Congressional Briefing: Trends in Active Transportation
On Wednesday June 27, APBP co-hosted a briefing with the Congressional Bike Caucus on “Trends in Transportation.” Shari Schaftlein, of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Toks Omishakin, Vice Chair of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)’s Council on Active Transportation joined Byron Rushing, President of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) to give updates on their work and priorities.
All three speakers focused on safety concerns as a priority. The continued increase in the number of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities is of serious concern. AASHTO’s Green Book coming out next spring will include a new chapter on bicyclist and pedestrian safety.
Schaftlein focused on the resources FHWA has to offer, including their recent report on multimodal networks, which compares multiple analysis tools. She also mentioned some current work including an upcoming report on bicycling and walking in National Parks, and joint work with AASHTO on expediting small project delivery. She also discussed FHWA’s goal for active transportation to make up 25 percent of all short trips, defined as one mile or less for walking, and five miles for bicycling.
Omishakin discussed the creation of the Council on Active Transportation. In 2017 AASHTO reorganized and created their Policy Committee that has the responsibility of overseeing policy statements. The committee is made up of councils on modes of transportation, including aviation, highways and streets, public transit, water, rail and active transportation. It’s the first time active transportation has been elevated to the same decision making level as these other modes within AASHTO. The Council is working on a strategic plan focused on safety, data and planning for active transportation which should be finalized at their July policy meeting, and adopted at AASHTO’s annual meeting in September.
Rushing introduced the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) to the audience, focusing on who APBP members are, the APBP vision and strategic plan and the work of the professional association.
The briefing drew over 40 people, the majority of them Congressional staff who engaged with the speakers on questions on ADA accessibility, funding trends, safety data and upcoming research.