Prepare Plans that Meet Federal Requirements

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 was critical in supporting enhanced planning for bicycle and pedestrians. Subsequent transportation legislation (e.g., TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU) has continued its support for multimodal transportation planning. As a result of this legislation, states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are required to address bicycle and pedestrian needs during the transportation planning process.

States and MPOs are required to incorporate appropriate provisions for bicycling and walking into the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs).

Each state is required to establish a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator position in its state Department of Transportation (DOT). See our online list of current state bicycle and pedestrian coordinators.

A plan that meets federal requirements should:

  • Include elements such as goals, policy statements, and specific programs and projects whenever possible
  • Identify financial resources necessary for implementation
  • Include on-road facilities — Off-road trails can be included when they serve to connect origins and destinations

Bicycle and pedestrian elements of transportation plans should include:

  • Performance criteria
  • Assessment of current conditions and needs
  • Identification of activities required to meet the vision and goals
  • Implementation of the bicycle and pedestrian elements in statewide and MPO transportation plans and TIPs
  • Evaluation of progress using performance measures
  • Public involvement as required by Federal transportation legislation and FHWA/FTA planning regulations
  • Transportation conformity requirements for air quality, where necessary

Additionally, some states have created their own criteria (or recommendations) for local pedestrian plans. For example, the North Carolina DOT's Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation has a Planning Guide and Recommended Outline for Developing Bicycle Plans and Pedestrian Plans as part of their Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative.