Congress Urges DOT to Consider ALL Road Users in MAP-21
Recently, members of Congress joined in sending a bipartisan letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood urging DOT to create separate performance measures for motorized and nonmotorized road users.
Under the new surface transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century(MAP-21), DOT is required to develop performance measures for roadway safety while also providing funding to states for the Highway Safety Improvement Program. These performance measures do not include specific reporting requirements for biking and walking. The congressional letter urges LaHood to take this opportunity to set performance standards for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The lawmakers noted that “while there was a drop in roadway fatalities for occupants of motorized vehicles from 2010–2011, the percentage of bicycle roadway deaths increased 9 percent and pedestrian deaths rose 3 percent in the same time period. By creating specific metrics for bicycle and pedestrian safety, states can have flexibility in choosing the best methods for reducing fatalities.”
The letter was signed by 69 members of Congress, including nine Republicans, of which two are House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee chairmen: Highways and Transit Chairman Tom Petri (WI); and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Chairman John Duncan (TN). This bipartisan effort may signal a renewed effort of Congress to come together on transportation issues—particularly transportation safety policy.
AS DOT continues to work on drafting MAP-21 performance measures, Secretary LaHood has announced plans for two bicycle safety summits this month—one in Tampa on April 11 and one in Minneapolis on April 29. LaHood stated, “We're going to learn from communities what works and what doesn't work. And once we figure out what the best practices are, we're going to team up with the bicycling community to help ensure that when cities, towns, states, and counties think about creating new bike infrastructure, they'll have the tools to implement those practices and keep all users of our roads as safe as possible.”
ASLA applauds the lawmakers and Secretary LaHood for taking steps to develop safety standards for all transportation modes and encourages the adoption of a national Complete Streets policy that would ensure that the safety and use of everyone is taken into account at the outset of transportation projects.