Boosting Active Transportation Through Regional Transportation Plans

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A new fact sheet, Boosting Active Transportation Through Regional Transportation Plans, lays out success stories, best practices, and resources for anyone looking to ensure a region-wide commitment to safer, more convenient streets for biking and walking.

This year, advocates in Southern California, including Safe Routes Partnership, secured a promise of $22.5 billion to be invested in active transportation over the next 20 years, with specific commitments to prioritize environmental justice. In Salem, Oregon, Safe Routes Partnership worked with partners to successfully push for three years of funding for a Safe Routes to School program and a host of bicycle and pedestrian projects worth more than $35 million—all within the next five years. Both of these victories came after a long-term advocacy push to influence a region’s planning process to be more supportive of equity, active transportation, and transit.     

In metropolitan regions throughout the country, these decisions are guided by the priorities laid out in the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which serves as a blueprint to guide transportation investments within a region over a 20- to 25-year period. These plans include a policy section outlining the vision, goals and targets for the transportation network and a project list allocating anticipated funding for current and future transportation projects. Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) generally revisit their RTPs every four to five years, providing an opportunity for active transportation advocates to influence how much funding goes to biking, walking, and transit projects, and which projects are prioritized.

For active transportation and Safe Routes advocates, the RTP planning process offers critical opportunities influence a region’s long-term commitment to active transportation and transit, and to actually ensure that funding goes to specific biking, walking, and transit projects.

Over the past ten years, the Safe Routes Partnership has focused on policy work at the regional level in targeted metropolitan areas that are part of the Regional Network Project, an initiative supported by Kaiser Permanente in Washington, DC, regions of Northern and Southern California, and the Pacific Northwest. Through this project, we advocated for healthy transportation options at the regional level by influencing policy, plans, and funding for large populations. 

A new fact sheet, Boosting Active Transportation Through Regional Transportation Plans, draws on this experience to lay out success stories, best practices, and resources for anyone looking to ensure a region-wide commitment to safer, more convenient streets for biking and walking.