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Recent Developments Archive

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Report Addresses Travel Options for Underserved Populations in Chicago

The Urban Transportation Center has released a report concerning travel options for underserved populations within the Chicago metropolitan area. The report highlights the use of technology, partnerships, tailored services, policies and organizational steps to enable people to travel without owning a car. The report focuses on the transit challenges in Chicago; the evolution of alternative transit use, including rideshare services and possible impact of autonomous vehicles; and policy recommendations to achieve mobility for all. Mobility research will aid policymakers in creating integrated and affordable mobility for lower income populations across the U.S. For more information, link to the report. (8-21-16)

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Report Examines Connection Between Residential Livability and Traffic

The Upper Great Plans Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University has released a report concerning the relationship between residential livability and traffic. The report analyzes 10 urban arterials in Denver with dimensions of high/low traffic and high/low design quality. The report also examines how residents perceive and use arterial roads, and what characteristics of arterial roads associate with residential satisfaction. The study indicates that arterials perceived as being vibrant are associated with increased residential satisfaction and arterials filled with illicit activity and trash are linked with lower satisfaction. Ultimately, the institute discovered that a mixture of land use policies, enforcement of social norms, and the design of pedestrian and transit environments are key to maximizing contributions of arterials to neighborhood livability. For more information, link to the report. (8-12-16)

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NACTO Lists Ingredients of Successful Bike Share System

The National Association of City Transportation Officials has detailed the six essential ingredients for a successful and equitable bike share system. The ingredients are: convenience, scale and density; safe places to ride; engagement and outreach; connections to transit; jobs and opportunities; and smart pricing. The ingredients are born from the Better Bike Share Partnership, a collaboration of partners including NACTO which recently brought together over 100 city officials, bike share operators and experts in equity and community organization to focus on making bike share work for everyone. For more information, link to the blog post. (8-3-16)

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Bike/Ped Application Added to PlanWorks Decision Support System

A new Bicycles and Pedestrians Application has been added to the Federal Highway Administration’s decision support system, PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects. The enhancement is intended to help metropolitan planning organizations, state departments of transportation, and other partners fully integrate pedestrian and bicycle planning and design into the formal transportation planning process. It provides detailed information on how multimodal transportation can be incorporated into specific steps in the planning process. For more information, link to the application. (6-30-16)

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Report Highlights Benefits of Transportation Alternatives Program

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the Transportation Alternatives Data Exchange have released their annual report concerning transportation enhancements and transportation alternatives spending. The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is the largest federal source of funding for walking and biking projects, providing a total of $738.3 million to states in 2015. The report indicates that bicycle and pedestrian facilities, safe routes to school infrastructure projects and rail-trails combined make up 91.2 percent of all TAP projects, more projects are being funded and states are spending their unobligated transportation enhancement balances. For more information, link to the report. (7-26-16) 

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Group Analyzes Transit Rider Behavior, Needs and Attitudes

TransitCenter has released a report on ways people use transit, what people value in transit and riders’ use of other modes. The report includes a survey of 3,000 people from 17 regions and discussions with riders in three cities. The analysis shows that walkability is critical to transit use, riders value improvements in frequency and travel time and that there are there are three patterns of transit use: occasional riders, commuters and all-purpose riders. As cities expand and improve transportation, it will become increasingly important to understand the people that use it. For more information, link to the report. (7-18-16)

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Practices and Policies for Smartphone Apps Reviewed in FHWA Report

A report on current practices for smartphone applications in the transportation sector has been issued by the Federal Highway Administration. The report, “Smartphone Application to Influence Travel Choices: Practices and Policies,” also looks toward the future in the evolution and development of smartphone applications in transportation. It reviews the types of applications promoting transportation efficiency and congestion reduction, describes the impacts of transportation-related applications on traveler behavior and provides guiding principles for public agencies. For more information, link to the report. (7-15-16) 

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Report Issued on Shared Mobility and Public Transit

A report on shared mobility and public transit has been published by The Transportation Research Board’s Transit Cooperative Research Program. The report, Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit (Report 188), examines the relationship between public transportation to shared modes, including bikesharing, carsharing, microtransit and ridesourcing services provided by companies such as Uber and Lyft. The report also examines issues such as technology-enabled mobility services, including suggesting ways that transit can learn from, build upon and interface with these new modes. For more information, link to the report. (7-11-16)

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FTA, Smart Growth America Announce Transit-Oriented Development Online Hub

Smart Growth America and the Federal Transit Administration have announced the launch of the online hub for national information and ideas to help users develop outstanding transit-oriented projects. The online launch is part of the TOD Technical Assistance Initiative, which is an FTAproject administered by Smart Growth America. The initiative provides on-the-ground and online technical assistance to communities working on TOD projects across the country. The online site includes a database of research on TOD, information and funding and financing for TOD projects and opportunities for professionals to connect with others. For more information, link to the announcement and to TODresources.org. (7-6-16) 

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U.S. DOT Announces 'Every Place Counts' Design Challenge Winners

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced the four winning cities of the Every Place Counts Design Challenge: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; Nashville, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Penn.; and Spokane, Wash. Each city will receive a design session that convenes elected officials, urban planners, designers and a cross-section of local residents around a transportation project that has the potential to link communities to essential services such as jobs, healthcare and schools. The challenge aims to raise awareness and identify inclusive community design solutions that bridge the infrastructure divide and reconnect people to opportunity. For more information, link to the announcement. (6-27-16)

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FHWA Highlights Benefits of Transportation and Health Agency Collaboration

FHWA has added two new case studies concerning health in transportation to highlight the public health benefits resulting from transportation agency and health department collaboration. The Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization partnered with the Florida Department of Health to complete three-year health-related planning efforts by increasing access to Pinellas County parks and trails that serve minority and low-income populations. Access aims to reduce factors for chronic diseases that occur when people do not get enough physical activity. The Oregon DOT has conducted similar efforts by entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Oregon Health Authority to implement transportation projects that contribute to positive health outcomes; acknowledge the connection between walking and health; and coordinate transportation planning to encourage such behaviors and increase opportunities for transit. For more information, link to the case studies. (6-30-16)

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FHWA Releases Health in Transportation Working Group 2015 Annual Report

FHWA has released the 2015 annual report on the activities of the U.S. DOT’s Health in Transportation Working Group. The report includes activities and accomplishments in 2015 and documents the working group’s progress toward recommendations provided in 2014. The working group promotes the U.S. DOT’s existing policies and programs and their impacts on health-related issues such as air quality, active transportation, environmental review, noise, safety, livable communities, and access to health-related facilities. The group includes representatives from FHWA offices as well as Federal Transit Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Office of the Secretary. For more information, link to the report. (6-30-16) 

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U.S. DOT Publishes MPO Coordination and Planning Area Reform Proposed Rule

The U.S. Department of Transportation has published a proposed rule on metropolitan planning organization (MPO) coordination and planning area reform. The rule redefines “metropolitan planning area” to clarify that it must include the entire urbanized area and the contiguous area forecast to become urbanized within the 20-year planning horizon. The rule also specifies that governors and MPOs determine whether multiple MPOs are warranted within a single metropolitan planning area and that multiple MPOs within a metropolitan planning area will jointly develop planning products. In addition, the rule requires states and MPOs to maintain a current planning agreement. For more information, link to the agency’s press release or the Federal Register notice. (6-27-16)

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NACTO Issues Policy Guidance for Automated Vehicle Use

The National Association of City Transportation Officials has issued policy recommendations for incorporating automated vehicles into transportation networks. NACTO urges stakeholders to adopt fully automated vehicles to ensure safety; carefully plan and route expressway capacity; limit the maximum speed of automated vehicles to 25 mph; and implement data-sharing requirements to reduce costs for data collection. NACTO also suggests that stakeholders consider lower travel costs in cost-benefit analysis modeling to accurately predict future travel demand. Such automated vehicle policy guidance will facilitate a smoother transition to new transportation technologies. For more information, link to the report. (6-23-16)

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Adventure Cycling, AASHTO Announce Approval of 194 Milles of New Bicycle Routes

The Adventure Cycling Association, in partnership with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, has announced the approval of 194 miles of new U.S. Bicycle Routes (USBRs) in four states. Connecticut and Massachusetts designated USBR 7, which follows the Western New England Greenway. Two new spur routes also were approved in Virginia and Georgia, and Idaho realigned a small portion of USBR 10 through Sandpoint. The official USBR system now encompasses 11,243 miles of routes in 24 states and the District of Columbia and will continue to grow over the next few years. For more information, link to the report. (6-9-16) 

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Research Evaluates Strategies to Encourage Travelers to Use Transit over Driving

The University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies has released a research brief on strategies for encouraging travelers to choose transit. The research found that transit travel times compared with automotive travel times are an important predicator of the decision to drive or use transit. It also found that density at trip origins and destinations are crucial for attracting people to transit and that policies that promote pedestrian infrastructure and affordable housing boost ridership in station areas, but only if there is sufficient commercial activity nearby. For more information, link to the research brief. (6-14-16)

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Bike Network Mapping Idea Book Posted by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration has released a Bike Network Mapping Idea Book to help communities as they identify, plan and improve their bicycle networks. The book highlights a range of approaches and techniques for showing connected networks, conveying information in map form and incorporating local context. For more information, link to the idea book. (6-6-16)

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Transportation Research Record Issue Focuses on Traffic Monitoring

The June 2016 issue of the Transportation Research Board’s Transportation Research Record focuses on traffic monitoring. The report consists of nine papers that highlight various topics such as transportation asset management techniques, minimizing error in bicycle counting, communication modes for wireless freeway traffic sensors and estimation of average daily bicycle traffic. For more information, link to the issue. (6-6-16)

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Group Highlights Accessible Bikeshare for Transportation Equity

The League of American Bicyclists is highlighting a new accessible bike sharing system called mBike. The new system, in College Park, Md., includes five accessible bikes in its roster. The accessible bikes include two tricycles, two side-by-side bikes and one handcycle and can be returned to any of the 14 bikeshare stations. This is part of a growing focus by advocates on inclusivity in transportation, with the Federal Transit Administration including in its Mobility on Demand Sandbox funding program the need for “equity of service delivery” to low-income communities, the aging population and people with disabilities. For more information, link to the blog post. (5-31-16)

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Project Launched to Model Carbon-Neutral Transport Policies

The International Transport Forum has launched the Decarbonising Transport Project to bring together ITF’s modeling capabilities with those of outside partners to provide modeling of policy outcomes. The modeling results will be used to establish a commonly acceptable roadmap to zero-carbon transport by 2050. The project will have different paths and schedules across transport modes and regions of the world. The project was inaugurated on May 19 at ITF’s 2016 Summit in Leipzig, Germany. For more information, link to the project page. (5-23-16)

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FHWA Releases Guidance on Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Funds

The Federal Highway Administration has released an implementation guidance for Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside funds, providing information on funding, eligible activities and requirements. These set-aside funds are available for a variety of smaller-scale transportation projects such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails, safe routes to school projects, community improvements such as historic preservation and environmental mitigation related to stormwater and habitat connectivity. The set-aside funds stem from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which replaced the Transportation Alternative Program. For more information, see the guidance. (5-13-16)

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NACO Releases Report on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Innovations

The National Association of Counties has released a report featuring driverless car and connected car innovations within counties across the U.S. Case studies from Arizona, California, Georgia and South Carolina provide a snapshot into the testing and research efforts of connected and autonomous vehicles at the local level and with federal and private-sector partners. The report also covers a series of challenges that counties are facing such as infrastructure costs, safety concerns and fleet management and includes a list of opportunities resulting from autonomous and connected vehicle development. For more information, link the report. (5-16-16)

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Recreational Trails Program Report For 2015 Released by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration has released its 2015 Recreational Trails Program annual report, which includes information on a variety of national project trends related to climate change, environmental education, accessibility and others. In addition, the report describes the benefits of funding from over 20,370 projects that have received over $1 billion in financing. The program continues to encourage outdoor recreation and has increased economic activity in communities by creating and improving features such as urban greenways, nature centers and multi-use trails nationwide. For more information, link to the report. (5-6-16)

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World Resources Institute Releases Design Guide for Traffic Safety in Cities

The World Resources Institute has released a design guide to address the challenges of traffic safety in cities across the world. Traffic fatalities account for 1.24 million annual deaths, with over 90 percent of global traffic deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. This report includes design practices that enhance walkability, reduce vehicle speeds that threaten pedestrians and improve access to mass transit in both new and existing communities. This guide will help decisionmakers create policies and projects to improve the quality of life for pedestrians throughout the world.  For more information, link to the report  (5-12-16)

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FHWA Posts Paper on Equity in Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning

The Federal Highway Administration has published a paper discussing how those involved in pedestrian and bicycle-related planning can address and promote equity. Equity in this context means fairness in mobility and accessibility to meet the needs of all community members but does not mean allocating transportation resources in equal amounts to all people. The paper synthesizes and highlights recent research findings related to the travel needs of traditionally underserved populations and the role of pedestrian and bicycle planning in addressing equity concerns. The paper also shares strategies, practices and resources to address bicycle and pedestrian planning inequities. For more information, link to the paper. (5-9-16)

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Report Compares Bicycle Network Planning in U.S. and Netherlands

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a report examining the similarities and differences in the approach to bicycle network planning and facility design in the Netherlands and the U.S. The report finds that the design approach in the U.S. could learn from the Netherlands in several areas, including prioritizing seamless and efficient bicycle movement, trusting in users and in the adaptability of the transportation system, designing for the behavior that is desired, and prioritizing network connectivity. The report also provides historical context to explain the differences between the U.S. and Netherlands approaches in network planning and facility design. For more information, link to the report. (4-26-16)

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NACTO Releases Bike Share Station Siting Guidance

The National Association of City Transportation Officials has issued guidance to help cities with the placement and design of bike share stations. Proper placement of stations can increase pedestrian visibility at intersections, provide pedestrian refuge areas, protect bike lanes and pedestrian plazas and extend the reach of transit. This guidance highlights best practices to ensure street safety and address equity issues in street design and provides options for communities that are looking to increase their mobility options. For more information, link to the report. (4-21-16)

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NACTO Releases Guide to Designing Streets for Effective Transit

The National Association of City Transportation Officials has released a guide to designing transit streets in neighborhood, corridor and downtown environments. The guidance addresses dedicated lanes and on-street transitways, boarding islands, and turn management designs. The guide includes case studies and recommendations and serves as a tool for transit departments and public transportation providers to accommodate both existing and future services. For more information, the report is available for purchase. (4-11-16)

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Guidance on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies Provided in TRB Report

Information on transit operation efficiency is provided in a guidebook published by the Transportation Research Board under the Transit Cooperative Research Program Project A-39. The report, A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies (TCRP Report 183), includes methods to improve bus speed and reliability on surface streets while also addressing the needs of other users. The guidebook includes strategies for increasing new riders and maintaining existing passengers for bus travel while addressing land uses and creating a safe environment for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. The guidebook also includes a toolbox for bus operations, traffic control, infrastructure, and bus lanes. A research report for TCRP Project A-39, issued concurrently, focuses on transit preferential treatments used in the U.S. and internationally. The report includes interviews from transit agencies; studies of the effects of stop location, transit signal priority, and queue jumps on bus and general traffic travel times; evaluation of strategies used in the Seattle area; and the identification of conditions when the delay benefit upstream is lost at the next downstream signal. The report also incorporates recommendations for the next edition of AASHTOs Guide for Geometric Design of Transit Facilities on Highways and Streets.  For more information, link to the research report and the Guidebook. (4-11-16)

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Report Released on Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015

Smart Growth America has released a report on the best complete street policies of 2015. The report ranked the ten communities with the best complete streets policies from 2015, with Reading, Penn., being named number one. The report also specified that 82 complete streets policies were passed in 2015 and 899 such policies are now in place nationwide. Complete street policies create an integrated transportation system that supports safe travel for people and breaks down the traditional separations between planning and designing for driving, transit, walking and bicycling. For more information, link to the report. (4-12-16)

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FTA Provides $20.49 Million to Encourage Transit Oriented Development

The Federal Transit Administration has announced the availability of $20.49 million in funding under the Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning. The program supports the planning of new fixed guideway and core capacity improvement projects to encourage ridership, economic development, multimodal connectivity and mixed-use development near transit stations. The program also aids the U.S. Department of Transportation in its efforts to revitalize and lift up neighborhoods by making transit accessible to all. For more information, link to the notice. (4-14-16)

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Report Shows Climate Change Growing Threat to Human Health

The U.S. Global Change Research Program has published a report detailing the growing risks that climate change poses to human health. The report shows how climate change is leading to elevated temperatures, more frequent and severe extreme weather events, degraded air quality, diseases being transmitted through food, water and disease vectors and stresses to mental health and well-being. The report also shows how vulnerable every American is to health impacts associated with climate change and details the current ability to evaluate, monitor and project health effects across various climate impacts. For more information, link to the report. (4-4-16)

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Bureau of Transportation Statistics Releases U.S. Bike Share Station Report

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics has released a report providing U.S. bike share station information from its Intermodal Passenger Connectivity Database. The report indicates that a total of 46 bike share systems operate 2,655 stations in 65 cities. Of these stations, 86.3 percent connect to another mode of transit within one block and 84.2 percent are within one block of a transit bus stop. Such findings are used in measuring the degree of intermodal connectivity in the passenger transportation system and will help state decisionmaking efforts to incorporate bike share systems within their communities. For more information, link to the report. (4-4-16)

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FHWA Releases Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures

FHWA has released a guidebook to help communities develop performance measures to integrate pedestrian and bicycle planning. The guidebook provides various ways that bicycling investments, activity, and impacts can be measured and documents how these measures relate to goals identified in a community's planning process. The document also highlights how the measures can be tracked, what data are required, and what communities are currently using these measures. The guidebook serves as a means for communities at the local, regional and state level, to assess the effectiveness of various activities and to develop a performance management strategy that is tailored to their unique needs. For more information, link to the report. (3-31-16)

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TR News Issue Focuses on Public Health and Transportation

The Transportation Research Board has released the September-October 2015 edition of TR News that focuses on the connection between public health and transportation. Topics addressed in the issue include the use of health impact assessments, progress at the state and local levels, mitigating the spread of infectious diseases via air travel and lessons learned for transportation from the Ebola epidemic. This newsletter will provide readers a stronger base of evidence for why transit policies can either facilitate or discourage healthy behaviors. For more information, link to the newsletter. (3-28-16)

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Three Cities Selected for NACTO Transit Program Accelerator

The National Association of City Transportation Officials and TransitCenter have selected Denver, Indianapolis and Oakland as the first three focus cities for the Transit Program Accelerator. Beginning in Spring 2016, NACTO will work with these cities and their transit agency partners to transform existing corridors into transit streets. The program is an initiative to implement concepts from the NACTO Transit Street Design Guide. For more information, see the press release. (3-31-16)

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Report Grades States on their Support for Walking, Bicycling and Physical Activity

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has published a report giving report cards to states on their support of walking, bicycling and physical activity for children and adults as of 2016. The report cards primarily look at state policy and implementation of key public policy but also include a few measures that summarize the reality on the ground for access to parks, sidewalks and bike lanes. The report also includes an overview of the research that supports walking, bicycling and physical activity. For more information, see the report. (3-31-16)

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FHWA Issues TAP Performance Management Guide

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a guidebook on voluntary best practices for agencies to measure the performance of Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) projects and ensure transparency. The Transportation Alternatives Program Performance Management Guidebook is part of a broader FHWA policy to emphasize performance management as a means to build accountability and drive results. Unlike other areas of the transportation system, TAP does not have formally defined objectives, and the FHWA found a need to provide guidance to DOTs and MPOs for measuring performance of TAP-funded projects. Intended to be flexible, the guidebook is expected to help DOT and MPO program managers and stakeholders answer questions and plan effective TAP programs. For more information, link to The Transportation Alternatives Program Performance Management Guidebook. (3-23-16)

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America Walks Releases Report on Walking as a Practice

America Walks has released a report examining walking as a practice, which is distinct from walking purely for transportation. The report identifies four categories that detail how individuals and organizations engage in the practice of walking: personal health and connection; motivational campaigns and workplace wellness; inward and outward journey; and causes and social justice. Each category is then illustrated with case studies of 11 local, regional and national walking organizations. For more information, see the report. (3-23-16)

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Workshop Will Explore Interface Between Health Care and Transportation

A workshop to explore the interface between health care and transportation will be held on June 6-7, 2016, in Washington. D.C., sponsored by the Transportation Research Board and Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies. The two-day workshop will showcase local examples of formal and informal health care and transportation partnerships and explore ways to use data to estimate the value of transportation to health care in various settings. The workshop also will examine performance measures pertinent to the relationship to transit services and health care outcomes and discuss what is needed to calculate the return on investment in terms of health outcomes. For more information, see the announcement. (3-21-16)

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FHWA Includes Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety in New Performance Standards

The Federal Highway Administration has published new safety performance measures that include the addition of policies to combat not only highway deaths and injuries, but also those resulting from bicycling and walking. These regulations will require stringent reporting and evaluation standards for states concerning surface transportation to aid in implementing the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The regulations will require reporting on the number and rate of all traffic fatalities and serious injuries, as well as a combined non-motorized pedestrian and bicycle injury and fatality measure. For more information, link to the announcement and to the final rule. (3-14-16)

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Alliance for Bicycling and Walking Releases 2016 Benchmarking Report

The Alliance of Bicycling and Walking, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health Community Design Initiative, has released its 2016 benchmarking report. The report, Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report, focuses on nine intersections in active transportation that highlight funding levels, policies, infrastructure, education, public health indicators, and economic impacts. The report analyzes data from all 50 states, the 52 largest cities and certain midsized cities to inform various stakeholders about the current advancements and challenges in mobility choices. For more information, link to the report. (3-16-16)

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APTA Report Finds Link between Shared Mobility and Public Transit Use

The American Public Transportation Association has published a report revealing that a person’s continued use of shared modes of transportation indicates that they are more likely to take public transit, own fewer cars, and spend less in transportation costs. The report analyzes the relationship of public transportation to shared modes such as carsharing and ridesourcing services provided by Uber and Lyft. Such findings will be important in uncovering the opportunities and challenges for public transit as they relate to technology-enabled mobility services. For more information, link to the report. (3-15-16)

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FHWA Releases Case Studies on Integrating Health in Corridor Planning

The Federal Highway Administration has released five case studies which tested the agency’s Framework for Better Integrating Health into Transportation Corridor Planning. The studies were carried out by five transportation agencies across the country to test the framework. The experiences of each agency were turned into case studies to highlight how each agency applies the framework to incorporate health into their corridor planning processes and the resulting outcomes. The case studies included agencies and metropolitan planning organizations in Oklahoma, Ohio, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. For more information, see the case studies. (3-17-16)

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FHWA Releases Workbook on Integrating Bicycle Facilities into Resurfacing Projects

The Federal Highway Administration has released a workbook to provide recommendations on how road agencies can integrate bicycle facilities into resurfacing programs. Installing bicycle facilities during resurfacing would allow agencies to create connected networks of bicycle facilities in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The workbook provides methods for fitting bicycle facilities onto existing roadways, cost considerations and case studies. The workbook also highlights existing guidance, justifications and best practices for providing bikeways during resurfacing projects. For more information, see the report. (3-4-16)

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Framework on Health in Corridor Planning Developed by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a new framework for addressing health issues in corridor-level transportation planning, defining six steps that state and local agencies can take to merge transportation and public health goals into mutually beneficial outcomes. The Health in Transportation Corridor Planning Framework (FHWA-HEP-16-014) is part of a broader effort by the Department of Transportation to advance public health goals in transportation projects and programs. The framework was developed to be guidance for state, regional and local transportation officials who conduct or participate in corridor planning. The framework was tested in its draft form during 2015 by several transportation agencies. For more information, link to the framework. (2-29-16)

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U.S. DOT Launches National Transit Map Initiative

The U.S. Department of Transportation has launched an initiative to create a National Transit Map, which the National Spatial Data Infrastructure currently lacks. The map will display stops, routes and schedules for all participating transit agencies. The DOT is asking transit agencies to voluntarily allow the DOT to collect general transit feed specification data from their web sites on a periodic basis to be incorporated into the map. For more information, see the announcement and the map website. (3-4-16) 

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TCRP Guidebook Provides Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies

The Transportation Research Board has released a Transit Cooperative Research Program report titled “A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies.” The pre-publication draft report is a resource for transit and roadway agency staff who want to improve bus speed and reliability on surface streets and also address nearby land use and the needs of other roadway users including motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. It describes 34 strategies to improve bus speed and reliability, including cost considerations, potential constraints, and references.  For more information, link to the report . (2-8-16)

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EPA Issues Smart Growth Economic Development Guide

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a guide to assist with the process of smart growth economic development. The guide is geared toward small and mid-sized cities, particularly those that have limited population growth, areas of disinvestment, and/or a struggling economy. The guide describes a place-based approach that takes incremental actions to strengthen communities and builds long-term value to attract a range of investments. The tool provides an overview of key concepts for a smart growth economic development strategy, then covers the five steps for preparing one. For more information, see the guide. (2-4-16)

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Guidebook Links Transit, Land Use Decisions

The Transportation Research Board has issued a report designed to help transit agencies more effectively make decisions that incorporate a combination of transit, land use planning, and development factors. The tools provided build on successful transit and land use decision-making experiences throughout the United States. The guidebook identifies preconditions for success, provides self-assessment questionnaires to identify strategies that strengthen effectiveness, presents tools for enhancing communication and coordination, and provides an overview of typical transit agencies’ interactions with stakeholders and the planning processes. For more information, see the guidebook.  (2-10-16)

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Group Provides Advice on Use of Transportation Alternatives Program

Organizations interested in learning more about accessing funding for the Safe Routes to School and the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) now can turn to advice issued by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.  The information includes estimates of how much funding each state will receive under TAP, an explanation of how TAP works, a recording of a webinar on the changes the FAST Act made to TAP, an upcoming report card on states’ progress on physical activity policies, and details on the Safe Routes to School Conference in April. For more information, link to the Getting to Know TAP. (1-28-16)

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NACTO Guide Prioritizes Transit on the Street

State transportation departments and public transportation providers have a set of tools to actively prioritize transit on the street, thanks to a guide provided by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).  The guide describes transit as the centerpiece of transformative street projects and contains sections on shared transit streets and transit boulevards, along with best-practice strategies like multi-door boarding and transit-friendly signals. Other topics include dedicated lanes and on-street transitways, boarding islands and other active-mode-friendly designs, as well as intersections and turn management.  For more information, see the announcement. (1-27-16)

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DOT Report Identifies Barriers to Safe Walking, Bicycling

Physical as well as policy and coordination barriers continue to impede access to safe walking and bicycling, according to a recently released report from the Department of Transportation. A total of 52 assessments took place, one in every state plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, and more than 1,500 people participated. Multi-agency teams considered site-specific recommendations and identified broader systemic changes needed for improvements. For more information, link to the report. (1-6-16)

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FHWA Announces Cancellation of TAP Flexible Excess Funds

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a memo announcing the cancellation of each state's Flexible Excess Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds authority for the period beginning on August 1, 2015, and ending on July 31, 2016. The cancellation of this authority is effective immediately. Previously, section 213(d) of U.S.C. title 23, had provided authority for states to elect to use excess TAP funds for any activity for which the DOT secretary had approved the obligation of funds for any state under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, repealed section 213 and did not continue the Flexible Excess TAP funds authority under any other provision of law. For more information, link to the memo. (1-14-16)

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Study Documents Benefits of Bus Rapid Transit Systems

Findings from a research study show strong evidence that bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in the U.S. can generate economic development and attract jobs, retail and affordable housing at a reasonable cost to many mid-size American cities. Data show that more than 30 U.S. regions in at least 24 states are either building or actively considering building new bus rapid transit lines in 2016 and beyond. The study was carried out at Portland State University and partially funded by Transportation for America. For more information, link to the study. (1-12-16)

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