Because you used your VOICE the long awaited USDOT requirements for how states and cities will have to measure traffic congestion are far better than the outdated ones originally proposed.
Close your eyes and imagine a successful transportation system. What do you see?
I see crosswalks that help make it safe for kids to walk to school. I see bike lanes that make it possible for people to get to work on two wheels instead of four. I see sidewalks that allow families to be physically active in their neighborhoods. And I see accessible public transit options that connect people of all abilities to jobs, grocery stores, and health services.
But we got a reminder back in the spring of the struggle we are up against when we saw the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the performance measures for our national highway system (NHS) from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) that fail to meet that vision by focusing solely on the speed of vehicles and the congestion of roads. What gets measured by USDOT matters because it determines where Federal transportation funding is directed at the state and local levels. As it was proposed, the rule would have steered funding toward expanding roads and increasing speeds, rather than improving our transportation infrastructure to include crosswalks, sidewalks, and bike lanes that are critically needed to allow all people to safely and easily walk, bike, and access public transit.
But with your help we reminded the USDOT that transportation is about more than cars! Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center volunteers, alongside advocates from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Transportation for America, and the League of American Bicyclist, as well as many other advocates across the country, came together and demanded that USDOT include performance measures that will count people who walk, bike, and ride public transit in the final rule. And it worked! The comments that were released with the final rule directly crediting the feedback you provided over the past several months.
“Tens of thousands of commenters, through campaigns from Transportation for America, American Heart Association, and others, raised concerns about the vehicle-focused nature of the 8 measures proposed in the NPRM. Many asserted that determining the performance of the NHS and the impact of congestion relies on an understanding of the entire surface transportation system, including all available modes of travel. Commenters explained that considering pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit riders, and other travelers in transportation decisions, provides a fuller picture of system performance, encourages policies that reduce traffic congestion, and helps meet the goal of efficient investment of Federal transportation funds. They asserted that these transportation modes, while often local in implementation and reach, deserve recognition in a national performance measure because they contribute to transportation efficiency and reliability, promote public safety and health, improve the livability and walkability of urban neighborhoods, improve environmental sustainability, and reduce costs for the travelling public. One commenter noted that the vehicle-focused approach in the NPRM disadvantages low-income communities where vehicle ownership rates are often lower compared to suburban and rural areas.”
Because of you the long awaited USDOT requirements for how states and cities will have to measure traffic congestion are far better than the outdated ones originally proposed! Thank you!
Want to know more? Join our friends at Transportation for America for a Webinar: Understanding USDOT's final congestion rule on Tuesday, January 24, 2107 at 10:00 AM EST for a webinar unpacking the congestion rule and the rest of the suite of new measures.