How Does Federal Funding Impact Infrastucture for Biking and Walking?

Assessing the impact of federal funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure on regional, state and local policies

Since the 1990s, Congress has dramatically increased the funding available to state and metropolitan areas for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. States and metropolitan areas are free to decide how to spend these funds.

From 2006 to 2009, researchers from the University of California, Davis, analyzed spending of federal funds for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure across metropolitan regions nationwide and conducted case studies of policies and projects in six metropolitan areas. In two of those areas (Baltimore and Sacramento, Calif.), they also analyzed the impact of infrastructure investments on bicycling and walking behavior.

They found that making federal funding available for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure has resulted in an increase in bicycle and pedestrian projects across the United States (from $3.6 million in 1992 to $363 million in 2006), although more so in some regions than in others.

In addition, support from local governments and advocacy groups is a key driver of support for bicycle and pedestrian investments at the metropolitan region level.

Their findings resulted in a number of recommendations laid out in the report.