Sunday, June 3, 2012

Walking and Bicycling Program in Four Pilot Communities Averts 32 Million Driving Miles, 7,701 Tons of CO2 and 1.7 Million Gallons of Gas, Cuts Economic Cost of Mortality $6.9 million - Report to the U.S. Congress on the Outcomes of the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program SAFETEA-LU Section 1807

Executive SummarySection 1807 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) P.L. 109-59 established the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) in August 2005. Over the span of 4 years, the NTPP provided roughly $25 million annually in contract authority allocated equally among four pilot communities (Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin) "to construct ... a network of nonmotorized transportation infrastructure facilities, including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian and bicycle trails, that connect directly with transit stations, schools, residences, businesses, recreation areas, and other community activity centers." From its inception, the NTPP was designed as a demonstration program to gather statistical information on transportation mode share shifts before and after the implementation of nonmotorized transportation infrastructure and educational or promotional programs. The program was intended to "demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking can carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution, within selected communities."

Throughout the program to date, the four communities, each with unique physical and demographic characteristics, identified and implemented a locally devised strategy to significantly increase the use of nonmotorized transportation, along with the accompanying safety, environmental, and health benefits. This report represents the culmination of that initial implementation and analytical effort.

Key outcomes of the NTPP described in this report include:
  • An estimated 16 million miles were walked or bicycled that would have otherwise been driven in 2010, and an estimated 32 million driving miles were averted between 2007 and 2010.[2]
  • Counts in the four pilots saw an average increase of 49 percent in the number of bicyclists and a 22 percent increase in the number of pedestrians between 2007 and 2010.
  • In each community, a greater percentage of pedestrian and bicycling trips included transit in 2010 than in 2007.
  • Mode share increases in the pilot communities to bicycling and walking and away from driving from 2007 to 2010 outpaced the national average from 2001 to 2008. For the communities in sum, bicycling mode share increased 36 percent, walking mode share increased 14 percent, and driving mode share decreased 3 percent between 2007 and 2010.
  • The additional nonmotorized trips in the pilot communities in 2010 reduced the economic cost of mortality by an estimated $6.9 million.
  • While each pilot community experienced increases in bicycling and walking from 2005 to 2009, fatal bicycle and pedestrian crashes held steady or decreased in all of the communities.
  • The pilot communities saved an estimated 22 pounds of CO2 in 2010 per person or a total of 7,701 tons. This is equivalent to saving over 1 gallon of gas per person or nearly 1.7 million gallons from 2007 to 2010.
  • Thousands of people were reached by training classes, personalized outreach, and other educational and promotional activities; many people tried bicycling for the first time in their adults lives or ever.
  • New plans and studies funded through NTPP will continue to improve nonmotorized transportation into the future.
  • Education and training for local planners, engineers, and elected officials has helped to institutionalize nonmotorized planning and projects into the future.
  • Expanded transportation options for all segments of the population, prioritizing access to schools, shopping, transit, and other community centers.
The four pilots were: GetAbout Columbia, Missouri (population 108,500); WalkBikeMarinn County, California (population 252,409); Bike Walk Twin Cities, Minnesota (population 382,578);OMO Sheboygan County, Wisconsin (population 115,507)

The NTPP funding provided an opportunity for pilot communities to make significant investments in walking and bicycling infrastructure and education.

The vast majority of total program funds (89.2 percent) have been spent on infrastructure, with the next highest share (7.9 percent) spent on outreach, education, and marketing programs. The remaining funds have been spent on bicycle parking (2.1 percent) and planning (0.8 percent). In addition to funding infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects, the communities set aside funds for evaluation, communications support, and program administration. Combined, the four communities spent approximately $1.6 million on evaluation, $2.1 million on communications support, and $6 million on program administration. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also contributed approximately $360,000 of its own research funds to support NTPP evaluation.
Each community had a unique approach to program implementation and project selection, depending on existing facilities, plans, and identified needs. While all of the communities invested heavily in infrastructure, areas with fewer existing facilities focused primarily on laying foundations for comprehensive nonmotorized transportation networks, including through planning, while in other settings, more complicated gap-filling projects were most appropriate.
... The FHWA and the pilot communities created a Working Group (WG) composed of representatives from the administrating agencies in each of the communities, FHWA, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The WG developed and implemented both project-level and community-wide evaluation approaches to assess the travel behavior impacts of the nonmotorized investments. 

For community-wide evaluation, bookend counts following the National Pedestrian and Bicycle Documentation Project methodology, showed walking and bicycling increased in each of the communities between 2007 and 2010. These counts point to an increase of 22 percent for walking and 49 percent for bicycling across the count locations. Furthermore, utilizing survey data, the WG found that for most of the communities increased bicycling and walking trips were primarily attributable to utilitarian trips in 2010 compared to 2007, though recreational and exercise activity increased as well.

... FHWA ... learned many lessons about nonmotorized transportation planning, implementation, and evaluation. Several lessons are listed below, with greater detail provided in the text of the report.

Pilot Program Design
  • Program status elevates agency commitment
  • Funding flexibility supports innovations to meet local needs
  • Delivery of small projects should be streamlined
  • Short-term results underestimate benefits
  • WG approach adds value
Program Planning and Implementation
  • Comprehensive bicycle/pedestrian plans and street design policies provide advantages
  • Leveraging funds expands program impact
  • Nonmotorized programs must combine capital and programmatic investments
Building Capacity
  • Projects and outreach efforts must be culturally and generationally appropriate
  • Education and training for engineers and local staff provide long-term benefit
  • Exposure to best practices leads to breakthroughs
  • Local examples help build public support
Stakeholders and Partnerships
  • Broad public education and outreach create better understanding of program goals
  • NTPP provides opportunities to build relationships with local employers
  • Early support from local officials benefits projects through entire process
  • New inter-agency and intra-agency connections highlight common goals
Research and Evaluation
  • WG collaboration leads to new evaluation approaches
  • Evaluation highlights importance of both community-wide and project-level approach
  • Institutionalized location counts are significant
  • Count data provide basis to measure community-wide results
It is not uncommon for construction of an off-street multiuse path to cost in excess of $1-2 million per mile.

Though no match was required of this pilot program, through fall 2010, NTPP projects have leveraged over $58 million in additional outside funding commitments. In addition to funding, pilot communities have also received “in-kind” donations of staff support, volunteer support, legal services, and easements toward the completion of their projects.

Nonmonetized benefits were divided into: 1) Health and Safety, 2) Environment and Energy and 3) Community Access.

Regular physical activity such as that achieved through walking and bicycling trips facilitated by NTPP investments:
  • Reduces the risk and the impact of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduces the risk and the impact of diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of certain types of cancer
  • Controls weight
  • Improves mood
  • Reduces the risk of premature death  

 U.S. Federal Highway Administration
April, 2012

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