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Supporters spoke out for safer streets, and USDOT listened

16 Mar 2016 | Posted by | 0 Comments | ,

Thanks to the action of supporters like you, all Americans will be safer on our streets. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Transportation released a much-improved ruling for how states and metro areas should measure — and be held accountable for improving — the safety of streets for everyone that uses them.

Back in 2014, 1,500 Transportation for AmericaSmart Growth America and National Complete Streets Coalition supporters sent a letter calling for the U.S. Department of Transportation to make the safety of all roadway users a top priority, and your voice has clearly been heard. Yesterday USDOT released its final safety rule for a new system of measuring the performance of our transportation investments that includes new and improved language to hold states and metro areas accountable for reducing preventable pedestrian deaths and injuries.

Under the last federal transportation law (MAP-21), USDOT was required to create a new system to govern how federal dollars are spent by measuring the performance of those dollars against tangible goals and outcomes. The first proposed measure dealt entirely with safety guidelines that would hold states and metro areas accountable for tracking their progress in reducing traffic collisions. But the proposal USDOT initially came up with was too weak to be effective.

USDOT-selfieThat’s where supporters like you came in. Over 1,500 people mobilized to tell USDOT to make that measure stronger, and to hold states and metro areas accountable for the safety of everyone on the road — no matter how they’re choosing to get around. Smart Growth America’s President and CEO Geoff Anderson personally hand-delivered those letters to USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx—all 1,500 of them.

Yesterday’s final ruling is leaps and bounds ahead of what was originally proposed. Some of the highlights include:

  • Five measures in total, and they include people on foot or bike: rate of serious injuries; rate of fatalities; total serious injuries; total fatalities; and the number of combined non-motorized fatalities and serious injuries.
  • States and MPOs must set targets for reducing fatalities for people on foot or bike. It’s treated as an equal measure to the others.
  • States and MPOs must make progress on four of the five measures.
  • Significant progress will be measured by beating targets. If that doesn’t occur, states must at least beat their baselines for each measure.
  • USDOT will not wait to finish developing the rest of the performance measures before they begin rolling out this safety measure.

Logged-in T4America members can read a more detailed memo on the final rule below. 

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