Sacramento, Calif. — Caltrans is asking cities and counties throughout California to submit applications for projects that promote biking and walking that will vie for a share of $360 million in federal and state funding from the state’s new Active Transportation Program – the nation’s largest. The program will receive about $120 million annually, so the $360 million figure represents three-years of funding.
“Today’s transportation system is about more than just highways,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Active transportation projects are a good investment and will help achieve mobility, safety, and greenhouse gas reduction goals for California.”
Last year, Governor Brown signed legislation (Senate Bill 99, Chapter 359 and Assembly Bill 101, Chapter 354) creating the ATP, which distributes funding for human-powered transportation projects and programs. The new program replaces a patchwork of small grant programs with a comprehensive program that is more efficient. Another benefit is that funds can be directed to multi-year projects to make greater long-term improvements to active transportation.
Local and regional transportation agencies have until May 21 to submit their project applications to Caltrans. Complete information can be found on Caltrans’ website. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) and Caltrans will review the projects based on established guidelines and selection criteria, and the CTC will allocate funding in August and November to the most worthwhile projects. Forty percent of the funding will go to metropolitan planning organizations in urban areas. Small urban and rural regions will receive 10 percent, and the remaining 50 percent of the funds will be awarded to projects statewide.
Caltrans’ recently released California Household Travel Survey – the largest and most complex review of its kind – underscores the need for active transportation. The survey shows that the percentage of California residents walking, biking, or using public transportation on a typical day has more than doubled since 2000.
Nearly 23 percent of household trips were taken by walking, biking, and public transportation. In 2000, that share was only 11 percent. This increase includes a dramatic increase in walking trips, which nearly doubled from 8.4 percent to 16.6 percent of trips.
To demonstrate its support for the construction of more multimodal local streets and roads, this month Caltrans endorsed National Association of City Transportation Officials’ guidelines that include innovations such as buffered bike lanes and improved pedestrian walkways.
Each year, Caltrans prepares an annual report summarizing programs it has undertaken for the development of non-motorized transportation facilities. For more information on active transportation in California see the 2011-12 Caltrans Report.