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Case Study Addresses Active Transportation Planning in Dallas-Fort Worth Area

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a report concerning coordinated planning for active transportation facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth (D/FW) Area, as part of FHWA’s Livable Communities Case Study Series. To address the walking and bicycling needs of citizens, the D/FW area created a bike plan in 2011 and has since launched a bike share program and a bond package to allocate $20 million for shared use path projects. The region has completed several complete streets projects as a result of public engagement efforts and converted the Continental Avenue Bridge into a park to link downtown and West Dallas. In addition, the North Central Texas Council of Governments hosted a planning workshop with three D/FW counties to partner on projects to connect cities to each other and the D/FW airport. Funding strategies, public engagement, and community collaboration have led to alternative transportation growth for the region. For more information, link to the case study. (6-28-17)

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Traffic Monitoring Addressed in Transportation Research Record

Fourteen research papers concerning methods for monitoring automobile, truck, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic are provided in the Volume No. 2644 of the Transportation Research Board’s Transportation Research Record journal. The papers address bicycle and pedestrian counts at signalized intersections, evaluation of annual average daily traffic calculation methods, and the use of municipal vehicles as sensor platforms to monitor roadway traffic. The papers also address quality measure of short-duration bicycle counts, strategies for monitoring multiuse trail networks, and the costs of independent bicycle and pedestrian projects. For more information, link to the publication. (8-12-17)

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New Guidance Shows Benefits of Big Data to Understand Travel Patterns

The State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) has issued a new resource to help decision makers understand travel patterns. The report provides guidance on various types of data sources, such as Bluetooth, location, and GPS from mobile devices, that are used to collect information concerning where and when people travel and by what modes. The report also highlights examples of how this data was applied in the Connecting Sacramento study, which revealed that trip-making data helps to understand first-and-last mile connections. Recommendations include having decision makers enlist data providers to help interpret data, asking specific questions to make data interpretation easier, and aggregating trip-making data over larger areas to create a robust sample size. For more information, link to the report. (8-7-17)

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National Park Service Funding Supports Park Infrastructure

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced the availability of more than $50 million to support maintenance and infrastructure projects at 42 parks in 29 states. The funding will be used to improve trails, roads and bridges, restore buildings, and increase visitor access to parks. The $20 million in federal funding will be added to funding from many non-federal partners. Projects will include addressing deferred maintenance on the Alluvial Fan Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the development of a multi-use trail to connect the visitor center at the Gettysburg National Military Park to a historic farm. Funding also will be used for maintaining and improving trails, retaining walls and overlooks at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park. For more information, link to the announcement. (7-24-17)

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FTA Proposes Public-Private Partnerships in Public Transportation

The Federal Transit Administration will facilitate public-private partnerships in public transportation via a new proposal regarding Private Investment Project Procedures (PIPP). The procedures will advance private-sector participation and investment in project planning, development, finance, design, construction, maintenance, and operations. The PIPP system will allow funding recipients to request modification or waiver of FTA requirements if such requirements discourage the use of public-private partnerships. The FTA says that the PIPP system will not be used to waive requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments on the proposed rule are due Sept. 29, 2017. For additional information, link to the announcement. (7-31-17)

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Des Moines Area MPO Develops Data Bike to Score Trail Conditions

The Des Moines Area Municipal Planning Organization, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, has developed the Iowa Data Bike. The electric-assist bicycle generates data that scores the condition of trails through an app that senses roughness of pavement. Data will be collected for all paved trails to create a long-term maintenance strategy for the trail network in central Iowa. The bike also will be used to collect Google Street View images for regional trails and geocoded imagery of trail conditions. For more information, link to the announcement. (7-21-17)

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Report Highlights Accessibility Metrics and Trip Data in Sacramento

The State Smart Transportation Initiative released a report concerning best practices for the use of accessibility metrics and trip-making data from mobile devices. The study, Connecting Sacramento, focuses on the light rail transit system in Sacramento, Calif., and the Stockton Boulevard bus corridor to highlight locations with poor connections to existing transit, describe people’s travel behavior in those locations, and assess applicable improvements. The report provides an equity analysis to identify areas that serve low-income households with favorable transit accessibility and ideal areas for future affordable housing. For more information, link to the report. (7-24-17)

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TRB Research Record Addresses Connected and Automated Vehicles

The Transportation Research Board has published a compilation of papers concerning connected and automated vehicles in Volume 2625 of its Transportation Research Record journal. The journal includes an analysis of the effective connected-automated vehicle technologies on travel demand and addresses driving mode decision making for intelligent vehicles in stressful traffic events. The journal also addresses the public’s opinion of connected vehicle systems and includes a risk analysis of autonomous vehicles in different traffic environments and a method for gauging usage opportunities for partially automated vehicles. For more information, link to the journal. (7-20-17)

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Study Evaluates Urban Development as a Determinant of Health Inequalities

The Mountain-Plains Consortium has issued a report concerning how urban development patterns may create health inequalities. The report examines data from road segments in the Denver metropolitan area to understand whether minority race/ethnicity and lower socio-economic status associate with higher traffic exposure when accounting for the populations’ likelihood of living closer to roads and the relationship between traffic, demographic and socioeconomic variables. The report indicates that minorities and those with lower socio-economic status and without a college education are associated with a higher exposure to traffic. The report also reveals that poverty is a consistent predictor of traffic density in the Denver metropolitan region. For more information, link to the report. (June 2017)

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FTA Issues $226.5 Million to Improve Transit Bus Services

The Federal Transit Administration has announced the availability of $226.5 million in funding under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program. The program helps states, local governments and Indian tribes improve the condition of their bus infrastructure by funding the replacement and rehabilitation of buses and associated facilities. A minimum of $22.6 million will be provided for rural bus needs. Applications are due Aug. 25, 2017. For more information, link to the announcement. (7-12-17)

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Minnesota DOT Analyzes Traffic Impacts Related to Bicycle Facilities

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has issued a report to evaluate traffic impacts to inform design guidelines for on-street bicycle facilities. On-street facilities include design treatments such as striped shoulders, drain grates, pavement markings, and signage. The report includes a review of driver behavior and several evaluations of facilities by federal, state, and local agencies. The report also highlights case studies conducted in nine locations that indicated that drivers are more likely to remain in their travel lanes, and are less likely to encroach into adjacent lanes, pass, or queue behind cyclists, when on roads with buffered or striped bicycle lanes. Study results indicate that bicycle lanes should be adopted instead of shared lane markings or signage. For more information, link to the report. (June 2017)

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Homeland Security Department Evaluates Autonomous and Semiautonomous Vehicle Security Concerns

The Department of Homeland Security, Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis, has released an assessment concerning autonomous and semiautonomous vehicle deployment. The assessment evaluates safety concerns and the need for liability provisions as vehicle autonomy progresses. Several cyber risks that may arise as technologies become more integrated within vehicles are highlighted, in addition to long-term benefits such as congestion relief and heightened safety. Vehicle deployment could also result in an increase in urban sprawl or population movement to suburbs due to technology development that allows drivers to work, sleep or accomplish other tasks during their commute. For more information, link to the report. (June 2017)

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Study Evaluates Public Opinion on Transportation Funding

Data regarding the public’s opinion on federal funding of public transit, highways, and local streets and roads have been compiled in a study by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. The report compares results from eight surveys that were administered from 2010-2017, that address public perception of an increase in the federal gas tax rate, a new national mileage tax, and a new national sales tax. Respondents were fragmented based on travel behavior and sociodemograhic characteristics. Overall, a majority of Americans support higher taxes for transportation, except for the flat-rate mileage fee. A majority of respondents also believe that the quality of public transit is either very good or somewhat good and place a high or medium priority on expanding public transit in their state. For more information, link to the report. (7-2-17)

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FHWA Highlights North Central Texas’ Consideration of Health in Long-Range Planning

The Federal Highway Administration has issued an overview of how health considerations have been incorporated into the planning efforts of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The NCTCOG used resources developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify health indicators, data on various transportation-related public health measures, and strategies for improving citizen health. The area’s latest long range plan includes new strategies to reinforce and promote improved health in the 12-county region. For more information, link to the overview. (6-28-17)

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Study Finds Milwaukee Residents Have Unequal Access to Biking, Walking Facilities

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has issued a report finding that neighborhoods in Milwaukee that experience social or economic inequality have a disproportionate lack of access to multimodal facilities. Specifically, in certain parts of the city only 3 percent of residents are within walking distance of a trail and 8 percent are within biking distance of a trail. These areas are predominantly African-American or Hispanic neighborhoods and have higher concentrations of poverty, unemployment and zero-car households. The study used RTC’s “BikeAble” tool, a GIS-modeling platform that analyzes connectivity to determine the best low-stress routes for bicycling. Low-stress routes are ones with speed limits below 25 miles per hour and which lack significant physical barriers to safe crossing for bicyclists or pedestrians. For more information, link to the report. (6-27-17)

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New Version of Transit Oriented Development Standard Issued

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has issued an updated transit-oriented development standard. The new voluntary standard increases the emphasis on inclusionary housing, providing safe streets, parks, playgrounds, schools, and health facilities for all neighborhoods, for all ages, abilities, demographics, or incomes. The TOD Standard is a guide and tool to help assess, plan, and shape urban developments, based on eight core principles of urban design and land use, each supported by specific performance objectives and measurable indicators. Planners and policymakers can use the standard to create a scorecard to measure how development meets the principles. For more information, link to the TOD Standard 3.0. (6-25-17)

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APA Specifies Metrics for Measuring a Healthy Built Environment

Tools for measuring health within the built environment are addressed in a report issued by the American Planning Association. The report provides a set of “Healthy Planning Metrics” that can be used to assess, mea­sure, monitor, and report progress toward healthy planning goals. The report identifies five areas where planners could intervene to improve health: active living, healthy food system, environmental exposure, emergency preparedness, and social cohesion. The metrics can be integrated into regular plan­ning processes and used to create monitoring plans to meet community goals. For more information, link to the report. (May 2017)

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Alabama Case Study on Improved Transportation Alternatives Issued

Prioritizing livability and connectivity through transportation improvements in Foley, Ala., is addressed in a new case study issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The city worked with stakeholders to connect walking and biking facilities that were separated by State Route 59 to create its 2011 Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan. The city of Foley received a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to implement several projects within the plan, including the addition of a pedestrian bridge and shared use paths to facilitate active transportation and increase economic activity. A new one mile shared use path to connect networks for walking and bicycling will also be funded. For more information, link to the case study. (5-19-17)

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Park-and-Ride Management Addressed in TRB Research Reports

The Transit Cooperative Research Program has released decision-making toolboxes to plan and manage park-and-ride facilities for public transportation. TCRP Research Report 192 serves as a guidebook to address site-specific project planning, park-and-ride typologies, and charging for parking. The guidebook also highlights the adoption of transit-oriented development to maximize use of land and how to incorporate park-and-ride facility maintenance into asset management practices and plans. TCRP Web-Only Document 69 includes a literature review of park-and-rides and demand estimation models for effective planning. Case studies highlighting the Bay Area Transit Authority’s parking demand management strategies and Connecticut Department of Transportation’s park-and-ride demand modeling are also provided. For more information, link to the research report and web-only document. (6-16-17)

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FHWA Report Describes Use of Variable Speed Limit Signs

Current practice in use of variable speed limit (VSL) signs is addressed in a new report released by the Federal Highway Administration. VSL systems are used to calm traffic and increase safety using information on traffic speed, occupancy, volume detection, weather, and road surface conditions. The report includes data from interviews with agencies with active VSL systems throughout the U.S. It highlights benefits from VSL systems and challenges that include enforcement, driver compliance, lag in data and a lack of cost-benefit data to justify use of a VSL system. The report indicates that systems are primarily used for congestion, weather and work zones and that some agencies such as the Missouri Department of Transportation have deactivated their systems due to driver noncompliance. For more information, link to the report. (5-31-17)

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Best Practices for Rural Regional Transit Outlined in NCHRP Report

An evaluation of state and regional best practices with regard to public transportation in rural areas has been issued by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Project 20-65 (56)). The report identifies several types of rural transportation services that do not involve private vehicles. These include intercity bus service for long-distance travel, local public transit for regularly-scheduled service in a defined area, and on-demand single-passenger transportation. However, the report recognizes a need for agencies to support an additional distinct type—called rural regional mobility—which would be open to the general public and would address the kinds of trips than can be made in a day, rather than overnight, while also considering possibilities for meeting intercity needs. The report includes an overview of state policies, multiple case studies, a collection of lessons learned, and a checklist for developing a rural regional mobility program. For more information, link to the report. (5-15-17)

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Transportation Alternatives Annual Report Issued

The annual report documenting the Transportation Alternatives (TA) projects and funding for fiscal year 2016 has been posted by the Federal Highway Administration. The report shows that the vast majority of TA projects, more than 77 percent, were related to pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Other eligible categories that received funding included recreational facilities, turnouts and viewing areas, historic preservation, environmental and wildlife, safe routes to school, and other. The FHWA received 4,179 applications and selected 2,088 projects for funding. The total cost for the selected projects was $595.5 million. For more information, link to the report. (5-11-17)

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Transportation Planning Excellence Awards for 2017 Announced by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration has announced the winners of its 2017 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards. The recipients include a “best-of-the-best” award presented to the San Diego Association of Governments for its San Diego Forward Regional Plan. FHWA also announced 11 additional award winners and three honorable mentions from regions in California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Award-winning planning initiatives included efforts focused on sustainable communities, transit systems, multimodal planning, community outreach, indirect and cumulative effects, bicycle and pedestrian planning and streetscapes. For more information, link to the 2017 award winners web page. (5-10-17)

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CDC Task Force Reviews Strategies to Increase Physical Activity

The Community Preventive Services Task Force of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a report reviewing studies of land use and transportation strategies that will increase physical activity. The task force recommends that built environment approaches should combine features such as street connectivity and bicycle infrastructure with access to parks or mixed land uses to increase physical activity. Replacing findings from 2004, the report is based on a review of 90 studies that address diverse designs, different combinations of options, and long-term changes for transportation and recreational physical activity. The report highlights studies of construction projects, evaluations of the impact of sprawl, comparisons of neighborhood types and differences in the amount of time engaged in physical activity. For more information, link to the report. (5-5-17)

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Several Cities Designated as Walk Friendly Communities

The Walk Friendly Communities Program, in sponsorship with FedEx, has designated cities such as New York, Eugene, Ore., Fayetteville, Ark., and Fort Lauderdale for improved sidewalk connectivity and the promotion of walking to work or school. The Walk Friendly Designation includes seven new cities and renewed designation for three recipients for their efforts in expanding opportunities for walking and improving pedestrian safety. The program is supported by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and awards designations from bronze to platinum. Applications to join the walk friendly communities are due June 15, 2017. For more information, link to the announcement. (5-5-17)

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New Toolkits Provide Smart Growth Approach in Rural Areas

Three new toolkits concerning well-placed housing, location of community facilities and fiscal impacts in rural communities have been released by Smart Growth America. The toolkits address how the government can provide residents of affordable housing better access to work, hospitals and shopping by changing zoning restrictions and protecting Section 515 housing. Also, community facility location policies can be developed to increase access to services. In addition, the fiscal impact analysis toolkit is intended to help localities with the cost and benefit decisions related to new development. Each toolkit provides case studies, model policies and best practices. For more information, link to the toolkits. (4-26-17)

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2016 Benchmarking Report on Biking and Walking is Issued

The Institute of Transportation Engineers has announced the Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report. The report, in partnership with the American Public Health Association and League of American Bicyclists, is presented as a website to provide users with tools to analyze collected data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states, the 50 largest U.S. cities, and a few mid-sized cities. The report is intended to allow exploration of the intersections between transportation, health and equity, and support the shift toward active transportation modes. The report also can be purchased in hard copy. For more information, link to the announcement and the report. (4-25-17)

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TRB Report Describes Park-and-Ride Facility Management and Planning

The Transit Cooperative Research Program has issued a report concerning the planning and management of park-and-ride facilities. The report, Decision-Making Toolbox to Plan and Manage Park-and-Ride Facilities for Public Transportation: Guidebook on Planning and Managing Park-and-Ride (TCRP Report 192), provides strategies and best practices for parking and drop-off facilities for public transportation. The guide addresses long-range and site-specific planning and the design and operation of park-and-ride locations, including lease or build options, passenger amenities, types of required parking and vehicle and access variables. The guide also addresses integration into communities, facilities within transit-oriented development and paid parking programs. For more information, link to the guide. (4-17-17)

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Regional Cooperation to Improve Bike/Ped-Transit Connections Focus of Peer Exchange

Best practices in working across jurisdictions to improve connections between bicycle and pedestrian facilities and transit are described in a report issued by the Federal Highway Administration. The report summarizes a Regional Models of Cooperation peer exchange held in October 2016. The Utah Transit Authority hosted peers from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Mid-America Regional Council. Regional Models of Cooperation is a program of the FHWA Every Day Counts initiative. For more information, link to the report. (3-16-17)

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Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Handbook Issued by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a handbook for incorporating pedestrian and bicycle transportation into regional planning activities. The report addresses approaches to engaging stakeholders, identifying walking and bicycling conditions and needs, developing regional plans and priorities and increasing funding. The report includes recommendations for analyzing existing travel behavior and addresses identification of where people want to walk and bike, development of nonmotorized transportation and examples of municipal organization-led counting programs. For more information, link to the report. (3-8-17)

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Public Transportation Ridership Described in APTA Report

Statistics on public transportation ridership within urbanized areas for various population sizes are detailed in a report issued by the American Public Transportation Association. The report includes information from 211 passenger survey reports conducted from 2008-2015 from 163 transit systems in the U.S. The report provides data on age, ethnicity and race, household size, employment and household income of transit riders and indicates that 55 percent of riders are women. The report also finds that 49 percent of trips are to and from work and addresses other travel characteristics such as frequency of transit use, access mode and fare media. For more information, link to the report. (3-10-17)

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Bike Share Ridership Data Available from NACTO

The National Association of City Transportation Officials has released bike share ridership data showing that over 88 million trips have been taken on a bike share bike nationwide from 2010 to 2016 and that the system has grown to over 42,000 bikes. The largest bike share systems are located in Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York and Washington, D.C., with systems recently added in Los Angeles and Portland, Ore. The data show that the average trip time is 12 minutes for members and 25 minutes for casual users. Also, 24 percent of systems have income-based subsidized passes. For more information, link to the report. (3-9-17)

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Report Seeks to Answer Parking Question Near Transit

Smart Growth America has issued a report concerning the use of land for parking at transit-oriented developments (TODs). The report includes data from five TODs across the country to address how much less parking space is required at TODs and how many fewer vehicle trips are generated than standard estimates. The report examines the estimated number of vehicle trips versus actual vehicle trips, peak parking occupancy and average mode shares at each TOD. The report indicates that fewer vehicle trips are made and a reduced amount of parking space is used. The results highlight the need to align industry standards with TOD needs. For more information, link to the report. (3-1-17)

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New Transportation Center Focuses on Emissions, Health Impacts

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute has established a new university transportation center to study the health effects of transportation emissions. The Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy and Health (CAR-TEEH), a consortium of four partners, will study the entire tailpipe-to-lungs spectrum, bringing together experts in the areas of transportation emissions and public health. For more information, link to the announcement. (3-1-17)

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Report Describes Regional Active Transportation Planning

Transportation for America has a released a report concerning how regional transportation planning agencies are promoting active transportation. The report focuses on communities that are developing and prioritizing projects to encourage physical activity by making walking and biking more accessible. The report provides case studies concerning funding for competitive bicycling and walking projects and encouraging safe routes to school projects and the directing of funds to support compact, walkable communities. The report also includes performance measures to assess project benefits, planning policies that promote regional goals and best practices for improving data collection. For more information, link to the report. (2-22-17)

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TRB Releases Journals Addressing Bicycles, Transit

The Transportation Research Board has published a compilation of papers exploring issues related to bicycles and motorcycles in Volume 2587 of its Transportation Research Record journal. The journal address topics such as estimating current and potential bicycle use for statewide planning, bike sharing, cyclists’ comfort level using crowdsourced data, and network connectivity for low-stress bicycling. The TRB also published papers concerning urban traffic systems in Volume 2543 of its Transportation Research Record journal. The journal addresses topics such as scenario and modeling analysis to support transit development, complete street policies and public transit, and methods for estimating statewide transit needs. The journal also addresses demand-responsive pricing for parking and incentive-based intervention during peak period traffic scenarios. For more information, link to the Volume 2587 and Volume 2543. (2-23-17)

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America Walks Establishes Transit-Walkability Collaborative

America Walks has created the Transit-Walkability Collaborative to improve public health, safety and transportation equity. The coalition includes nine organizations such as the Center for Transportation Excellence, American Public Transportation Association, National Association of Public Transportation Advocates and Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help low-income citizens complete daily activities while owning fewer vehicles and driving less. The association has adopted a 2017 action plan and intends to complete an environmental scan to expand walkability and transit advocacy groups. A coalition fact sheet will be published in March in conjunction with a webinar and online survey. For more information, link to the announcement. (2-22-17)

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

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