USDOT All-In on Complete Streets!
Figuring Out Funding
Help Connect Local Officials to PennDOT Connects
Equity Spotlight: Safe Streets and Freedom for All!
Tech Takes on Distracted Driving
The Unbearable Noisiness of Being Around Traffic
What's In a Word? Equity
Infrastructure Insights From the Interwebs

Do you know a municipality ready to develop an Active Transportation Plan or Complete Streets or Vision Zero Policy? Let them know they should consider applying for WalkWorks funding! Send them the link and tell them about the April 8 webinar. Anyone can attend the webinar, whether they think they will be ready to apply this year, will want to seek a different funding source, or will wait to apply until next year.

In early February we were all abuzz about the new National Roadway Safety Strategy that had just been released, endorsing Vision Zero and the Safe System approach to transportation design. Guess what? There's even more good news along those lines! The USDOT, i.e. the federal Department of Transportation, released another report in early March and launched a new part of its website devoted to the Complete Streets Design Approach. Woohoo!

On the one hand, seeing as you are all up-to-date on what Complete Streets and Vision Zero mean, you might just think that it's good to see that and then move on. But, wait! There is an action opportunity related to this! USDOT runs a program called Every Day Counts that highlights innovations and develops campaigns to spread the best new ideas. "Complete Streets - Safety Transformations" is the second of 15 "Innovations of Interest" currently posted for review. And they would like to hear feedback on their innovation proposals. Feel free to weigh in by emailing by April 11. You can write a very simple expression of support for Complete Streets (and other items listed, like mapping of work zones and reducing wildlife-vehicle conflicts or river/road connections) and be done with it or get more in depth and talk about Complete Streets, Vision Zero, and Safe System Design as a package. The leading innovations will be promoted systematically by federal teams. Let's give Complete Streets a boost!
All this Active Transportation Planning and Policy-making can get a community pretty hungry for implementation. We have mentioned the myriad options for new and expanded funding associated with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, but it can be a bit overwhelming. Sometimes it's easier to start with a smaller resource and work your way up to the big ones. You can get familiar with some of the categories and lingo in a shorter format first. To that end, here's a compilation of pre-existing active transportation funding sources put together by PennDOT on their website. It is labeled as being for Safe Routes to School, but is almost universally relevant to other active transportation projects (inasmuch as any grant funding can be said to be universal -- as always, read the guidelines!).
While you are spending your time planning and learning about funding options, make sure that your community's elected officials and municipal employees are up to speed on these topics, too. To that end, each of the PennDOT Districts across the state will be holding meetings to brief people with LTAP access on what the PennDOT Connects Municipal Resources Program is and to allow them to interact with District staff, regional planning organization staff, and each other. Connects is an opportunity for communities to be heard and to improve transportation projects in ways that may not have been considered before or were previously recognized too late in the project delivery process.

The meetings will be a mix of in-person and virtual, depending on the District. They start as soon as March 29, 30, and 31, in Districts 10, 11, and 2, respectively, and then are spread out through April and into May. Encourage your electeds and municipal employees to sign up and attend! It's a great opportunity for them to learn about Connects and the free resources available to municipalities so that they will be able to realize the infrastructure projects you are planning now.
Not every message about the need for transportation equity has to be a graduate level dissertation and it doesn't all come from one "side." Check out this interview that Tucker Carlson did with architect and urban designer Andres Duany recently. In under 2 minutes the Miami, Florida-based co-founder of the Center for New Urbanism makes a compelling case that we need to design our places for people, not just the cars they might be using. Equity means designing for all ages, abilities, means, and modes. No matter our skin color, bank balance, or zip code, we all need safe and accessible transportation options.

Duany points out that with our current typically car-centric development patterns we are really boxing ourselves and our loved ones in. Many people wind up being deprived of one of our most deeply held values: freedom!
As mentioned previously, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month (and every time you drive is a great time to avoid distractions). Get ready now:

This App Saves Lives (TASL) is a free mobile app that rewards drivers who abstain from phone-based distracted driving (and biking!). With TASL, drivers earn points for time spent driving undistracted, and these points are redeemable for rewards from brands like Shake Shack, Insomnia Cookies, Urban Outfitters, Reebok, and many more. Local businesses are eligible to take part as well, offering rewards, getting visibility, and making our streets safer.
Download This App Saves Lives today on the App Store and during registration, use the code WALKWORKS within the Referral ID field to instantly earn 500 Bonus TASL Points, courtesy of PDC. Put those points towards free food, apparel, accessories, electronics — and keep earning more when you start driving undistracted with TASL as your co-pilot.
With spring comes the sound of migratory birds high overhead and spring peepers around our ponds, lakes, and marshes. But there are other less pleasant sounds that also come with spring -- like super loud motorcycles. Some riders like to tout the ability of "loud pipes" to save lives, but we are learning more and more about how those same loud pipes and other excessive noise sources do the exact opposite. Research has shown that chronic noise exposure has a serious impact on health. And our roads are loud even when vehicles aren't made louder on purpose. Electric Vehicles won't necessarily solve the problem either, since above 30mph the bulk of the noise comes from tires, friction, and impact, not the engine. The cities of Paris and Knoxville (yes, France and Tennessee!) are starting to deploy "sound radar" that will be able to pinpoint and identify vehicles producing excessive noise. The programs are just being piloted now in key locations and will not shift to issuing tickets until next year, but they are committed to taking on this largely unknown public health scourge.
Equity may not seem like part of the active transportation lexicon and it is certainly true that it is not exclusive to the field, but it is central to it. There is a fair amount of confusion surrounding it, so it's important to consider what is meant by the term. As it happens, one of the best illustrations for equity has clear active transportation relevance. The graphic shown here was developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to illustrate the difference between equality and equity. It shows four people in two different scenarios, one where they are being treated equally and one where they are being treated equitably. In the top row, everyone is shown with the same bike. It is totally useless to the person who uses a wheelchair; it's too small for the largest person; it fits the medium person; and it is way too big for the smallest person shown. That's equality and it isn't really serving anyone's needs. Even the person who has a bike that fits them is stuck in a community/group where most people's needs are not met, resources are going to waste, and health benefits aren't available to many! In the bottom row by contrast, each is shown with a bicycle or adaptive cycle that suits their needs. That is equity and it's better for each of us individually and also for all of us together!

When we talk about equity, there are some people who are concerned that it will mean that everyone is constrained not just to the same opportunity but also to the same outcome, but what is really sought is to give everyone the appropriate (equitable!) access so that they can then make of it what they will. Equity is a principle and a mode or practice, not the ultimate target. The target or goal could be said to be inclusion and engagement/belonging for everyone!
Twitter is aflutter with commentary on high gas prices. Here are two different active-transportation takes on the same clickbait-y theme... It must also be acknowledged that not everyone has these transportation options available to them right now -- though a person can dream! If you or people you know do not, consider deploying these recommendations to increase fuel economy from AAA. Their list includes winners like removing stray cargo, reducing your cruising speed (roughly equivalent to saving 15% on gas), and keeping your tires properly inflated. Beyond those tips/tricks, even people who can't walk to do all their errands might be able to walk from one errand to another. See if you can incorporate walking to reduce or eliminate parts of your drive. Walk or run between dropping off and picking up a kid at sports practice or while waiting for someone in the grocery store.
No Need to Click Through
As they say, this device "runs on fat and saves you money, unlike a car which runs on money and makes you fat."
Sounds Like Click-bait!
Looks like... a train schedule!
Safe travels near and far!
Sam Pearson
M: 781.366.0726
PA Walkworks | Website