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Report Describes use of Transit-Oriented Development to Combat Inequality

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has released its Winter Issue of Sustainable Transport, highlighting the issue of inequality. The report describes how some cities are not made for certain populations such as women, older people, the urban poor and people with disabilities. The report focuses on the issue of segregation and the creation of gated communities that facilitate divisions within society and communities that can’t be formed in shared, public space. Transit-oriented development is referenced as a solution to promote inclusivity goals and planning policies that do not displace existing settlements but recognize the multiple identities that form cities. For more information, link to the report. (2-14-17) 

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FTA Reports on Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance

The Federal Transit Administration and Smart Growth America have released a report concerning the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Technical Assistance Initiative. The program is a four year project that provides resources and on-the-ground assistance on TOD, land use, urban planning, affordable housing, and community-based economic development to help local governments retain transit investments. The report on the project’s first year addresses TOD education, the importance of first-mile and last-mile connections, TOD market dynamics and the connection between TOD and affordable housing, and includes case studies. The report also focuses on program challenges and indicates that future assistance must focus on equity gaps, support of peer sharing and in-depth assessments of communities. For more information, link to the report. (1-19-17)

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Volpe Report Highlights Future of Transportation Sector

The Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center has issued a report to highlight safety aspects, opportunities and innovation within the transportation sector. The report, The Future of Transportation: Safety, Opportunity, Innovation, addresses the importance of behavioral change to reduce vehicle miles traveled and the need for policies that facilitate mobility in both urban and suburban environments. The report also discusses the effective development of autonomous vehicles through the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment for vehicle testing and the need for changing urban policy to promote accessibility and allow cities to confront automated vehicle challenges. For more information, link to the report. (1-12-17)

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FHWA Issues Guide on Rural Bicycle Facility Design

A guide issued by the Federal Highway Administration provides information and best practices specifically aimed at designing and building bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in small towns and rural areas. The guide finds that active transportation planning and design is rapidly gaining popularity, but most of the work to date has been focused on large urban areas. Taking into account the factors of roadway speeds and volumes, the extent of the networks, and land use, the guide provides ideas under four categories: mixed traffic facilities, where vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles share the roadways; visually separated facilities, such as paved shoulders and bike lanes; physically separated facilities; and operational controls such as vehicle speed management, pedestrian lanes, and road markings. For more information, link to Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks. (1-9-17)

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Report Compares Accessibility to Jobs by Transit in U.S. Cities

The University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies has released a report to provide a comparison of accessibility to jobs by public transportation and walking in 49 U.S. metropolitan areas. The report includes data calculated using travel times from transit schedules and pedestrian networks, and accounts for variations in service frequency. The report ranks the top 10 cities with the greatest accessibility to jobs using transit or walking. The report also provides data and maps specifying patterns of accessibility in individual metropolitan areas. The report also addresses land-use based approaches and how density plays an important role in increasing the value of more accessible locations. The report indicates that areas with greater accessibility to jobs by transit include those with fast heavy rail systems that connect urban and suburban areas within a highly employment-dense core. For more information, link to the report. (1-8-17)

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MnDOT Report Assesses the Impacts, Benefits of Bicycling

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has released a report concerning the economic impact and health effects of bicycling. The report assesses impacts from the bicycling industry and events, bicycling infrastructure use and bicycling within the Twin Cities metropolitan area, which account for about 70 percent of the total number of bicycle miles traveled in the state. The report indicates that bicycling events provided a total of $14.3 million to the economy in 2014 and commuting by bike reduces the odds of obesity by 32 percent. The report also reveals that the bicycling industry produced a total of $779.9 million for the economy in 2014. For more information, link to the report. (12-30-16)

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FHWA Report on Bicycle, Pedestrian Counts Pilot Provides Lessons for MPOs

A report issued recently by the Federal Highway Administration finds that bicycle and pedestrian counting systems can provide metropolitan areas with useful information to make the case for multimodal project development. The report documents the best practices and lessons learned from a 2015 pilot project involving 10 metropolitan planning organizations from across the country. The project was intended to research and identify the needs of MPOs regarding the documentation of bicycles and pedestrians, develop resources for addressing these needs, and transfer lessons learned to other urban areas. The MPOs experimented with a variety of counter technologies, including passive infrared counters, pneumatic tube counters, radar sensors, video detection, counters that used manual or automatic data retrieval, and portable or fixed systems. For more information, link to the report. (12-23-16)

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USDOT Issues Report on LadderSTEP Pilot in Seven Cities

The Department of Transportation has issued a report concerning progress under the Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot LadderSTEP Program. The report describes the achievements made under the pilot program in Atlanta, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Charlotte, N.C., Indianapolis, Phoenix, and Richmond, Va. Projects developed under the program were aimed at improving access to transit and employment centers, developing bus rapid transit and light rail systems and creating successful bicycle and pedestrian plans. The LadderSTEP program, which facilitates sustainable economic development through transportation decisions, is place-based model of providing technical assistance directly to cities. For more information, link to the report. (12-19-16)

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USDOT Releases Report on Every Place Counts Design Challenge

The Department of Transportation has released a final report concerning the Ladders of Opportunity Every Place Counts Design Challenge. The challenge encourages the rehabilitation of communities and empowerment of residents to have a voice in transportation decisions by enhancing mobility, access and equity for local neighborhoods. The report details workshops that were conducted in four cities adjacent to planned or existing transportation infrastructure projects to develop and understand design and policy options. The report indicates that stakeholder engagement, follow-up workshops, technical study deployment, use of pilot projects, understanding of funding opportunities, and solutions for placemaking and economic development are applicable to any community when undertaking infrastructure projects. For more information, link to the report. (12-20-16)

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TRB Releases Journal That Explores Public Transportation

The Transportation Research Board has published a compilation of 16 papers that explore various issues surrounding public transportation in, Volume No. 2544 of its Transportation Research Record journal. The papers address rail transit ridership, reducing subway crowding, nonadditive public transit fare pricing under congestion and the impact of a loan-based public transport fare system on fare evasion. The papers also address evaluating off-peak pricing strategies in public transportation with an activity-based approach, inferring public transport access distance from smart cards, the potential benefits of visualizing transit data, and the social and distributional effects of public transport fares and subsidy policies. For more information, link to the journal. (12-19-16)

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NCHRP Report Highlights Application of Pedestrian Crossing Treatments

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program has issued a synthesis composed of existing practices concerning the application of pedestrian crossing treatments for streets and highways. The report includes data from state departments of transportation and local transportation agencies and a review of over 25 pedestrian crossing treatments. Data indicates that at least 16 major cities have adopted vision zero strategies to hold system designers and operators accountable for minimizing the possibility of people dying or becoming injured. The report also says that 90 percent of states and local jurisdictions use pedestrian median crossing islands, curb extensions and raised median islands and that 100 percent use pedestrian warning signs as treatments. For more information, link to the report. (12-14-16)

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EPA Selects 25 Communities for Sustainability Program

The Environmental Protection Agency has selected 25 communities from 19 states for the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. The awardees will receive technical assistance to pursue development strategies that advance clean air, clean water, economic development and other local goals. EPA staff and national experts will conduct workshops in 2017 to help these community address development-oriented issues. The EPA is also offering five assistance tools in the program: green and complete streets, equitable development, planning for infill development, sustainable strategies for small cities and rural areas, and flood resilient for riverine and coastal communities. For more information, link to news release. (12-14-16)

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FTA Selects Five Cities for Transit-Oriented Development Support

The Federal Transit Administration has announced the selection of five cities to receive guidance concerning transit-oriented development (TOD) as part of the TOD Technical Assistance Initiative. The program provides planning and analysis tools, a comprehensive online database of TOD information and facilitation of peer-to-peer information exchange. Albuquerque, Birmingham, Charlotte, Omaha and Tacoma were chosen to develop a station area plan for a new bus rapid transit station; preserve neighborhoods with appropriate TOD measures; and deploy a housing market study to project employment, housing and property trends for potential development of TOD sites. For more information, link to the press release. (12-12-16)

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FTA Issues Clarifications Regarding Funding, Equity in Shared Mobility

The Federal Transit Administration has issued question-and-answer guidance regarding the use of on-demand, shared mobility services such as ride-hailing companies as part of the nation’s public transportation system. The agency has addressed issues concerning whether federal funds can be used for shared mobility partnerships with transportation network companies, the distinction between a grant recipient and a contractor, issues regarding bike share services, and drug and alcohol testing requirements. The agency also addressed shared mobility in relation to the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights requirements. An online dialog on the topic will open Dec. 12. For more information, view the FAQ and a “dear colleague” letter from Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. (12-8-16)

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Project for Public Spaces Releases Report on Healthy Placemaking

The Project for Public Spaces has released a report concerning the improvement of health through placemaking. The report includes guidance, recommendations and various case studies to reshape a community’s streets, parks or other public spaces to maximize shared value and increase the quality of life for residents. The report analyzes the impacts of physical, mental, and social health in areas such as social support and interaction; play and active recreation; green and natural environments; healthy food; and walking and biking. The report also provides characteristics of projects that incorporate the social determinants of health and includes recommendations for health care institutions to become placemaking champions. For more information, link to the report. (12-8-16)

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Pedestrian, Bicycle Facilities Needed on Bridges: Paper

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has released a white paper to demonstrate the need for investing in bicycle and pedestrian facilities during bridge rehabilitation projects. The paper, “Improving Pedestrian and Bicycle Connectivity During Rehabilitation of Existing Bridge,” states that Federal Highway Administration policy on pedestrian and bicycle considerations should be addressed at the state, local and regional planning levels. The paper also suggests that providing pedestrian and bicycle facilities as part of bridge rehabilitation projects is a net benefit for communities. Additionally, the paper includes case studies summarizing the positive effects of bicycle and pedestrian connections. For more information, link to the white paper. (11-16-16)

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FTA Announces Selection of ‘Rides to Wellness’ Program Awardees

The Federal Transit Administration has announced the selection of 19 projects under the Rides to Wellness Demonstration and Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility Program (R2W Program). The program has received $7.2 million in funding under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act for states and designated or direct recipients to test replicable public transportation health care access solutions that support increased access to care, improved health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. For more information, link to the notice. (11-10-16)

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FTA Selects Projects for Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program

The Federal Transit Administration has selected projects for the Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning. The projects will receive fiscal year 2015 and 2016 appropriations amounting to approximately $20.49 million. The program is authorized under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and supports planning efforts for new fixed guideway and core capacity improvement projects that are seeking or have received funding through the Fixed Guideway Capital Investment Grants Program. For more information, link to the notice. (10-31-16)

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APA Issues Health Impact Assessment Report and Toolkit

The American Planning Association (APA) has released a report that analyzes the context of health impact assessments (HIAs) within the planning practice. HIAs aid in evaluating how proposed plans, policies, and projects can shape the public’s health. The report examines 27 HIAs conducted from 2004 to 2014 and highlights how planning HIAs have catalyzed cross-sector collaboration and advanced connections between health and planning. The report includes five case studies from across the country indicating that HIAs have helped define the potential for planning to serve as an upstream health intervention. The APA also has issued a toolkit that includes important steps to performing an HIA, recommendations for conducting an effective assessment, and alternatives to performing an HIA. For more information, link to the report and toolkit. (10-27-16)  

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FHWA Issues Annual Recreational Trails Program Report

The Federal Highway Administration has released its annual report on the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The program has provided funding of nearly $1.1 billion between 1993 and 2015 to help states provide and maintain recreational trails for both motorized and nonmotorized trail use. The report highlights project examples from 14 states that address the use of trail assessments, construction of recreational trails, trail acquisition, environmental education and various other RTP permissible uses. The report also highlights program benefits and includes the annual achievement award winners for outstanding trail projects. For more information, link to the report. (10-14-16)

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Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Announced by FTA

The Federal Transit Administration has announced the selection of 61 projects for the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Program. The projects are being funded across 41 states with over $210 million in grants. Program funds provide financial assistance to states and eligible public agencies to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment and to construct bus-related facilities, including technological changes or innovations to modify low- or no-emission vehicles or facilities. For more information, link to the notice. (10-12-16)

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Benchmarking Report Provides Snapshot of Biking and Walking Trends

The Alliance for Biking and Walking has released its 2016 benchmarking report to provide a snapshot of biking and walking in the U.S. The report provides data from the American Community Survey for all 50 states and 50 of the most populous cities. The report identifies trends and focuses on the connection between healthy lifestyles and bicycling and walking. The report also identifies remaining challenges to improving data availability. The report is intended to provide communities with resources to understand the range of benefits from alternative modes of transportation. For more information, link to the report. (10-3-16)

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TRB Report Focuses on Improving Livability in Transit Corridors

The Transportation Research Board has released a Transit Cooperative Research Program report for improving livability in transit corridors. The handbook, TCRP Report 187, highlights methods to improve quality of life on a corridor basis through increased transit ridership, incentives for active transportation,  affordable housing opportunities, and increased participation in the planning process. The handbook includes a five-step, best practices visioning process based on quantitative analysis of over 350 U.S. transit corridors and 17 case studies. The report is intended as a tool for stakeholders to plan and build support for corridor improvements, screen alternatives for environmental review and supplement established travel demand, transit quality of service or traffic operations tools. For more information, link to the report. (9-19-16)

 

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Case Studies Show Metro Agencies Using Data to Select Transportation Projects

Transportation for America has released case studies showing how four metropolitan areas used data-driven ways to conceive, select and build transportation projects which strengthened the local economy, improved public health outcomes, promoted social equity and protected the environment. The case studies, which were prepared in partnership with American Public Health Association, cover projects in Broward County, Fla., Greensboro, N.C., Nashville and Sacramento. For more information, link to the case studies for Sacramento, Broward County, Nashville and Greensboro. (9-22-16)

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Report Outlines How Transit Agencies Can Work with Uber and Bikeshares

TransitCenter has released a report outlining how government agencies can improve services by working with on-demand services like Uber or bikeshares. The report recommends that agencies build a more robust transportation network by partnering to reinforce transit’s strengths, leveraging agency-controlled assets, planning for a streamlined user experience, and being open to new ways of providing useful transit. The report also recommends steps for agencies that want to go further, suggesting subsidizing customer trips, more efficiently allocating street space to high-volume transportation options, and experiments with on-demand transit service. For more information, link to the report. (9-8-16)

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TRB Report Highlights Relationship of Transit and Shared Mobility

The Transportation Research Board has released a report regarding the relationship between public transportation and shared modes such as bike sharing, car sharing, microtransit, and ridesourcing services. Based on interviews and surveys, the report found that shared modes largely complement transit, and both the use of shared modes and the use of transit correlate with owning fewer cars. The report also found that public-sector agencies and private-sector operators are eager to collaborate to improve paratransit, and that new models of public-private partnerships are in development. The report provides information to agencies that are exploring opportunities concerning technology-enabled mobility services and ways that transit can engage with these new modes. For more information, link to the report. (9-15-16)

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FHWA Releases Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation

The Federal Highway Administration has released a Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation. The agenda is a framework to guide FHWA’s pedestrian and bicycle initiatives and investments during federal fiscal year 2016-2017 through fiscal year 2020-2021. The agenda also establishes a strategic, collaborative approach for making walking and bicycling viable transportation options for people of all ages and abilities. For more information, link to the strategic agenda. (9-12-16)

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Bureau of Transportation Statistics Releases First National Transit Map

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in partnership with the Federal Transit Administration and the Transportation Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, has released the nation’s first National Transit Map. The map includes information from 270 transit agencies across the country regarding transit systems stops, routes and schedules and represents data on 84 percent of the top 25 urban transit agencies with fixed route service, 74 percent of the top 50 agencies and one-third of all urban transit agencies. The map supports the U.S. DOT’s Ladders Opportunity initiative to promote the use of existing transportation networks for mobility needs. For more information, link to the press release. (9-1-16)

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Featured Case Study

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    Utah DOT's 'Road Respect Community' Program Provides Support, Recognition for Community Bicycle Programs

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