State and Regional Agencies Work with Community Members in Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina
Source: National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report on Transportation and Health

Pie chart showing the reponse to the survey question "If you had $100 to spend on transportation improvements, how would you spend it?"


The Council of Governments was receiving increasing pressure to improve conditions for bicyclists.


In 2003, in response to citizen pressure to improve conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians, the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG) — the region's MPR — submitted a successful proposal for funding to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Active Living by Design Program. The $200,000 grant funded the creation of a regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Action Plan as well as a partnership to promote health and active living through the built environment.


The partnership for health included a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group (which had been among the groups initiating the project), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the SCDOT, the Medical University of South Carolina, and several healthcare organizations. The Action Plan contained three main goals: 1) Implement a Safe Routes to School program, 2) Implement "complete streets" policies to make roads accessible for all users, and 3) Begin community intervention programs to improve bicycling and walking conditions. All of these goals were accomplished through an organized framework which outlined five specific actions for each of these goals, assigned a lead organization for each, and had measurable results.

The group continued to involve the community during the planning process. During the creation of the long-range transportation plan, the BCDCOG distributed a survey asking how much one would spend on various transportation facilities if given just $100. On average, respondents allocated $24 for pedestrian and bicycle improvements, in contrast to the existing allocation of $0.05 for every $100 spent currently.


The agency took a step towards narrowing the discrepancy between the preferred citizen allocation of funds and the reality of funding by dedicating $30 million for pedestrian and bicycle improvements over the coming 21 years.


Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments

Image Source

Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG), 2005.

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