FHWA clarifies bicycle and pedestrian funding, design, and environmental review misconceptions

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA published a new set of questions and answers on "Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding, Design, and Environmental Review: Addressing Common Misconceptions," to clear up frequent misunderstandings regarding Federal funding, street design, and the environmental review process. Some items discussed include:  how Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funding can be used, whether Federal funds may be used for road diets, or separated bike lanes, and which design guides and standards must be followed.

This list of misconceptions was collected through discussions that have taken place via the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative, which was launched in 2014. USDOT summarized the questions and answers on the Fast Lane blog on August 20, 2015.

Access the questions and answers at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/misconceptions.cfm.

FHWA supports design flexibility

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) prepared a Federal Register Notice for public comment on a proposed revision for controlling criteria for design on the National Highway System (NHS). After reviewing data and research, FHWA proposes to reduce the number of controlling design criteria on highways designed for speeds of less than 50 miles per hour from the current 13 down to 2. On NHS roads with design speeds of 50 miles per hour or greater, FHWA proposes to reduce the number of criteria to 10. These changes will give engineers the flexibility to design for all users without the  burden of extensive paperwork.

Surgeon General announces call to action to promote walking and walkable communities

Step It Up

The U.S. Surgeon General issued a call to action to promote walking and walkable communities as a way to combat chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities is intended to “increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll,” and the program consists of five strategic goals:

Half of all adults living in the U.S. suffer from a chronic disease. Physical activity for people of all ages can reduce the risk of chronic disease and related risk factors.  Walking provides that physical activity without requiring special skills, facilities, or expensive equipment, and it is an easy activity to begin and maintain.

Learn more about the call to action at: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/walking-and-walkable-communities/index.html.

New report reviews international practices for ped/bike networks

A Review of International Practices

FHWA and the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) released a new study of practices from around the globe for improving pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility.

Delivering Safe, Comfortable, and Connected Pedestrian and Bicycle Networks: A Review of International Practices” examines noteworthy or innovative practices in 11 countries that have the potential to improve bicycle and pedestrian network safety, comfort, and connectivity in the U.S. Some of the topics covered include signalization, planning policies, and network infrastructure.

Access the report at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/global_benchmarking/index.cfm.

Springfield, MO and Columbia, SC join the ranks of Walk Friendly Communities

Walk Friendly Communities logo

The Walk Friendly Communities program added two new communities and redesignated a third during its latest round. Springfield, MO and Columbia, SC earned bronze level designations while Decatur, GA was redesignated as a silver level community.

“Our goal through this program was to recognize cities that have maintained a focus on building safe and walkable communities. Decatur, GA was one of the first cities we recognized back in 2011, and the city continues its great commitment to walkability,” said Carl Sundstrom, WFC program manager.

The Walk Friendly Communities program, which is sponsored by FedEx, recognizes cities and towns that have committed to improving conditions for walking. To date, 57 communities have earned Walk Friendly status.

The program will begin accepting applications for its eleventh round on Nov. 1. Learn more about the program or apply at http://www.walkfriendly.org.

FHWA and PBIC offer new webinar series on pedestrian crash countermeasures

FHWA and the PBIC are offering a free webinar series on countermeasures for improving pedestrian safety. “Countermeasure Strategies for Pedestrian Safety Webinar Series” is a 12-part series providing in-depth looks at some of the most effective countermeasures and design strategies known to increase pedestrian safety.

The series, which runs nearly weekly from October 2015 through January 2016, will cover roundabouts, lighting strategies, pedestrian hybrid beacons, curb extensions, and leading pedestrian intervals, among other topics.

To register for any of the webinars, go to: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/training/webinars_PSAP_countermeasurestrategies.cfm.

Updated Bicycle and Pedestrian Provisions of Federal Transportation Legislation

The FHWA updated its guidance on "Bicycle and Pedestrian Provisions of Federal Transportation Legislation." The guidance describes Federal legislative and policy direction related to safety and accommodation for bicycling and walking.

New Resources

The PBIC has recently added the following resources to the PBIC Online Library, a centralized, Web-based collection of pedestrian- and bicycling-related materials. To search the library, please visit http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/library.

Smart Growth Self-Assessment for Rural Communities

Evaluating the Use of Crowdsourcing as a Data Collection Method for Bicycle Performance Measures and Identification of Facility Improvement Needs

Minnesota DOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Data Collection Manual


HSRC hiring ped/bike researcher

They University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) is hiring a senior pedestrian and bicycle researcher.  Learn more and apply at: https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/84257.

Coming Soon: New Tools for Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning

The Federal Highway Administration plans to unveil a new resource, the Nonmotorized Travel Analysis Toolkit. The toolkit is a suite of software applications that can be used to support pedestrian and bicycle transportation planning. The Toolkit will offer five different analysis tools that can be used to model pedestrian or bicycle demand either roadway segments or at intersections. Users can upload their own data and use the system to create their own customized analysis and generate maps and data files that can be accessed in a variety of formats. It is expected that additional modeling tools will be added in the future. Contact Laura Sandt to learn more about the toolkit or to join the mailing list to receive updates on its availability.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Program Management Courses

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers two Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program Management courses usually twice per year.  These courses are for State Highway Safety Offices, NHTSA Regional personnel involved in coordinating their region’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program, and their stakeholders and partners with an interest in reducing motor-vehicle related crashes associated with pedestrians and bicyclists. NHTSA has revised the content to provide for a wider audience, while providing more practice learning for the advanced learner. Both courses are free.

Dates and locations for courses in FY 2016 have not been finalized.  If you are interested or would like more information, contact NHTSA’s training institute (TSI) lead, Mary Ann Rayment, mary.rayment@dot.gov or call 405-954-3112, or NHTSA Pedestrian/Bicycle Program Managers: Paula Bawer, paula.bawer@dot.gov, or Ruth Esteban-Muir, ruth.esteban@dot.gov.

Article details Partnership for Sustainable Communities efforts

"Changing the Landscape of Livability," published in FHWA’s Public Roads newsletter, discusses how the multiagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities has worked toward improving Federal policies and investments better serve the U.S. public since its creation in 2009. Read the article at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/15julaug/04.cfm.

NACTO will soon release its Global Streets Design Guide

The National Association of City Transportation Officials will release its new “Global Streets Design Guide” on October 28, 2015. This new resource will provide worldwide standards for  ”designing city streets and prioritizing safety, pedestrians, transit, and sustainable mobility.” Learn more at: http://nacto.org/global-street-design-guide-gsdg/.

FHWA releases bicycle-pedestrian count technology pilot project information

FHWA posted new resources related to its Bicycle-Pedestrian Count Technology Pilot Project , a pilot effort to develop case studies, training materials, and other resources to increase the ability of metropolitan planning organizations to collect and use pedestrian and bicycle count data. The project, launched in early 2015, is a research and technology deployment effort to identify organizational and technical capacity needs at Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), develop resources for addressing these needs, and transfer lessons learned across the country.  FHWA will continue to post new materials as they become available. Learn more at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/countpilot/.

Safe Routes report details how to use TAP funds

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership issued a brief to explain how MPOs can use TAP funds to improve the safety of children walking to and from school. View the report at: http://saferoutesinfo.org/about-us/newsroom/new-publication-highlights-how-four-mpos-approach-tap-and-safe-routes-school.

National Bike Challenge hits its goal

People for Bikes’ National Bike Challenge hit its goal of 35 million miles in 2015, up from 23 million a year ago. The annual challenge, sponsored by Kimberly-Clark, encouraged bicyclists to track their miles from May 1 through September 30, 2015. Learn more at: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/national-bike-challenge-reaches-35-million-mile-goal.

From our Facebook Page

Here are some of the more popular posts from our Facebook page since June 2015:

September 22: Tulsa, OK unveiled plans for a 1,300-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities: http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/plan-revealed-for-miles-of-bicycle-pedestrian-trails-in-/article_099f444b-2a86-5afc-98d6-4c3492eb81e0.html

September 16: Check out Colorado's plan to invest in bicycling: http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_28822526/hickenlooper-promises-100m-make-colorado-best-state-biking

September 8: A new study in PLOS ONE explores how effective "Share the Road" signs are: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0136973

September 3: Bicycle riding will be taught in DC schools this fall: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/09/why-dc-will-teach-every-kid-how-to-ride-a-bike/401621/

August 31: Here are several great graphics that explain Road Diets: http://www.citylab.com/design/2015/08/a-wonderfully-clear-explanation-of-how-road-diets-work/401951/?utm_source=nl__link3_082115

August 28: FHWA clarified what Federal funds can be used for pedestrian and bicycle facilities: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2015/08/24/feds-to-traffic-engineers-use-our-money-to-build-protected-bike-lanes/

August 24: There are some good tips in here: http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/coexisting-with-bicyclists-10-rules-for-drivers.html

August 7: If you're thinking of starting to commute by bicycle, here are some good tips. You also can learn more at http://www.biketoworkinfo.org: http://momentummag.com/top-10-tips-for-first-time-bicycle-commuters/

August 3: The City of Austin, Texas, found that its road diets reduced crashes without impacting travel times: http://communityimpact.com/2015/07/07/city-right-sizing-roadways-has-shown-few-downsides-after-15-years/

July 16: Streets MN has compiled this list of counterpoints to common arguments against bicycling: http://streets.mn/2015/07/13/lets-put-those-tired-anti-bike-arguments-to-rest/

June 30: A new study details how Copenhagen evaluates the costs of building bicycle facilities: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3046345/how-copenhagen-became-a-cycling-paradise-by-considering-the-full-cost-of-cars

Upcoming Events

Walk 21
October 20-23, 2015
Vienna, Austria

October 25-28, 2015
Dallas, TX USA

National Walking Summit
October 28-30, 2015
Washington, DC USA

Designing Cities Conference
October 28-31, 2015
Austin, TX USA

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition
October 31 - November 4, 2015
Chicago, IL USA

American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting
November 6-9, 2015
Chicago, IL USA

National Light Rail and Streetcar Conference
November 15-17, 2015
Minneapolis, MN USA

Eighth International Urban Design Conference
November 16-18, 2015
Brisbane, Australia

2016 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting
January 10-14, 2016
Washington, DC USA

Active Living Research Conference
January 31-February 3, 2016
Clearwater Beach, FL USA

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
February 3-16, 2016
Portland, OR USA

Fifth Safe Routes to School National Conference
April 5-7, 2016 (State SRTS and TAP coordinators meet on April 4)
Columbus, OH USA

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Campus Box 3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 1.888.823.3977
Fax: 919.962.8710