The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 52-15 [Final (Synthesis)]

Measuring Investments in Active Transportation When Accomplished as Part of Other Transportation Projects
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/1/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jo Allen Gause
Research Agency: Toole Design Group
Principal Investigator: Kevin Luecke
Completion Date: 12/16/2021
Comments: Published as NCHRP Synthesis Report 596.
Fiscal Year: 2021

Final Scope


A variety of stakeholders and interested parties frequently ask state departments of transportation (DOTs) to provide data on active transportation project funding, such as bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Currently, DOTs do not use a uniform methodology for tracking these investments and may not track active transportation investments at all when they are accomplished alongside other non-active transportation-related improvements. This is problematic because DOTs often accomplish active transportation improvements as part of other projects to realize the efficiencies inherent in making changes across modes on a network at the same time.


As a result of the difficulty in tracking active transportation investments when the project is not 100% dedicated to active transportation, states may be underreporting their investments in active transportation. DOTs may use formulas or other methods to estimate a breakdown of project costs, and splitting the project costs of these improvements may represent an extra burden to contractors, engineers, and DOT staff. Some states may also report lane miles improved or added to the network. Accurate investment information would help DOTs better understand how to make projects more efficient and provide useful data to evaluate overall project performance.


The objective of this synthesis is to document the methods that DOTs are currently using to track and record their investments in active transportation infrastructure when accomplished as part of other projects.


Information gathered should include (but is not limited to):

·         Methods of DOT tracking and recording of active transportation project investments

·         Reasons state DOTs track investments (e.g. for reporting requirements, in response to citizens and legislative requests, performance measure attainment, to quantify the  impact on communities, long-term mode shifts, commutes, and public health)

·         Challenges DOTs face in tracking and recording investments

·         Identifying gaps in knowledge and research


Information will be collected through literature review, a survey of DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples.  Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.


Information Sources (Partial):

  • Bushell, M. A., et al. (November 2013). Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements: A Resource for Researchers, Engineers, Planners and the General Public.  https://www.pedbikeinfo.org/cms/downloads/Countermeasure%20Costs_Report_Nov2013.pdf.
  • Gotschi, T. (January 2011). Costs and Benefits of Bicycling Investments in Portland, Oregon. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Vol. 8, Issue: Suppl. 1. Human Kinetics, Incorporated. P.p. S49-S58. 1/2011. https://trid.trb.org/View/1116425.
  • Raith, A., et al. (September 28-30, 2011). Australasian Transport Research Forum 2011 Proceedings.  Adelaide, Australia. https://www.atrf.info/papers/2011/2011_Raith_Nataraj_Ehrgott_Miller_Pauw.pdf.
  • FHWA. (2016). Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures. Document FHWA-HEP-16-037.
  • Transportation Research Board and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. NCHRP Synthesis Report 558: Availability and Use of Pedestrian Infrastructure Data to Support Active Transportation Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25995.

Topic Panel
Joseph Crabtree, Kentucky Transportation Center
Amber Dallman, Minnesota Department of Transportation
Marie Heidemann, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Jason Schronce, North Carolina Department of Transportation
Derek Shooster, Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Tamara Redmon, Federal Highway Administration
Claire Randall, Transportation Research Board







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