Funding for bicycle and pedestrian activities is administered through Government Agencies and Non-government Sources, such as private not-for profit groups and advocacy organizations. Typically, these activities can be put into one of three categories:

  • 1. Capital improvement projects
    • These projects are usually construction activities or other physical modifications of the built or natural environment that improve conditions for bicycling and/or walking. These projects are usually funded by government entities. Small-scale projects, and projects where land acquisition is the primary cost, are frequently funded 90 to 100 percent with non-government sources.
  • 2. Planning and research initiatives
    • Bicycle and pedestrian plans, along with research, provide state, regional, and local agencies with guidance and direction for building facilities and implementing safety and education programs. Increasingly, state and local governments are funding applied research in areas such as: crash analysis; traffic modeling; facility design; and testing of innovative road treatments, materials, and equipment that serve bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • 3. Safety/education programs
    • Bicycle and pedestrian safety/education programs work to increase bicycling and walking while reducing crashes. They can include a wide range of programmatic activities, such as: child bicyclist safety training; ongoing bike helmet giveaways; training for traffic engineering or planning professionals; traffic safety campaigns; start-up and training costs for police-on-bike programs; campaigns to increase rates of bicycling or walking such as bike-to-work days; publication of maps and brochures; maintenance of websites; or other on-going programs.

Funding Strategies in Action

Here's a sampling of funding strategies employed by communities across the nation:

Public-private partnership for the Downtown Greenway
Greensboro, NC – The Downtown Greenway is a planned 4 mile walking and biking greenway that will loop around downtown Greensboro. The planning for the Downtown Greenway is a public private partnership between the City of Greensboro and Action Greensboro and is led by the Downtown Greenway Oversight Committee. Funds will come from federal and state grants, local foundations, transportation bond allocations, and private and business contributions. In 2008, the project secured $4.5 million in private funding and $7 million from the passage of a street improvement bond. In 2012, fundraising exceeded $18 million. Check out the PBIC case study for more information about the planning.

Channel developer mitigation fees for large transportation projects
Tallahassee, FL – To help fund transportation projects, partner agencies in Tallahassee started a Significant Benefits Program which pools the funds from developers who pay their “proportionate fair share” to mitigate development impacts on the transportation network. Rather than funding small projects throughout the community that might encourage sprawl, the money accrues in an account until there is enough money to complete one major transportation project. Project priorities were established for five districts in Tallahassee, and within the Mobility District, 100 percent of money will be spent on bicycle, pedestrian, and transit projects.

Property tax for sidewalk and ramp reconstruction
Ann Arbor, MI – In 2011, nearly 60 percent of residents voted to fund a city-wide, 5-year sidewalk repair program. This new system emerged from discussion in public meetings about improving the former system of resident-managed sidewalk repair. The Sidewalk and Ramp Repair Program includes the city’s program of bringing sidewalks and ramps into ADA compliance.

Leverage a transportation sales tax for corridor improvements
San Francisco, CA – The 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard Transportation Plan considered ways to improve travel conditions and safety along the six-lane highway that serves as a gateway to the city. To facilitate funding, speed implementation, and address the highest needs first, the corridor's intersections were prioritized into three groups, depending on the intersection's pedestrian volumes, transit ridership, vehicle traffic, and collision history. Proposition K, a half-cent transportation sales tax, provides some funding for improvements in the corridor, but not enough for all identified improvements. The San Francisco County Transportation Agency plans to pursue other sources of funding to leverage Prop K funds, including future regional grant programs, state programs and private and federal sources. Check out the PBIC case study for more information and the plan.

And for more information, check out our case studies that discuss funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects and other funding-related resources.