Thank you for asking USDOT to measure people, not just cars
Because of your support, US DOT has acknowledged that biking and walking have a role to play in reducing congestion and improving air quality!
Late yesterday the US Department of Transportation released their final version of performance measures — including air quality, congestion and performance of major roads. US DOT’s initial proposed measures focused exclusively on cars by measuring only the speed or travel times or cars and trucks. Had the rule stood, it would have incentivized states to build new road capacity and increase speed; it would have also impeded states’ and communities’ complete streets and vision zero policies.
Earlier this summer we asked you to weigh in on that draft rule, imploring US DOT to measure people not just cars: including people walking, biking, carpooling or taking transit. Thanks to your responses, and those of our allies, US DOT made significant changes to the rule.
This week, USDOT made available the revised system performance rule, which is vastly improved due to comments and suggestions they received. They reported that over 95 percent of the comments they received — including the roughly 6,000 sent by League advocates and member organizations — called for multi-modal transportation measures and/or greenhouse gas emissions measures.
Here is a short summary of the changes to the rules:
A MULTI-MODAL MEASURE
- The rule creates a multi-modal performance measure that will measure the percent of travel made by non-single occupancy — as a measure to reduce congestion. States will have to establish targets to increase biking, walking an transit.
STATE DOTS WILL HAVE TO TRACK THEIR IMPACT ON CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS
- Under the new rule, state transportation agencies will be required to plan for and monitor the impact of their project on green house gas emissions. This will apply to National Highway System roads, including both interstate and other major roads such as arterials and state highways.
- This should encourage states and MPOs to invest in biking and walking projects to help reduce congestion and improve air quality.
MEASURING PASSENGERS NOT JUST VEHICLES
- Finally the performance measures will still measure travel time and vehicle speeds but will also account for the number of people in those vehicles (person-miles instead of vehicle miles). This will incentivize transit, carpooling and ride–share options over single occupancy vehicles.
This improved focus on the people that use our streets, rather than just the vehicles, is an important win, but the fight isn’t over yet. Our next step will be ensuring that both these performance measures as well as our win on the bike-ped safety performance measure are implemented in the most useful way possible.
The performance measures go into effect in 2018, which should give the new DOT Administration and the states time to prepare. The League and local partners will need to keep in touch with states and the DOT to understand the implementation process and find out how we can help.
Thanks again to everyone who helped with this campaign. You made a critical difference!