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NACTO Issues Guide for Managing Shared Active Transportation

The National Association of City Transportation Officials has released guidelines to help cities and public entities manage dockless bike share and scooter share companies. The guidance addresses zoning regulations, the regulation of how small vehicles are parked, and municipalities with existing contracts with vendors to run bike share systems. The guidance highlights the pros and cons of several parking options and provides an overview of discount and engagement programs. Current practices in cities such as Austin, Boulder, and Los Angeles also are included regarding fleet sizes, implemented fees, and parking policies. For more information, link to the guide. (7-11-18)

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Report Provides Framework for Expanded Functional Classification

A report describing an expanded functional classification system (FCS) has been issued under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The report (NCHRP Research Report 855) serves as guidance for developing a classification system for highways and streets that would be a more flexible framework and would replace the existing scheme. The expanded FCS system would include enhanced sidewalks and connectivity for pedestrians, narrower traffic lanes for speed control, physical separation of bicycles and motorized traffic, and target speeds to reduce driver injuries. The report also proposes functional classes for bicycles to confer structure and priority for bicycle networks. The report includes case studies from Kentucky on the implementation of the expanded FCS to display the benefits in high density and mixed commercial areas and at school bus stops. For more information, link to the report. (6-29-18)

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MassDOT Receives Funding for Light Rail Extension

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has received a $225 million grant from Department of Transportation to begin the development of the Green Line Extension light rail project. The funding is the second installment under an agreement signed in 2015 with the Federal Transit Administration to extend the Green Line by 4.7 miles from Cambridge to Medford. Seven new stations and a storage and maintenance facility will be constructed along with platform canopies, community paths, and additional elevators at station stops. Construction is set for this fall, with service projected for 2021. For more information, link to the announcements from the Transportation Department and MassDOT. (6-25-18)

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Scorecard Displays State Support for Active Transportation

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has issued a report card regarding state support for biking, walking, and physical activity for children and adults as of 2018. States were ranked based on their adoption of complete streets and active transportation policies, safe routes to school funding, active neighborhoods and schools, and state physical activity planning support. The report suggests that states are taking important steps but they need encouragement to make deeper commitments. Mid-Atlantic states showed the highest overall scores, while the Midwest, South, and Mountain West scored the lowest. For more information, link to the report card. (6-20-18)

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ITF Report Urges Cities to Manage Curbs for Shared Uses

A report from the International Transport Forum looks at ways to manage growing competition for access to curbs in cities. The study evaluates a shift from parking vehicles on the street to use of pickup and drop-off zones, both for passengers and for freight. The report finds the need for a strategic approach to allocating public space in cities, including at the curb. It includes a series of recommendations, including developing a system of designating streets according to their primary purpose, making room for ride services, and managing curb space dynamically. For more information, link to the report. (6-8-18)

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FTA Finalizes New Private Investment Project Procedures

The Federal Transit Administration has issued new private investment project procedures (PIPP) under a final rule intended to help spur private participation in transit project planning, development, construction, maintenance, and operations. The PIPP system will allow funding recipients to request modification or waiver of FTA requirements that would discourage the use of public-private partnerships. The PIPP system will not be used to waive requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act. For more information, link to the announcement. (5-30-18)

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FHWA Offering Technical Assistance for Multimodal Corridor Framework

The Federal Highway Administration has announced the availability of technical assistance for developing multimodal corridors. FHWA will provide training to five communities at the state and local transportation agency level that will use the Multimodal Corridor Planning Framework to establish partnerships with key stakeholders; gather data and analysis; ask questions to consider; highlight case study examples; and develop resources. Participants will receive support from research teams to facilitate partnerships with health leaders and to provide analysis tools. The agency plans to have corridors to test the framework between August 2018 and July 2020. Letters of interest are due June 29, 2018. For more information, link to the fact sheet. (5-30-18)

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FTA Announces $25.8 Million for Transit-Oriented Development Pilots

The Federal Transit Administration has announced the availability of $25.8 million in grants under the Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning. The program supports the integration of land use and transportation planning efforts to facilitate transit ridership, multimodal connectivity, and mixed-use development near transit stations. Applicants must be either a project sponsor of a transit project or an entity with land use planning authority in an eligible transit capital project corridor. The program was established under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. Applications are due July 23, 2018. For more information, link to the announcement. (5-24-18)

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Report Examines Gender Equity in Transportation Sector

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has released a new paper as part of its “Access for All” series. The paper addresses the diverse mobility patterns and needs in transportation systems based on gender. The paper examines how women experience modes of transport differently than men and the gender gap in the transport sector. The paper examines how climate change is disrupting transportation systems, in cities especially. The paper recommends that women’s rights and women themselves be incorporated into planning processes, and that streets be safe for all users and all modes. The paper also recommends that communities have integrated land use and transportation, and that systems meet varied trip patterns. For more information, link to the Access for All: Access and Gender. (5-21-18)

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ITE, Streetsmart to Develop Evidence-Based Transportation Tool

The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Streetsmart to develop a tool to make data on public health and transportation engineering more accessible. The development of an evidenced-based transportation tool will help incorporate environmental and livability concerns into engineering and planning practice. ITE will help review and translate research results, manage pilot projects, facilitate funding opportunities, and educate professionals on the benefits of the tool. For more information, link to the announcement. (4-26-18)

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Report Analyzes Spatial Allocation of Bikeshare Systems

The National Center for Sustainable Transportation has issued a report for identifying how bikeshare stations could be spatially allocated to serve low-income households and people of color. The study uses a spatial index to test the hypothesis that existing bikeshare systems in larger urban areas are designed to target certain riders. The report analyzes systems in 34 U.S. cities and finds that such systems tend to be located in areas with an affluent and white population. The report also indicates that locating stations near underserved communities has the potential to increase household access. For more information, link to the report. (March 2018)

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International Transport Forum Report Analyzes Safety of Cyclists

The International Transport Forum has released a report regarding a January 2018 roundtable held in Paris for improving the safety of cyclists. The report indicates that despite the net health benefits of cycling, which are larger for senior citizens, cycling continues to be unpopular in many countries and that a fear of crashes is often cited as a deterrent from cycling. The report also finds that the safest areas tend to be where cycling infrastructure is most developed. The report has a number of recommendations, including providing more bicycle infrastructure, requiring motor vehicles to reduce speeds, setting ambitious targets for collecting injury data and reducing fatalities, and the regulating electric bikes to ensure safety and ergonomics. For more information, link to the report. (5-17-18)

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FHWA Provides Measures for Implementing Multimodal Networks

The Federal Highway Administration has released a guidebook for implementing multimodal network connectivity measures into state, metropolitan, and location transportation planning processes. The guide highlights five components for implementing such measures that include identifying the planning context, defining the analysis methods and measures, gathering data, computing metrics, and packaging the results. The guide also includes factsheets on connectivity analysis methods such as network completeness, network density, and route directness, as well as related case studies. The guidebook supplements the 2016, Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures. For more information, link to the guide. (5-9-18)

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NACTO Reports Bike Share Use, Companies, Locations on the Rise

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has issued a nationwide assessment of the state of the bike share industry. The report says that 35 million bike share trips were taken in 2017, a 25 percent increase from 2016. The number of suppliers of bike share equipment has increased from three major companies to 10, including five major dockless bike share systems. Bike share has increased in cities nationwide, but four systems—in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C.—make up 74 percent of all rides. Dockless bike systems make up 44 percent of the number of bicycles but only 4 percent of the rides. Almost one-third of systems now have an income-based discount program. For more information, link to the report. (5-1-18)

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FTA Announces $84.45 Million Available under Low-No Bus Program

The Federal Transit Administration has announced the availability of $84.45 million in grants through the Low or No Emission Bus Program. The program assists local transit agencies in the purchase and operation of advanced technology buses that use battery electric power and hydrogen fuel cells. Projects will be evaluated on demonstration of need, project benefits and implementation strategy, and capacity for implementing the project. Applications for fiscal year 2018 are due June 18, 2018. For more information, link to the announcement and the Federal Register notice. (4-23-18)

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Bike Share, Transit Could Be More Integrated, Study Says

Bike share and transit systems have the potential to be complementary modes of travel, but more can be done to further integrate them, according to a synthesis report issued under the Transit Cooperative Research Program. The report, TCRP Synthesis 132: Public Transit and Bikesharing, said that there are still significant barriers to making bike share and transit more integrated. These include locating bike share docks near transit stops, integrated branding, having single payments for both transit and bikes, and combining operations and maintenance. However, bike share systems have helped expand transit catchment areas, increase first-mile and last-mile connections, and alleviate transit capacity concerns. Further research is needed on technology compatibility, economic impacts, and impacts on ridership. For more information, link to the report. (4-10-18)

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TR News Highlights Issues from 2017 State Partnership Visits

A featured article from the Jan.-Feb. 2018 issue of TR News provides highlights of the Transportation Research Board’s 2017 State Partnership Visits Program. Issues the TRB discussed with state departments of transportation during the visits include ways in which state agencies should prepare for automated and connected vehicle technologies, the collection and maintenance of high-quality transportation data, and the efficient movement of freight. Other issues discussed include public transportation and the effects of transportation network companies, state experiences with assuming responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act, the use of recycled materials in highway construction, and highway maintenance and operations. For more information, link to the TRB article. (3-7-18)

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Report, Tools Support Transit Agency Sustainability

A report issued under the Transportation Research Board’s Transit Cooperative Research Program describes the process of creating two original tools for sustainability managers at transit agencies. The project is documented in a pre-publication version of TCRP Research Report 197: Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. The first tool, the Sustainability Routemap, is an interactive PDF, similar in feel to a website, which guides the user to improve a transit agency’s sustainability program through application of change management principles, best practice examples, and references to online tools. The second tool, the S+ROI Calculator, is an excel workbook that quantitatively evaluates potential sustainability projects in terms of financial, social, and environmental return. The tools are available from TRB for download. The creation of the tools was part of TCRP Project H-53. For more information, link to the report. (2-27-18)

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NACTO Issues Bike Facility Criteria for All Ages and Abilities

The National Association of County Transportation Officials has released guidance for establishing bicycle facilities suitable for all ages and abilities. The guidance recommends that facility planners consider seniors, children, women, low-income riders, and people riding bike share when selecting a bikeway design. The guidance analyzes five types of bikeway used for most bike network needs that include low-speed share streets, protected bicycle lanes, and shared-use and bicycle paths. In addition, strategies to reduce sources of stress—such as intersections, large vehicles, and curbside activity—are provided. The guidance supplements the Urban Bikeway Design Guide. For more information, link to the guidance. (December 2017)

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Technical Assistance Offered to Help Develop Mobility-on-Demand Projects

The Shared-Use Mobility Center is seeking proposals for technical assistance under the On-Ramp Program for the development of mobility-on-demand (MOD) projects. The program is being implemented in partnership with the Federal Transit Administration to exchange MOD best practices and help integrate mobility tools for bike-sharing and car-sharing. Transportation providers will receive assistance to conduct workshops to determine mobility needs; participate with peer agencies; use research and analysis from the center; and develop a MOD business plan. A webinar is scheduled for Feb. 21, 2018. Proposals are due March 21, 2018. For more information, link to the announcement. (2-6-18)

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Tool Promotes Walkability in Urban Environments

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has released a tool to help decision-makers and city planners understand and measure features that promote walkability in urban environments. Pedestrians First: Tools for a Walkable City provides a framework for measuring various infrastructure features, including, crosswalks, visually active frontage, physical permeable frontage, and small blocks within metropolitan urban areas, neighborhoods, and street blocks. The tool includes best practices to understand walkability in specific contexts. It also provides policy recommendations for adopting parking maximums, building code changes, and implementing dense grids of streets. For more information, link to the announcement. (2-7-18)

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Report Assesses Transit Decline in Southern California

Per capita transit trips have been declining in the six counties that comprise the Southern California Association of Governments, according to a new report by the group. The report indicates that feeling unsafe on transit vehicles, the decrease in fuel prices, and the rise of transportation network companies such as Lyft and Uber could be contributing factors to the fall in ridership. The report also suggests that an increase in private vehicle access and the replacement of transit users with people more likely to drive also may be causes for such a decline. In contrast, service quantity and reliability are not considered to play a part in transit decline because ridership was falling even on routes with excellent on-time records, according to the report. The report recommends that transit agencies seek to convince those who rarely use transit to begin riding occasionally. The study examined transit in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. For more information, link to the report. (2-2-18)

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Report Illustrates Ride-Share Usage in Five Major Cities

The Transit Cooperative Research Program has released a report to address how app-based transportation network companies (TNC) such as Lyft and Uber are affecting the use of public transit and personal automobiles. The report, Broadening Understanding of the Interplay between Public Transit, Shared Mobility, and Personal Automobiles (TCRP Report 195), builds on previous research and analyzes TNC trip origin-destination data in Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, Seattle, and Washington, DC, including a survey of several transit and shared mobility users. The report finds that the heaviest use of TNC is during evening hours and on weekends and that such trips are mostly short and concentrated in downtown neighborhoods. The report also shows that TNC usage occurs among all income levels and is associated with a decrease in vehicle ownership. For more information, link to the report. (1-25-18)

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New Podcast Series Focuses on Transit-Oriented Development

Smart Growth America has launched a monthly podcast series, Building Better Communities with Transit, to address the benefits of transit-oriented development. The podcast is part of an initiative of the Federal Transit Administration and will include experts from different communities to discuss how they facilitate development around transit stations and along corridors. Developing local policies, stakeholder engagement, and obtaining funding also will be discussed. The first episode, focused on Pittsburgh, is available for download. For more information, link to the announcement (1-5-18)

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FHWA Highlights Recent Bicycle and Pedestrian Resources

The Federal Highway Administration’s recent activities related to pedestrian and bicycle research and program efforts are outlined in a summary document. The summary indicates that states increased their commitment in federal-aid highway program funds to $970 million in fiscal year 2017, and it highlights a long list of resources related to the four strategic goals of the U.S. DOT: safety, infrastructure, innovation, and accountability. Examples include a pedestrian and bicycle safety information search tool, a guide on small town and rural multimodal networks, a pooled fund study on fostering innovation in pedestrian and bicycle transportation, and a traffic monitoring guide. For more information, link to the report. (1-8-18)

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Investing in Walking, Biking Yields Economic and Health Benefits

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has released a report to make the case for investing in walking and biking within communities. The report says that developing sidewalks, street lighting, bike lanes, and crosswalks can reduce deaths, injuries, and associated medical costs. The report also says that studies indicate that the benefits of better air quality and more physical activity would be $8 billion per year if only half of short trips in the summer in Midwestern cities were taken by bike instead of car. In addition, examples from California, Colorado, and Tennessee are provided in which models and reports were created to calculate the economic and health benefits of active transportation. For more information, link to the report. (December 2017)

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Transit IDEA Program Report Highlights Research Projects

The Transit Cooperative Research Program has issued its annual report of the Transit Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) Program. The report provides a summary of progress on investigations into new concepts for technologies, processes, and methods. Projects include the development of a tool for evaluating and optimizing bus stop locations, a model for planning and designing transit terminals, the development of regional mobility management centers, advanced wayside energy storage systems for rail transit, carpooling to transit stations, and various projects dealing with smart fare systems and automated vehicle location. For more information, link to the annual report. (12-29-17)

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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Tool Measures Community Connectivity

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has developed BikeAble, a tool to evaluate community connectivity. BikeAble displays bike route options from any origin to any destination that avoid high-stress highways. The tool can be used by communities to learn whether areas with poor health outcomes have low-stress access to stores selling healthy foods, trails for low-cost exercise, and health care facilities, or whether certain communities lack access to government offices. The tool was used in Milwaukee to illustrate connectivity to employment and schools. For more information, link to the tool. (12-12-17)

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Report Highlights Health Equity in Complete Streets Development

The National Complete Streets Coalition has released a report concerning the incorporation of health equity into complete streets development, using Greater New Orleans as a case study. The report includes a list of performance measures for the City of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish to enhance transportation planning processes, develop new complete streets projects, facilitate change in travel behavior, and change long-term health trends. The report recommends offering street design training to all transportation staff and to record who participates in such training. The report also recommends issuing surveys to better understand barriers to active transportation and improving collaboration between the city and parish to better connect their bicycle and pedestrian networks. For more information, link to the report. (12-20-17)

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NACTO Issues Guidance for Improving Biking for All Ages and Abilities

The National Association of City Transportation Officials has released guidance to help designers and planners develop bicycle infrastructure for riders of all ages and abilities. The guidance provides information on design tools aimed at improving safety and increasing bicycle ridership. The guidance specifies that on higher-volume streets with vehicle speeds above 20 mph, certain methods such as painted lanes can be insufficient for more vulnerable riders. The guidance also addresses how to mitigate factors, such as bicycle left turns in traffic and cars that cross into bikeways, that can discourage biking. The guidance serves a companion to the Urban Bikeway Design Guide. For more information, link to the guidance. (12-6-17)

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New Guidance Provides Grading Framework for Complete Streets Policies

Smart Growth America has released a policy grading framework and scoring methodology to provide guidance on areas for improvement in complete streets policies. The report includes several point structures for addressing a policy’s vision and intent, how well a policy benefits all users, design, jurisdiction, and project selection and criteria. The report serves as an update to the coalition’s 2017 revision to the Complete Streets policy framework to meet the needs of vulnerable users. For more information, link to the report. (11-30-17)

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List of Bike-Friendly Communities Announced

The League of American Bicyclists has announced 65 new and renewing bicycle-friendly communities under the Bicycle Friendly Community Program. Portland, Oregon has renewed its platinum status for bike commuter benefits, and Battle Creek, Michigan moved to a silver status for requiring all new police hires to become bike-certified. Bellingham, Washington, which has renewed its silver status, developed a Bicycle Master Plan that created a 170-mile primary bicycle network. Boca Raton, Florida, also renewing its bronze status, offered a three week bicycle education program that includes off-bike and on-bike components. For more information, link to the announcement. (11-30-17)

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MassDOT Issues Guide for Making Communities More Walkable

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has issued a guide to help local jurisdictions improve walkability and active transportation in their communities. The Municipal Resources Guide for Walkability includes a discussion of the various elements of walkable communities, including community design, walkway design and placement, crossing design and placement, and lighting and other safety features. The guide also addresses safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, accessibility for older walkers or disabled citizens, access to transit, and maintenance and repair issues. The guide is intended for use by municipal staff, elected officials, volunteers, residents, and advocates to further the goals of MassDOT’s vision for a statewide multimodal transportation system. A copy of the guide is available from the MassDOT website. (September 2017)

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TRB Research Record Addresses Travel Behavior and Values

The Transportation Research Board has released a series of papers concerning travel behavior and values in Volume 2664 of its Transportation Research Record journal. The issue addresses measuring stability of mode choice behavior, activity duration analysis, and car ownership amongst the millennial generation. The record also addresses monetary valuations of travel time and quality of travel, week-long work episode scheduling models, evaluation of time use and goods consumption, and short-distance trips. For more information, link to the report. (10-2-17)

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Peer Exchange Report Explores Transportation, Land Use Themes

The Federal Highway Administration has released a report on the Transportation Planning Capacity Building “Happy, Healthy, Smart Cities Symposium” peer exchange. The exchange, held earlier this year by the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization and the East Tennessee Community Design Center, included a series of documentaries concerning transportation and health outcomes, the link between land use and transportation, and the future of smart cities technology. Exchange participants emphasized the need for communicating complex policy, making public involvement more interesting, and the need for accelerating project development. The peer exchange indicated the importance of increasing the number of transportation options for people to choose from and the importance of small changes in street design. For more information, link to the report. (September 2017)

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NCHRP Reports Highlight Travel Forecasting Tool Design and Use

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program has issued two reports regarding the development of the software tool TFGuide, for travel forecasting. TFGuide aids in the selection of methods and techniques based on application needs, resource constraints, available data, and existing model structure. NCHRP Report 852 provides an overview of how to use the tool and a case study to demonstrate how a metropolitan planning organization used the software to perform a transit corridor study. The report also addresses the role of the travel forecaster, transportation planner, and decision maker. The NCHRP also issued a companion document that addresses the current state of practice in travel demand models, the software design and functionality of TFGuide, pilot tests conducted using the tool, and a history of travel forecasting legislation. For more information, link to the web-only document and the research report. (10-20-17)

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Report Describes Accommodation of Pedestrians with Visual Disabilities

Effective practices and considerations for accommodating pedestrians with vision disabilities on shared streets are described in a report issued by the Federal Highway Administration. The guide discusses strategies people with vision disabilities use to navigate in the public right of way, and challenges with shared streets used by pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles. It provides an overview of U.S. guidance, a toolbox of strategies for designing shared streets, and ideas on how accessibility for pedestrians with vision disabilities can be addressed in the planning and design process. For more information, link to the report. (10-27-17)

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U.S. Gets Low Grades on the Availability of Walkable Communities

The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance has issued a report card that evaluates the state of walking and walkable communities in the United States. The report assigns grades based on percentages of people who engage in a category of walking activity and the percentage of states that meet a specified standard. The report gives the U.S. a grade of F for overall pedestrian infrastructure because less than 30 percent of states met the standard of $5.26 per capita for biking and walking project funding. The U.S. also received an F for public transportation because less than 30 percent of states have a transit commute share greater than the 6 percent benchmark, with only seven states meeting the standard. For more information, link to the report card. (10-16-17)

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New Guide Addresses Bus Rapid Transit Development

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has issued a guide for planning bus rapid transit (BRT) systems. BRT systems provide high capacity and speed at low costs and combines segregated bus lanes and other quality-of-service elements. The guide addresses the initiation of a project and the preparations and calculations, such as demand analysis and service planning, needed for creating a BRT project. The guide also addresses stakeholder engagement, how to educate customers on using the system, and the necessary infrastructure required. In addition, financial modeling, fare policies, and businesses structures are highlighted for ensuring a financially stable project. For more information, link to the announcement. (10-13-17)

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NCHRP Report on Laws, Policies for Automated Transit Operations Published

A report presenting an overview of the challenges and opportunities for governments to enable automated transit systems has been published under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The report, Impacts of Laws and Regulations on CV and AV Technology Introduction in Transit Operations (NCHRP Web-Only Document 239), analyzes the state of technology and various deployment scenarios for fully automated transit. The report also discusses the impacts of the technology on public safety, workforce development, and operating agency planning. In addition, the report discusses possible necessary changes to laws and regulations that govern public transportation to ensure continued financial and regulatory support and remove barriers to industry. The report was prepared under NCHRP Project 20-102. For more information, link to the report. (10-9-17)

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Featured Case Study

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

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