Every two years, the Safe Routes Partnership releases the Making Strides state report cards, providing an at-a-glance snapshot of how states are doing in their support of walking, rolling, and active kids and communities. As we gear up for the fifth edition of the report cards in 2024, we want to preview the indicators that each state will be evaluated on. While we aim to maintain consistency in indicators to provide predictability to states, the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021 created new federal requirements and opportunities for states to support Safe Routes to School and active transportation. We created fact sheets to support state departments of transportation and active transportation and Safe Routes to School advocates make the most of these new federal requirements and opportunities within the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The 2024 Making Strides state report cards will evaluate states on 26 indicators that represent key state-level policies and decision-making that support walking, rolling, and active communities:
Complete Streets and Active Transportation Policy and Planning
- Adopted state legislative or administrative Complete Streets policy(ies)
- Has strong state Complete Streets policy
- Adopted goals to increase walking and bicycling mode share
- Adopted a state pedestrian, bicycle, or active transportation plan
Federal and State Active Transportation Funding – increasing overall points
- Retained TAP funding without transfers*
- All states receive a clean slate on this indicator following the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which requires states to provide technical assistance to TAP applicants and fund all reasonable projects before transferring out of the program. This is a change from the state’s historical performance since 2012.
- Awarded TAP projects*
- States will be scored on whether they have held competitions and awarded TAP projects since the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law rather than over the history of the program.
- Obligated state-controlled TAP funds
- Provides special consideration for high-need communities in TAP awards*
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law requires states to define and prioritize high-need communities in TAP awards. Scoring has been updated to reflect that the definition and method of prioritizing communities are clearly communicated to prospective applicants. New this year, states can receive negative points if they do not comply with this requirement. For suggestions on defining and prioritizing high-need communities, review our fact sheet on how over twenty states are doing so.
- Provides matching funds for high-need communities
- Provides support to TAP applicants*
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law creates a new flexibility for states to use up to five percent of their TAP funds to provide potential applicants and awarded recipients technical assistance. Federal guidance provides a broad definition of what this can support, including assistance applying, with project implementation, including environmental review, planning, design, permits, and project management. The scoring threshold has increased given that states now have a funding source to support this work.
- Dedicates other federal (non-TAP) funding for active transportation
- Dedicates state funding for active transportation
- Amount of state funding for active transportation
- Provides special consideration in state awards of funding for Safe Routes to School or active transportation for high-need communities
- *New this year, states using Highway Safety Improvement Program funds as a match to Transportation Alternatives Program funds receive bonus points.
Safe Routes to School Funding and Supportive Practices – increasing overall points
- Provides special consideration for Safe Routes to School projects using TAP funds
- Dedicates state or other funding for Safe Routes to School*
- This year, we are assessing the amount of funding per capita using school enrollment data rather than the amount of total funding.
- Funds SRTS non-infrastructure projects
- Provides Safe Routes to School planning grants or minigrants
- States can earn the most points on this indicator if they offer both planning grants and minigrants.
- Staffs state Safe Routes to School program with state employees or consultants
- Provides a resource center or technical assistance that supports strong local Safe Routes to School programs
- Adopted a state SRTS plan or incorporated SRTS into state active transportation plan
- Supports equitable Safe Routes to School programming
Active Neighborhoods and Schools
- Adopted state policy supporting shared use of school facilities
- Provides funding/incentives in support of shared use of school facilities
- Requires large school sites (minimum acreage guideline) (cumulative)
- Supports walking, bicycling and physical activity in school design guidelines (cumulative points)
Note: the indicator regarding state requirements for physical education has been removed for 2024.
*Scoring will be updated to reflect new federal requirements and opportunities states have in implementing provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
What’s Next: Data Collection and Scoring
The Safe Routes Partnership staff will begin collecting data on these indicators this fall. We reference data collected by other groups through national surveys or scans as well as publicly-available information on various state websites. Once initial data collection is complete, we’ll follow up with outreach to and additional confirmation by state staff. If you work within a state department of transportation or department of health, be on the lookout for our emails in spring 2024!
As in previous iterations of the Making Strides state report cards, each state can earn up to 200 points. Each of the 26 indicators will be worth up to 20 points. The 2024 report cards will include opportunities for states to earn more points in each of the indicators, but the scoring framework will not be substantially different from previous report cards. To learn more about the Making Strides state report cards and the scoring process, read the full 2022 report and explanatory fact sheets.