Streamlined grant procedures can make competitive funding fairer

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a more than $850 billion historic investment in support of state and local government work to increase access and safety while redressing inequities across the country. However, a recent article by Brookings contributors Ellory Monks and Shalini Vajjhala points out that the existing structure of federal and state grant application processes may inhibit the fair allocation of the funds.

States can target key transportation issues with federal infrastructure funds

The much-anticipated Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was finally signed by President Biden on Monday, and state DOTs are preparing for what will amount to around 50 percent more transportation spending than originally planned for over the next five years. The act includes an additional $110 billion for roads and bridges, $11 billion for safety, $39 billion for public transit, and $66 billion for freight and passenger rail (a five-fold increase).

Underreported crashes are a barrier to making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians

By Saumya Jain  Transportation agencies often rely on police generated crash reports for improving roadway design and making streets safer for all users. A recent study from Washington, D.C., however, found that almost one in three car crashes involving a cyclist or a pedestrian goes unreported. With such a wide gap in data, it is quite possible agencies don’t fully …

Bike facilities often follow income gains, not the other way around

By Saumya Jain A new study found little evidence that new bike infrastructure leads to displacement of low-income households or people of color, despite the two sometimes being linked in public discourse. The data reveal some bias toward mostly white neighborhoods in terms of where new facilities are installed, but sharrows, or markings …

Three steps toward smarter transportation investments

A new study by SSTI with researchers from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looks at transportation project prioritization programs at 21 agencies across the U.S. The study identifies three overarching strategies to better align investments with policy goals: 1) establishing flexible funding programs; 2) evaluating key outcomes; and 3) maximizing benefits per dollar spent.

Room for improvement in assessing equity in regional TIPs

Many Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) have placed a greater emphasis on equity in their regional planning over the past few years, but that emphasis doesn’t always translate to direct changes at the project level. Transportation Research Record examined how well MPOs serving the 40 largest metro areas in the U.S. incorporate equity criteria in project prioritization decisions for their Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) and recommend a broader shift in how MPOs approach equity in project prioritization to reframe transportation inequities in terms of injustices.