New Transportation Tech: What’s in it for Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Advocates

UCLA Digital CitiesThe technologies drawing attention are user-centric that allow both users and providers to interact and share information about the transportation network. Active transportation and Safe Routes to Schools advocates should care about these trends because they are expanding transportation options, promoting active lifestyles and tipping the political scales towards multi-modalism in planning and implementation.The digital space is using the influx of information (i.e. big data) to find patterns and efficiencies in the transportation system. These mobile and web applications are facilitating supportive programs and policies for walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School, even when active transportation is not the immediate focus of mobile and web applications. Safe Routes to School supporters will be able to better partner with transportation agencies, organizations and advocates, if they stay alert to the culture changes that technology is causing within transportation.

First, I posit that ride and car-sharing services will bolster walkable and bikeable communities. I see many ways that students and families will be supported and encouraged to be car-free or car-limited with more reliable alternative networks, such as ride and car-share, cross jurisdictional bicycle and pedestrian networks and public transportation. Ridesharing mobile applications like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar are booming and flipped the script on taxi and car services and local job creation. Users of ride share applications can name their price for trips with Lyft and benefit (or suffer) with surge pricing with Uber. Potentially communities benefits in the strengthening of ride and car-share through crowdsourcing affordability and flexibility. Paratransit riders - usually the elderly and persons with disability - are also frequent users of ride-shares. Additionally, car sharing companies like Zipcar allow drivers to rent a car by the hour, where prices include insurance and maintenance. Personally, I know families that would benefit from having better access to alternative networks to get children to school and after-school activities. One family in particular was forced to give up their car free lifestyle when the local Zipcar location was closed. These technologies are means to fill in the transportation gaps for communities and families.

A Countywide Complete Streets Policy for the Los Angeles Region

LA ATC

Co-Authors:

Eric Bruins, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
Jessica Meaney, Southern California Policy Director, Safe Routes to School National Partnership 

MOU Will Strengthen Active Transportation in San Bernardino County

Adoption of SANBAG MOU with SCAG Public CommentsIn early November 2013, the San Bernardino Association of Governments (SANBAG) board adopted a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (Item 7) with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). The MOU commits the two agencies to working together on projects related to the implementation of the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS). While the RTP/SCS is mandated by SB 375, state legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through trying land use and transportation planning in the RTP process, the MOU is strictly voluntary.

The MOU between SCAG and SANBAG demonstrates both agencies’ commitment to the policies, projects and strategies set forth in the 2012 RTP/SCS. It is important for County Transportation Commissions (CTCs) to show commitment to implementation of plans and policies.

Specific planning projects are included in SANBAG’s MOU that will transform San Bernardino County into a more walkable and bikeable place, improve the public health outcomes of its residents and help increase the number of children walking and bicycling to school. The MOU incorporates items recommended in the San Bernardino Active Transportation Vision, statistics and policy recommendations developed by stakeholders from San Bernardino County, including SANBAG staff, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, Omnitrans, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, American Lung Association, MoveIE and Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance.

Victory in CA for Safe Routes Funding

Jeanie Ward-WallerI’m thrilled to share big news out of Sacramento, after a year of hard work by advocates: walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to School projects will receive a 35 percent boost in state funding through legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown yesterday.  The bill that establishes the new program, Senate Bill 99, combines $130 millio

Safe Routes to School Advocacy Day a Success – Voices Heard Loud and Clear in the California State Capitol!

California Senate District 7 is home to suburban bedroom communities such as Dublin, Antioch and Walnut Creek. District 7 is also the beneficiary of over $8,000,000 in Safe Routes to School grants, as Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Senate Transportation Committee Chair, learned from advocates Thursday Aug 15. The meeting between DeSaulnier, Safe Routes to School National Partnership Director Deb Hubsmith, and local advocates was one of 65 meetings with legislators and their staff as part of the first Safe Routes to School Advocay Day in California.

Plan Bay Area Adopted! But Our The San Francisco Bay Area Still Needs a Bigger Investment in Active Transportation

Marty MartinezNearly three years in the making, Plan Bay Area was approved by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in an after-midnight vote early in the morning of July 19. Plan Bay Area will have massive significant impacts on active transportation, public transit, housing, and other f

A Hard-Fought Win in the San Francisco Bay Area for Bicycling and Walking

Marty MartinezOn Wednesday, June 26, the Bay Area’s metropolitan planning organization (MPO), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), voted to keep a requirement that cities and towns maintain Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees (BPACs) to receive certain state funds. They also voted to strengthen this requirement, stipulating that BPACs review not only bicycle projects but also pedestrian projects.

Reflections from the Childhood Obesity Conference

Last week three representatives from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership) attended the Childhood Obesity Conference in Long Beach, CA.

Advocates Succeed in Saving Bicycle and Pedestrian Committees in the Bay Area!

Marty MartinezBay Area advocates for active transportation came together to successfully defeat an attempt to weaken bicycle and pedestrian requirements in the region. In May, staff from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), released a proposal that would eliminate a requirement that cities and town maintain a bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee (BPAC) to receive certain state funds.

Pushing for Strong Support for Walking and Bicycling in Plan Bay Area

Marty MartinezThe Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership) submitted comments on the Draft Plan Bay Area and the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR), both of which will have massive impacts on active transportation, public transit, housing, and other factors affecting th

Those Who Celebrate Together, Change Policy Together: Southern California Association of Governments’ General Assembly

Pauline ChowLast week, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) convened the annual Regional Conference and General Assembly (GA) in Palm Desert for two days. The GA is a yearly convening of elected officials from across Southern California to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year.

Prioritizing Joint Use Agreements in Large Urban Areas

Leah MurphyLeah Murphy is a currently a Master's Student at the University of California Los Angeles. Leah's interest in increasing access to open space and her desire to improve conditions for children and their families for walking and biking led her to partner with the National Partnership to complete her thesis focused on prioritizing schools for Joint Use agreements.

Bay Area Increases Walking and Bicycling – and Research Shows We’ll Reap Health Benefits

Marty MartinezNew data released from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), shows that rates of bicycling and walking have increased throughout the region.  

Making Strides in the California Capitol

Jeanie WardCalifornia is proposing to do something revolutionary for walking and bicycling. California Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration has proposed a new Active Transportation Program (ATP) that will enable the state to become a leader in making walking and bicycling part of the mainstream transportation system.

Why State and Federal Transportation Dollars for Safe Routes to School Matter to Los Angeles County


jessica meanyIn Los Angeles County, the popular narrative says that everyone drives all the time, and transportation policy has largely reflected this social understanding. However, active transportation modes are a significant form of mobility, calling into question the truth of the dominant narrative.

Safe Routes to School in California by the Numbers

Jeanie Ward-WallerI’ve been looking at a lot of data lately, trying to get a strong grasp on California’s record of getting kids walking and bicycling safely to school. I’m an engineer by training so I enjoy any opportunity to crunch some data, and California has particularly interesting numbers to analyze. Some of California’s data is really good compared to the nation as a whole, and some is not so good. Here are a few e

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