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The Regional Response to Federal Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects: Executive Summary


Research Report

Sustainable Transportation Center

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Suggested Citation:
McCann, Barbara, Lanier McRee, Susan L. Handy, Emily Meharg, Linda Bailey, Reid Ewing, Michelle Ernst, Kate Wright (2009) The Regional Response to Federal Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects: Executive Summary. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-09-22

Since its initiation in the early 20th century, the federal transportation funding program has focused on highway construction for automobile travel. In the last few decades, public transportation has received 20% of federal resources, a significant share, but non-motorized modes such as bicycling and walking have historically received very limited funding. Over the past three decades, however, views of non-motorized modes and the federal interest in promoting them have changed dramatically. It is now widely recognized that a shift from motorized to non-motorized modes would produce abundant environmental benefits, including less air pollution, less water pollution, less noise, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The low cost of non-motorized modes generates economic benefits from reduced household spending on transportation. Non-motorized modes could also improve equity of access to jobs, healthcare, services, and other activities, especially for youth, people with disabilities, and low-income households with more limited access to cars. The public health community has raised awareness that “active travel” helps individuals meet recommended levels of physical activity, with significant benefits for health, as well as reductions in health care costs. Pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is increasingly recognized as a critical component of a safe and efficient transportation system, and pedestrian infrastructure is an essential component of an effective public transportation network.