USCM Applauds DOT Policy Incorporating Walking, Bicycling into Transportation Projects
By Ron Thaniel
April 5, 2010
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced March 15 that safe and convenient walking and bicycling facilities are to be incorporated into transportation projects, stating, “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.”
DOT’s Policy Statement reflects the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s support for the development of fully-integrated, active transportation networks. It states that, “The establishment of well-connected walking and bicycling networks is an important component for livable communities, and their design should be a part of federal-aid project developments.”
“Walking and bicycling foster safer, more livable, family-friendly communities; promote physical activity and health; and reduce vehicle emissions and fuel use,” states a DOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation. “Accordingly, transportation agencies should plan, fund, and implement improvements to their walking and bicycling networks, including linkages to transit.”
With the Policy Statement, DOT is encouraging states, local governments, public transportation agencies, and other government agencies to adopt similar policy statements on bicycle and pedestrian accommodation as an indication of their commitment to accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians as an integral element of the transportation system. “Transportation agencies and local communities should go beyond minimum design standards and requirements to create safe, attractive, sustainable, accessible, and convenient bicycling and walking networks,” the poicy states. Such actions should include:
- Considering walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
- Ensuring that there are transportation choices for people of all ages and abilities, especially children.
- Going beyond minimum design standards. Transportation agencies are encouraged, when possible, to avoid designing walking and bicycling facilities to the minimum standards. For example, shared-use paths that have been designed to minimum width requirements will need retrofits as more people use them. It is more effective to plan for increased usage than to retrofit an older facility. Planning projects for the long-term should anticipate likely future demand for bicycling and walking facilities and not preclude the provision of future improvements.
- Integrating bicycle and pedestrian accommodation on new, rehabilitated, and limited-access bridges.
- Collecting data on walking and biking trips.
- Setting mode share targets for walking and bicycling and tracking them over time.
- Removing snow from sidewalks and shared-use paths.
- Improving nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects.
The Conference of Mayors welcomes DOT’s Policy Statement, and is calling for policies such as this – policies that increase bicycling and walking – in the next federal surface transportation authorization. The Conference is also calling for greater funding to support bicycling facilities and walking networks, including set-asides for such projects within programs such as the Surface Transportation Program (STP). For additional information on the DOT’s Policy Statement on Bicycling and Pedestrian Accommodation, go to the website http://www.dot.gov/affairs.2010/bicycle-ped.html.
For additional information on the Conference’s transportation priorities for the next federal surface transportation bill, contact Conference of Mayors Assistant Executive Director for Transportation Policy Ron Thaniel at 202-861-6711 or email@example.com.