Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's not just about moving people

Some people think that the only criteria for evaluating transportation projects should be "which strategies move the most people most effectively in most corridors." That's been the formula at the Federal Transit Authority as well, regardless of the effect of new projects on communities. Thanks to the new administration, that will change. According to a recent blog post by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Walking the walk; New transit action puts livability criteria squarely into the mix:
Look, everywhere I go, people tell me they want better transportation in their communities. They want the opportunity to leave their cars behind. To live near work and schools and good hospitals. And to enjoy clean, green neighborhoods. The old way of doing things just doesn't value what people want.

Now, the Recovery Act discretionary TIGER grants we announce soon will help some communities achieve these broader goals.

But if we’re serious--really serious--about creating livable communities built around good transportation, then our Federal Transit Administration needs to consider key livability factors when evaluating non-Recovery Act transit proposals. Factors like enivronmental benefits and economic development opportunities.

Unfortunately, FTA's flagship programs use cost and performance requirements that are too narrow to allow for weighing these livability factors.

So we are opening them up to a broader set of six performance criteria:
  • Economic development
  • Mobility improvements
  • Environmental benefits
  • Operating efficiencies
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Land use
See an earlier post about FTA's new guidelines regarding bicycle facilities within 3 miles of transit stations.

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