MAP-21 Background and Resources

In late June 2012, Congress passed a new transportation bill, MAP-21, that made significant changes to funding for bicycling, walking and Safe Routes to School.

The federal Safe Routes to School program, which existed from 2005 to 2012, was combined with other bicycling and walking programs into a new program called Transportation Alternatives. There is less funding available for Transportation Alternatives than for the programs that were consolidated, and there is no longer dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School. 

However, this leaves each state Department of Transportation with discretion about whether to fund Safe Routes to School projects, and how much funding to dedicate to these initiatives.  In addition, the Metropolitan Planning Organizations for larger cities (population of 200,000 or more) will also receive funding through Transportation Alternatives that they can provide for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking projects.

Advocates will be better able to advocate for ongoing support if they are up-to-date on MAP-21 and its changes. Start with some background information listed below, and then please take a look at all our materials, listed with newest items first.

Here are a few key foundational items:

Below are news and information items from the first two years of the implementation of MAP-21 and the Transportation Alternatives Program.  Starting in 2015, we are focusing on the reauthorization of MAP-21. For the most current information on the reauthorization effort and to help us advocate for sustaining Safe Routes to School and the Transportation Alternatives Program, please see our main National policy page

  • November 3, 2014: Two new publications from the National Center highlight the ongoing federal implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Program and federally funded Safe Routes to School projects.  For analysis on both, check out our newest federal policy blog.
  • September 24, 2014: We are happy to introduce a new State of the States report looking at TAP funding alongside our SAFETEA-LU report, which tracks dedicated funding from SAFETEA-LU.
  • September 12, 2014: Secretary Foxx announces a new initiative for bicycle and pedestrian safety at the Pro Walk, Pro Bike, Pro Place conference.  Learn more about this critical announcement in our blog.
  • August 25, 2014: Congress is away on recess, and with few legislative days left on the calendar, now is a great time to engage your members of Congress back home. Read our blog to learn about resources that can help you get involved.
  • August 4, 2014: With Congress punting reauthorization to next year, read our latest blog to learn how we got here and what this means moving forward. 
  • June 27, 2014: The March 2014 State of the States report shows an increase in obligations and awards over the previous quarter, marking what should be a strong year for spending down remaining SAFETEA-LU funds. 
  • May 23, 2014: Take a look at the U.S. DOT's case study on the implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Program in five states. 
  • May 12, 2014: Read our latest blog detailing improvements to Safe Routes to School in the Senate transportation bill.  
  • May 2, 2014: We've issued a new snapshot of how states are implementing Transportation Alternatives -- see how your state rates!
  • April 30, 2014: Read our take on the US Department of Transportation's proposal for the reauthorization of MAP-21.
  • March 28, 2014: Learn more in our latest blog about how you can help improve the USDOT proposed safety performance measure, and Senate progress on the next transportation bill.
  • March 24, 2014: The December 2013 State of the States shows a slow-down in obligation and awards of Safe Routes to School funding, consistent with annual trends.
  • March 4, 2014: Read our latest blog for more on Congressional and Administration plans for reauthorizing MAP-21 and financing transportation.
  • February 3, 2014: Ask your Representative to cosponsor HR3978, to gives mayors a loan financing tool for bike/ped infrastructure.
  • January 7, 2014: Check out our latest federal policy blog to learn more about our federal legislative platform, which includes priorities around the Transportation Alternatives program, safety, data collection, health and equity.
  • December 20, 2013: Review our newest update to the Transportation Alternatives state snapshot chart, which details state decisions on the implementation of the Transportation Alternatives program.
  • November 18, 2013: Learn more about the new Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety bill, and then ask your members of Congress to cosponsor it!
  • November 7, 2013: The lastest quarterly State of the States report shows that awarded funds are slowing, with just $13 million in new awards made, and states obligated $26 million.
  • August 19, 2013: Review our latest quarterly State of the States report for the most recent tally of state award and obligation of Safe Routes to School funds. 
  • July 22, 2013: Take a look at this new resource from Advocacy Advance in collaboration with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to spotlight examples of competitive grant processes that can help inform MPOs seeking to develop Transportation Alternatives competitions. The National Center for Safe Routes to School has also released a white paper summarizing interviews with MPOs about Transportation Alternatives.
  • July 12, 2013: One year later, we finally have our first snapshot of what each state plans to do on Transportation Alternatives. Read our blog and look at our brand new state-by-state chart examining TAP implementation decisions to see what your state has done so far.
  • July 2, 2013: Register for our webinar, "One Year Later: Where We Are on Transportation Alternatives," taking place on Monday, July 22 at 2pm EST for one hour.  Learn more about Transportation Alternatives guidance, state implementation decisions and resources to help MPOs produce high-quality applications.
  • June 13, 2013: This week the US Department of Transportation issued the final guidance and an updated Q&A on the Transportation Alternatives program.  Read our analysis of the impacts of the new guidance and learn about forth-coming resources to help you advocate for your state and large MPOs to spend their Transportation Alternatives funds wisely!
  • May 29, 2013: In this month’s federal policy blog, learn more about the Mayor Anthony Foxx of Charlotte, who has been tapped as the next US Secretary of Transportation, and our recommendations for his first 100 days in office.
  • May 29, 2013: Review our latest State of the States report to see the latest figures on how much funding states have remaining for Safe Routes to School.
  • April 26, 2013: This month's federal policy blog covers the 2014 proposed spending levels for transportation and health programs affecting Safe Routes to School, along with a short update on implementation of MAP-21.
  • March 28, 2013: Read this month's federal policy blog to learn more about how to talk with policymakers about Safe Routes to School.
  • February 28, 2012: Learn more about the sequester and performance measures in our latest blog.
  • February 15, 2013: Review our latest State of the States report to see the latest figures on how much funding states have remaining for Safe Routes to School.
  • February 7, 2013: Watch our latest webinar, focused on strategies to raise matching funds that are now required for Safe Routes to School projects under MAP-21.
  • January 14, 2013: Read our latest blog about how to make the case to your state department of transportation to supplement Transportation Alternatives with funding from the Highway Safety Improvement Program to protect Safe Routes to School funding.
  • January 11, 2013: Today, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released the full funding tables for all transportation programs, including Transportation Alternatives and the allocations for larger metropolitan areas.  
  • December 3, 2012: While interim guidance was issued by the US Department of Transportation in October, there are still many implementation tasks remaining on MAP-21. Final guidance, rules, regulations, best practices for applications and performance measures all must be issued, and will affect how your state implements Safe Routes to School.  Learn more about next steps on federal implementation in our latest blog post.
  • November 2, 2012: As the new interim guidance for Transportation Alternatives requires a 20 percent match for Safe Routes to School, our new blog outlines what qualifies for the match and provides ideas on how to raise those matching funds.
  • October 22, 2012: Today, the US Department of Transportation released the new interim guidance on Transportation Alternatives, which provides states with additional information on how to implement the program. Read our blog for the full details on the good news and the bad news from the guidance.
  • October 9, 2012: MAP-21 is now in effect and states are already making decisions on Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking funding--read in our latest blog about progress and victories in eight states
  • September 21, 2012: We worked with America Bikes to coordinate a national sign-on letter to USDOT on critical guidance issues, including the Safe Routes to School coordinators and match.
  • September 5, 2012: We are one month away from October 1, when MAP-21 provisions go into affect.  Please take one hour to watch our webinar on the Safe Routes to School impacts of MAP-21 to get informed.  And, then take a look at our checklist of concrete things you can do in the next month to take ownership over your state's funding for Safe Routes to School and your own program. 
  • August 30, 2012: Learn more about MAP-21 through webinars, including one on Safe Routes to School plus the first MAP-21 webinar.
  • August 20, 2012: Join your state's campaign to fully fund Transportation Alternatives; simply contact the campaign lead for your state
  • August 7, 2012: Confused by all the numbers thrown around for MAP-21?  Read our lasted blog explaining the state by state funding allocations under Transportation Alternatives and remaining Safe Routes to School funds
  • August 2, 2012: While news from MAP-21 may seem disheartening, there are lots of ways we can survive and thrive.  Read our blog for 10 ideas
  • July 26, 2012: It's been nearly a month since Congress passed the new transportation bill, MAP-21.  Read more about our plans for next steps on the transportation bill and Director Deb Hubsmith's thoughts on how it's up to us to ensure continued growth for Safe Routes to School.
  • June 28, 2012: Negotiators on the transportation bill have reached an agreement, that is expected to be voted on yet this week by the House and Senate.  Unfortunately, the agreement includes significant cuts to Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking.  See the documents below for more details: