommodating Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel: A Recommended Approach, focuses on the design and inclusion of pedestrian and bicycle facilities funded by FHWA and the Federal-aid highway program. FHWA offices worked directly with State DOTs to implement the 2000 policy. The 2000 policy also outlined legitimate exceptions to the expectation that bicycling and walking facilities be added to Federal-aid projects.

DOT issued its Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations, Regulations, and Recommendations in March 2010. The policy states:

"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."

On August 20, 2013, FHWA issued a memorandum to support flexibility in pedestrian and bicycle facility design. The memorandum recognizes the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities; AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities; Institute of Transportation Engineers' Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares document; and the National Association of City Transportation Officials' Urban Bikeway Design Guide as resources to inform the design of safe, comfortable, and context-sensitive pedestrian and bicycle facilities. In a subsequent communication, FHWA also noted that the Urban Street Design Guide can be used, in conjunction with other design resources, to inform the planning and design process.

The Design Resource Index identifies the specific location of information in key national design manuals for various pedestrian and bicycle design treatments. The Design Resource Index, developed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and FHWA, helps practitioners quickly access the right resources and will reduce the amount of time needed to search through multiple design guides to find the information. The Design Resource Index consists of three separate matrices: On-Street Bicycle Facilities, Shared Use Paths, and Pedestrian Facilities. The Design Resource Index incorporates national resource manuals and guidelines published by FHWA, Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), AASHTO, National Association of City Transportation Officials, and the U.S. Access Board.

FHWA released the Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide in May 2015. It outlines planning considerations for separated bike lanes (also called "cycle tracks" and "protected bike lanes") and provides a menu of design options covering typical one- and two-way scenarios. It highlights options for providing separation, while also documenting midblock design considerations for driveways, transit stops, accessible parking, and loading zones. The guide provides detailed intersection design information covering topics such as turning movement operations, signalization, signage, and on-road markings. Case studies highlight best practices and lessons learned throughout the document. The guide identifies potential future research, highlights the importance of ongoing peer exchange and capacity building, and emphasizes the need to create holistic ways to evaluate the performance of a separated bike lane.

In September 2015, FHWA provided updated guidance on Bicycle and Pedestrian Provisions of Federal Transportation Legislation. The update included policy and legislative references and provided guidance on funding eligibility, planning, project delivery procedures, project selection, and design references. This guidance is consistent with FHWA initiatives related to performance-based practical design and design flexibility, accelerated project delivery, proven safety countermeasures, and Every Day Counts. It describes the range of opportunities to improve conditions for bicycling and walking. FHWA expects to further update this guidance to incorporate the FAST Act by the end of 2016.

The Statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning Handbook helps State DOTs develop or update State pedestrian and bicycle plans. Based on research that includes interviews with 9 State DOTs and critical evaluations of documents from 15 States, this handbook covers statewide planning from plan inception and scoping to engaging stakeholders and the public; developing goals, objectives, and strategies; collecting and analyzing data; linking to the larger statewide transportation planning process; and implementation. For each stage of the planning process, this handbook uses recent experiences and noteworthy practices from DOTs around the country, helping inform a new generation of statewide nonmotorized planning and implementation.

The Achieving Multimodal Networks: Applying Design Flexibility and Reducing Conflicts report helps practitioners address topics such as intersection design, road diets, pedestrian crossing treatments, transit and school access, freight, and accessibility. It highlights ways to apply design flexibility, while focusing on reducing multimodal conflicts and achieving connected networks.

The Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures helps communities develop performance measures that can fully integrate pedestrian and bicycle planning in ongoing performance management activities.

The Incorporating On-Road Bicycle Networks into Resurfacing Projects report helps communities integrate on-road bicycle facilities as part of their routine roadway resurfacing process. This is an efficient and cost-effective way for communities to create connected networks of bicycle facilities.

Other resources released in 2016 include Pursuing Equity in Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning, the Bike Network Mapping Idea Book, and Bicycle Network Planning and Facility Design Approaches in the Netherlands and the United States.

Current Federal Initiatives

DOT is currently engaged in a range of planning, design, promotion, and project development initiatives to advance pedestrian and bicycle transportation safety, accessibility, and connectivity. The following section describes several key activities currently underway.

As part of a Safer People, Safer Streets: Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative, DOT division and field office staff convened and led pedestrian and bicycle safety assessments in every State in 2014 and 2015. The initiative included the Mayors' Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, which challenged mayors and local elected officials to take significant action to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. DOT is working with university transportation centers and other stakeholders to identify and remove barriers to improving nonmotorized safety. A newly formed Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Action Team of the DOT Safety Council is implementing the initiative.

The Ladders of Opportunity initiative involves a range of activities to enhance access to economic opportunities for all Americans by investing in transportation projects that better connect communities to essential services. Its aim is to promote prosperity and improve quality of life for all individuals, with a focus on low-income, underserved, vulnerable, and disadvantaged populations. Key objectives of the initiative are to build and restore physical connections, develop workforce capacity, and catalyze neighborhood revitalization. Toward this end, DOT launched the Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot in seven U.S. cities in April 2015. Entitled LadderSTEP, the program provides technical assistance and support to help communities attract public and private resources to game-changing transportation projects. As part of DOT's Every Place Counts Design Challenge, in July 2016 the Department convened two-day design sessions with communities in Nashville, TN, Philadelphia, PA, Spokane, WA, and St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN to provide on-site technical assistance in visioning and identifying innovative community design solutions that bridge the infrastructure divide and reconnect people to opportunity (See: https://www.transportation.gov/opportunity/challenge).

The EDC-4/Community Connections initiative will promote the use of innovative transportation planning and project delivery strategies to lead to community-focused transportation projects that support community revitalization. Webinars and summits throughout the country will focus on various transportation components to enhance the transportation process and improve connectivity between disadvantaged populations and essential services.

Focus States and Cities: Since 2004, FHWA has focused extra resources on the States and cities with the highest pedestrian fatalities. Beginning in 2015, the list of States and cities was revised to include cyclist fatalities. Under this effort, FHWA concentrates its technical assistance on evaluating, planning, and resolving pedestrian and cyclist safety issues in States with the highest pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. For example, FHWA provides free technical assistance and courses to each of these States and cities, and free bimonthly webinars on subjects of interest.

Certain processes, infrastructure design techniques, and highway features have been highly effective in improving safety. FHWA actively encourages practitioners to consider these proven safety countermeasures in projects. Road diets, or a roadway reconfiguration that enhances safety, mobility, and access for all, are one of the proven safety countermeasures. Road diets are promoted through the Every Day Counts initiative, which is intended to identify and rapidly deploy proven but underutilized innovations to shorten the project delivery process, enhance roadway safety, reduce congestion, and improve environmental sustainability.

Performance-based practical design is an approach grounded in a performance management framework. The approach encourages cost savings by using the flexibility that exists in current design guidance and regulations. These cost savings will enable cities, MPOs, and States to deliver more projects (for example, projects that will create or significantly improve connected pedestrian and bicycle networks). The planning and design process should consider both short- and long-term project and system goals and should focus on scoping projects to stay within the core purpose and need.

FHWA's PedSafe and BikeSafe countermeasure selection systems provide State and local transportation officials with information on countermeasures and other treatments that can be installed to help improve pedestrian and cyclist safety. Most recently updated in 2013 and 2014 respectively, the PedSafe and BikeSafe selection tools enable users to input a specific location, select the goals of the treatment (i.e., reduce traffic volumes or mitigate crashes), and describe the location (in terms of the roadway's speed limit, traffic volume, etc.). The tool then provides the user with a list of recommended treatments, describes those treatments and factors to consider prior to installation, and provides case studies of where the treatment has been implemented.

The FHWA focus on Connected Pedestrian and Bicycle Networks builds on the agency's long-standing support of pedestrian and bicycle transportation through policies, planning, and funding. To advance this work, FHWA is increasingly focusing on the documentation and promotion of safe and accessible pedestrian and bicycle networks, which are interconnected pedestrian and bicycle transportation facilities that enable people of all ages and abilities to travel where they want to go, safely and conveniently.

FHWA's Bicycle-Pedestrian Count Technology Pilot funds the purchase of a limited number of portable automatic counters to collect count data at various locations within 10 MPOs. The pilot research project requires counts to be collected over 1 year, and the data and experiences will be shared with FHWA. Participants will have access to a series of internal webinars and other technical assistance opportunities.

An FHWA-funded project will modify the Traffic Monitoring Analysis System (TMAS) to receive and report on pedestrian and bicycle counts based on the Traffic Monitoring Guide data format. FHWA maintains TMAS to support statistical analysis of travel trends. Using TMAS, FHWA computes basic reports from data generated from automatic collection programs for motorized vehicles, vehicle classification counts, and weigh-in-motion counters. The pedestrian and bicycle data enhancements will be included in the next version of TMAS (Version 3.0), scheduled for testing in 2016. FHWA is providing resources and information to enable communities to collect data in the format recommended in the Traffic Monitoring Guide so they can be incorporated into TMAS when that functionality becomes available. FHWA is also leading a related effort to develop a regional pedestrian and bicycle count database. The project will include assessing the feasibility of moving counts from regional collection centers to the TMAS database.

FHWA is addressing professional Capacity Building. For example, on August 20, 2015, FHWA issued questions and answers related to Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding, Design, and Environmental Review: Addressing Common Misconceptions. This document answered several questions that FHWA had received from the public.

FHWA is partnering with ITE in creating a Practitioner's Guide to the Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach, an ITE Recommended Practice (ITE CSS RP) report. The new Practitioner's Guide for Walkable Urban Thoroughfare Design will enhance the practices and principles published in the ITE CSS RP by providing an attractive and easy-to-use resource that clearly communicates the principles, techniques, and design solutions portrayed in the ITE CSS RP. This new resource will serve as a catalyst for increased State, regional, and local implementation of multimodal principles in the design of urban thoroughfares.

Moving Forward

The Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation will inform FHWA's pedestrian and bicycle activities in the next 3 to 5 years and is organized around four goals: (1) Networks, (2) Safety, (3) Equity, and (4) Trips. Each goal includes actions relating to (a) Capacity Building, (b) Policy, (c) Data, and (d) Research. It emphasizes collaboration and partnerships, building capacity around existing resources, implementing existing policies, and building on USDOT's Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations. The volume and type of activities described demonstrates FHWA's ongoing national leadership on multimodal transportation and represents the agency's commitment to institutionalize and mainstream multimodal issues.

The Strategic Agenda establishes the following National goals that will inform FHWA's pedestrian and bicycle activities in the coming years:

  • Achieve an 80-percent reduction in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and serious injuries in 15 years and zero pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and serious injuries in the next 20 to 30 years.
  • Increase the percentage of short trips represented by bicycling and walking to 30 percent by 2025. This will indicate a 50-percent increase over the 2009 value of 20 percent . Short trips are defined as trips 5 miles or less for bicyclists and 1 mile or less for pedestrians.

Implementation of the Strategic Agenda will involve coordinating policies, leveraging investments, promoting partnerships, and enhancing access to opportunity in communities and neighborhoods throughout the United States. These challenges include:

  • Improve network connections and multimodal connectivity among bicycle, pedestrian, and transit routes; and measure change in networks over time. This will help meet the goals established in the Strategic Agenda.
  • Improve and coordinate bicycle, pedestrian, and transit safety, including infrastructure, promotional campaigns, and educational resources. Improving safety is particularly critical, given the recent reversal of progress toward reducing pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities.
  • Strengthen collaboration among Federal agencies, State DOTs, MPOs, and transit agencies on strategies to integrate pedestrian and bicycle programs within their existing activities. With increased interest in the impact of transportation on public health, continuing to address the relationship between public health and investments in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure will be key.
  • Foster professional development among pedestrian and bicycle planners and engineers through training and networking opportunities.
  • Improve and promote pedestrian and bicycle data collection methods and analysis tools for local, regional, State, and national agencies.
  • Increase submittal of pedestrian and bicycle data to TMAS by local, regional, State, and Federal agencies so that they can become the basis for valuable research, evaluation, and project prioritization.
  • Strengthen coordination and breadth of pedestrian and bicycle research programs, addressing topics that directly address the needs of pedestrian and bicycle practitioners at all levels.
  • Advance technology transfer and information-sharing methods to apply research findings and promote best practices.
  1. Ladders of Opportunity is a Federal initiative to promote prosperity and improve quality of life for all individuals, with a focus on low-income, underserved, vulnerable, and disadvantaged populations.

  2. http://nhts.ornl.gov/introduction.shtml.

  3. American Community Survey, 2014: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/.

  4. Alliance for Bicycling and Walking, Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2014 Benchmarking Report, 2014: http://www.bikewalkalliance.org/resources/benchmarking.

  5. Charts developed by study team based on data provided by NHTSA.

  6. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/94fall/p94au1.cfm.

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