The US Department of Transportation (DOT) released its strategic plan last week, and is accepting public comments on the document through November 13th. While the broad goals of the plan—safety, infrastructure (good repair, delivery and performance), innovation, and accountability—are similar to those of previous plans the new plan this plan sets a new direction for the agency.
The major themes in the plan mirror themes from Secretary Chao’s remarks about an infrastructure package including funding infrastructure investment through public-private partnerships and leveraging state and local funding, streamlining the environmental permitting process and reducing other regulations, and promoting economic development in rural areas. These themes replace the focuses on livable communities, reducing distracted driving, and ladders of opportunity from the last two DOT administrations.
The 2018-2022 plan is thin on multi-modal transportation mentioning bicyclists and pedestrians only in the safety section, and only to state that fatalities and injuries are on the rise. There are no specific goals or strategies to respond to non-motorized safety. This is in stark difference to the 2014-2018 plan which included a set of specific set of objectives for biking and walking, as well as other modes. The safety section does however include a strategy of working with stakeholders to identify and address safety strategies. APBP will reach out to the Department to offer the expertise and knowledge of its members.
The strategic plan matters because once final it will guide the annual workplans of each of the modal administrations in USDOT. In turn, these generate the metrics, milestones and performance measures by which 57,000 employees are ultimately graded each year.
Also in October, the US DOT announced it would repeal the performance measures requiring states to measure and set goals for greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. APBP submitted comments opposing the decision.