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Why is 2% a success?

Two percent is not ideal. It isn’t proportional to any statistics about how much bicycling and walking is a part of how people get around.

  • It pales in comparison to the percentage of road fatalities that are bicyclists and pedestrians (16% in 2013).
  • It is less than the percentage of people who bike or walk as their primary means of getting to work (3.4%).
  • It is much less than the percentage of total travel done by biking or walking (11.9% of all trips are done by biking or walking).

So why is 2% or more of federal funds spent on biking and walking projects a Top 10 Sign of Success in the Bicycle Friendly State ranking? It is a success because it is a key indicator based upon our current federal funding for bicycling and walking.

In 2012, the federal transportation bill -– Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) -– consolidated three programs into the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and set funding for TAP at an amount equal to 2% of the total amount authorized from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund for Federal-aid highways each year (a 1/3 reduction from previous funding levels). Reaching at least 2% shows us that a state is committed to bicycling and walking by spending at least an amount equal to TAP on bicycling and walking, which helps show Congress the need for continued funding bicycling and walking.

Eighteen states spent at least 2% of their federal funds on coded bicycling and walking projects over the past five years. Minnesota leads the way with 3.8% of its federal transportation funding being spent on bicycling and walking. States can go above and beyond the “dedicated” funding of TAP because bicycling and walking projects are broadly eligible under other funding programs. The chart below shows the states that spend at least 2% of their federal transportation spending on bicycling and walking … and a few states that are close.

This year at the National Bike Summit one of our two major legislative initiatives was an improvement to TAP. Many states and communities have problems accessing the federal funding that is available for biking and walking. The Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act is a response to that, and it makes accessing TAP funding easier. As Congress works to create a replacement for MAP-21, we need continued action to show them the importance of federal funding for biking and walking. Every state should be able to spend at least 2% and with your help we can make it more likely.