On September 26, 2013, Governor Brown signed legislation creating the Active Transportation Program (ATP) in the Department of Transportation (Senate Bill 99, Chapter 359, and Assembly Bill 101, Chapter 354). The Active Transportation Program consolidates various state and federal transportation programs, including the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA), and State Safe Routes to School (SR2S) into a single program. Guidelines were adopted by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in March 2014. See the Active Transportation Program section below for more details. Readers are encouraged to consult technical experts, attorneys and/or relevant regulatory authorities for up-to-date information and advice on specific situations.
Cities, counties and schools can take advantage of a variety of opportunities to fund active transportation in the community. Scroll down for a brief description of each and then proceed to each topic’s individual page.
Development Impact Fees
Local Sales Tax Measures
Regional, State and Federal Grants and Funding Programs:
Active Transportation Program
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program
Environmental Justice and Community-Based Transportation Planning Grants
With sufficient revenues cities and counties can allocate general funds for various purposes. Direct allocations from special revenue funds can apply to physical improvements like sidewalk inspections and repairs, which support safer walking and bicycling environments.
Development (or developer) agreements are contracts between developers and local governments that dictate what amenities the developer will provide for new developments. These amenities are intended to benefit the local community and minimize local government expenses. Examples of required amenities include sidewalks, streets and parks.
Development impact fees are fees imposed on a developer by a local government subject to a nexus requirement. Meaning, the purpose of the fee must be related to and proportional to the impacts of the proposed development.
In California, local sales tax measures make up a significant portion of revenues for roads and transit. These revenues could be leveraged to enhance bicyclists and pedestrians infrastructure. Additionally, special voter-approved taxes can be used to specifically fund active transportation projects.
Parking pricing refers to a subset of parking standards that generate revenue. This revenue can be directed to a general fund or it can be earmarked to help improve and/or encourage alternative transportation. The most common example of parking pricing is metered parking.
California school districts have the authority to ask voters to approve local bond measures and levy property taxes. Bonds typically address facilities improvements, which may include active transportation infrastructure. By ensuring the bond measure includes language addressing safe routes to school or active transportation, some of those funds can address pedestrian and bicyclist needs such as bike racks and pathways to and through the campus.
On September 26, 2013, Governor Brown signed legislation creating the Active Transportation Program (ATP) in the Department of Transportation (Senate Bill 99, Chapter 359, and Assembly Bill 101, Chapter 354). The Active Transportation Program consolidates various state and federal transportation programs, including the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA), and State Safe Routes to School (SR2S) into a single program. The Active Transportation Program is administered by the Division of Local Assistance, Office of Active Transportation and Special Programs. Draft guidelines for the program were released on November 25, 2013, for adoption by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in March 2014. This section describes the provisions of the three programs that are being combined into the Active Transportation Program. This information will be updated once the CTC guidelines for the combined program have been adopted.
The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program directs funds to transportation projects and programs which contribute to the attainment or maintenance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards in nonattainment or air quality maintenance areas for ozone, carbon monoxide, or particulate matter under provisions in the Federal Clean Air Act.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) administers the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a core federal-aid program. The purpose of the Highway Safety Improvement Program is to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads, including non-State-owned public roads and roads on tribal land, and rural roadways functionally classified as a rural major or minor collector, or rural local road.
Surface Transportation Program (RSTP) funds are distributed
through Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Regional
Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs) to eligible projects
that may include safe routes to school or other related active
transportation, bicycle and pedestrian projects bicycle and
pedestrian, among other transit and transportation improvement
projects and programs.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS and SR2S) programs are a suite of programs and awards that seek to increase the safety and number of children walking and bicycling to school. Both the Federal Highway Administration and Caltrans provide Safe Routes to School awards.
Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is a multi-year
capital improvement program resource management document to
assist the State and local entities to plan and implement
transportation improvements and to utilize resources in a cost
effective manner. Safe routes to school projects or other related
active transportation, bicycle and pedestrian projects may be
eligible for inclusion in the state transportation improvement
The California Strategic Growth Council administers Sustainable Communities Planning Grants, which are available to local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and some other organizations. These grants seek to foster sustainable communities in California.
Transportation alternatives are a type of federal funding for local transportation improvement. These alternatives are intended to expand travel choices and improve local economies. In order to be eligible, projects must relate to surface transportation and must fall under at least one of 12 eligible categories. Bicycle/pedestrian facilities as well as safety and educational programs for bicyclists/pedestrians are covered by transportation alternatives.
Due to the built-out nature of California’s urban areas,
the California Strategic Growth Council gives out Urban Greening
Grants, which provide funds to preserve, enhance, increase or
establish community green areas.