Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are You Worth A $1.24?

According to the new report "Dangerous By Design" that is how much the region is spending annually in federal highway safety dollars per capita on Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects. In our region 20% of all traffic fatalities in the region involve pedestrians and bicyclists, nearly twice the national average. Does that justify a $1.24?

The T4 America blog put this crisis in perspective with other transportation deaths.

What would the national reaction be if a jumbo jet full of passengers went down with regularity every 31 days or so? How loud would the calls be for a fundamental change in airline safety? It’s easy to imagine the shock and outrage if such a thing happened. Yet that is essentially what happens every year with preventable pedestrian fatalities on our nation’s streets and roads.

Send a message to Transportation Secretary LaHood to pour more resources into preventing bicycle and pedestrian deaths.

According to the study calculated spending figures from the Federal Highway Administration’s Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS) – a massive database containing details on all transportation projects that were obligated federal funds. For the purposes of this report, we queried the database for projects with an improvement type related specifically to bicycle and pedestrian programs and facilities (the FMIS database lumps together bicycle and pedestrian projects). The county-level data was then aggregated to the metro area or state level. Dividing this figure by the 2008 population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau gives us the amount spent on pedestrian projects per capita.

Now to be fair, present and future overall spending on bicycle pedestrian projects in the should increase signifcantly. DVRPC 2010 Transportation Improvement Program breakdown shows that 6% of the transportation dollars (federal, state, local) allocated in the next few years will be going to bicycle and pedestrian projects. Although a significant chunk of that ($25 Million) is going to the Chester Valley Trail.


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