This April 2012 Report to Congress summarizes the progress and initial results of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) and the four pilot communities’ participation in the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) from its inception through August 2011. Section 1807 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), P.L. 109-59, established the NTPP in August 2005.
Over the span of 4 years, the legislation provided approximately $25 million in contract authority for each of the NTPP’s four pilot communities (Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin) “to construct ... a network of non-motorized transportation infrastructure facilities, including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian and bicycle trails, that connect directly with transit stations, schools, residences, businesses, recreation areas, and other community activity centers.”
The four pilot programs saw an average increase of 49 percent in the number of bicyclists and a 22 percent increase in the number of pedestrians between 2007 and 2010. This detailed report provides full results of the programs in all four pilot communities, with specific steps and actions, associated costs and benefits for the community and its citizens.
The purpose of the NTPP as stated in Section 1807 is “to demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking can carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution, within selected communities.” The four communities selected implemented different programs to demonstrate the impact of cycling and walking, but the vast majority of the money was spent for on- and off-road infrastructure improvements – making it easier for people to ride bikes and walk.
While some of the specific results are impressive (see below), the key takeaways for local government officials and community planners are that the pilot programs provided:
- Education and training for local planners, engineers, and elected officials, which has helped to institutionalize non-motorized planning and projects into the future.
- More transportation options for all segments of the population, prioritizing access to schools, shopping, transit, and other community centers.
Some other results include:
- An estimated 16 million miles were walked or bicycled that would have otherwise been driven in 2010, and an estimated 32 million driving miles were averted between 2007 and 2010.2
- In each community, a greater percentage of pedestrian and bicycling trips included transit in 2010 than in 2007.
- Mode share increases in the pilot communities to bicycling and walking and away from driving from 2007 to 2010 outpaced the national average from 2001 to 2008. For the communities in sum, bicycling mode share increased 36 percent, walking mode share increased 14 percent, and driving mode share decreased 3 percent between 2007 and 2010.
- While each pilot community experienced increases in bicycling and walking from 2005 to 2009, fatal bicycle and pedestrian crashes held steady or decreased in all of the communities.
- The pilot communities saved an estimated 22 pounds of CO2 in 2010 per person or a total of 7,701 tons. This is equivalent to saving over 1 gallon of gas per person or nearly 1.7 million gallons from 2007 to 2010.
How to Use
This official report to Congress is detail rich and full of excellent, proven ideas and tactics done by four very different jurisdictions to improve the walkability and ride-ability of their communities. Local planners can use the ideas and results included in this report to get funding and support for efforts in their own communities. Any community trying to address how to increase or enhance non-motorized transportation should skim the specific actions taken by the four pilot communities for ideas and insights.