Safe Routes to School :: Practice and Promise

Federal/State Matching Requirements

Appendix E
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In general, the Federal share of the costs of transportation projects is 80 percent with a 20 percent State or local match. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule.

  • Federal Lands Highway projects and Section 402 Highways Safety funds are 100 percent federally funded.
  • Bicycle-related Transit Enhancement Activities are 95 percent federally funded.
  • Hazard elimination projects are 90 percent federally funded. Bicycle-related transit projects (other than Transit Enhancement Activities) may be up to 90 percent federally funded.
  • Individual Transportation
    Enhancement Activity projects under the STP can have a Federal match higher or lower than 80 percent. However, the overall Federal share of each State's Transportation Enhancement Program must be 80 percent.
  • States with higher percentages of Federal Lands have higher Federal shares calculated in proportion to their percentage of Federal lands.

The State and/or local funds used to match Federal-aid highway projects may include in-kind contributions (such as donations). Funds from other Federal programs may also be used to match Transportation Enhancement, Scenic Byways, and Recreational Trails program funds. A Federal agency project sponsor may provide matching funds to Recreational Trails funds provided the Federal share does not exceed 95 percent.

Planning for Bicycling and Walking:

States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), a planning agency established for each urbanized area of more than 50,000 population, are required to carry out a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative transportation planning process that results in two products.

1. A long-range (20 year) transportation plan provides for the development and integrated management and operation of transportation systems and facilities, including pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities. Both State and MPO plans will consider projects and strategies to increase the safety and security of the transportation system for non-motorized users.

2. A Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) contains a list of proposed federally supported projects to be carried out over the next three years. Projects that appear in the TIP should be consistent with the long-range plan.

The transportation planning process is carried out with the active and ongoing involvement of the public, affected public agencies, and transportation providers.

Section 1202 of TEA-21 says that bicyclists and pedestrians shall be given due consideration in the planning process (including the development of both the plan and TIP), and that bicycle facilities and pedestrian walkways shall be considered, where appropriate, in conjunction with all new construction and reconstruction of transportation facilities except where bicycle use and walking are not permitted. Transportation plans and projects shall also consider safety and contiguous routes for bicyclists and pedestrians. Safety considerations may include the installation of audible traffic signals and signs at street crossings.

Policy and Program Provisions:

State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators

Each State is required to fund a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator position in its State Department of Transportation to promote and facilitate the increased use of non-motorized transportation, including developing facilities for the use of pedestrians and bicyclists, and public educational, promotional, and safety programs for using such facilities. Funds such as the CMAQ or STP may be used for the Federal share of the cost of these positions. In many States, the Coordinator is a full-time position with sufficient responsibility to deal effectively with other agencies, State offices, and divisions within the State DOT.

Protection of Non-Motorized Transportation Traffic

The Secretary shall not approve any project or take any regulatory action that will result in the severance of an existing major route, or have an adverse impact on the safety of non-motorized transportation traffic and light motorcycles, unless such project or regulatory action provides for a reasonable alternate route or such a route already exists.

Users of A Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility

Motorized vehicles are not permitted on trails and pedestrian walkways except for maintenance purposes, motorized wheelchairs, and – when State or local regulations permit –snowmobiles and electric bicycles. Electric bicycles are defined for the purposes of the Act as a bicycle or tricycle with a low-powered electric motor weighing under 100 pounds with a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 miles per hour.

Facility Design Guidance:

The design of bicycle and pedestrian facilities is determined by State and local design standards and practices, many of which are based on publications of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) such as the Guide to the Development of Bicycle Facilities and A Policy on Geometric Design of Streets and Highways .

TEA-21 calls on the Federal Highway Administration to develop guidance on the various approaches to accommodating bicycle and pedestrian travel, in cooperation with AASHTO, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and other interested organizations. The guidance, was revised in February 2000. It encourages the inclusion of facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians as a routine practice.


When a highway bridge deck—on which bicyclists are permitted or may operate at each end of the bridge-—is being replaced or rehabilitated with Federal funds, safe accommodation of bicycles is required unless the Secretary of Transportation determines that this cannot be done at a reasonable cost.

Railway-Highway Crossings

When improvements to at-grade railway-highway crossings are being considered, bicycle safety must be taken into account.

Research, Special Studies, and Reports

TEA-21 continues funding for highway safety research (Section 403), the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) and Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), all of which have funded research into pedestrian and bicycle issues. In addition, the legislation creates a number of new research areas, special studies, reports, and grant programs including:

  • A new Surface Transportation-Environment Cooperative Research Program is established to evaluate transportation control measures, improve understanding of transportation demand factors, and develop performance indicators that will facilitate the analysis of transportation alternatives.
  • $500,000 is made available for the development of a national bicycle safety education curriculum.
  • $500,000 per year is made available for grants to a national not-for-profit organization engaged in promoting bicycle and pedestrian safety to operate a national clearinghouse, develop informational and educational programs, and disseminate techniques and strategies for improving bicycle and pedestrian safety.
  • $200,000 is made available for a study of the safety issues attendant to the transportation of school children to and from school and school-related activities by various transportation modes. Transportation Research Board is identified as the manager of the study, which must be done within 12 months and the panel conducting the study must include bicycling organizations. (Section 4030)
  • A study of transit needs in National Parks and related public lands includes a requirement that the study assess the feasibility of alternative transportation modes. (Section 3039)
  • The Bureau of Transportation Statistics is charged with establishing and maintaining a transportation data base for all modes of transportation that will include “information on the volumes and patterns of movement of people, including local, inter-regional, and international movements, by all modes of transportation (including bicycle and pedestrian modes) and intermodal combinations, by all relevant classifications. (Section 5109)


Bicycling and walking are important elements of an integrated, intermodal transportation system. Constructing sidewalks, installing bicycle parking at transit, teaching children to ride and walk safely, installing curb cuts and ramps for wheelchairs, striping bike lanes, and building trails all contribute to our national transportation goals of safety, mobility, economic growth and trade, enhancement of communities, the natural environment, and national security.

All of these activities, and many more, are eligible for funding as part of the Federal-aid Highway program. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century confirms the place of bicycling and walking in the mainstream of transportation decision-making at the State and local level and enables communities to encourage more people to bicycle and walk safely.

For More Information

1. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, PL-105-550. Available from the Government Printing Office or on-line at

2. Title 23, United States Code. Available from the Government Printing Office or your local library system.

3. Code of Federal Regulations, Part 652. Available from the Government Printing Office or your local library system.












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