Friday, June 19, 2009

The Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009

Thanks to Ellen Zavisca for sharing this excerpt:

Improve Livability and Environmental Sustainability of Communities

Providing transportation choices and creating livable communities is essential to improving mobility for all users and ensuring that the transportation system enhances our quality of life. Expanding access to sustainable modes of transportation, and incorporating long-term mobility needs into the community planning process will yield significant benefits for public health and the environment.

To provide national leadership for the creation of livable communities and the developmentof sustainable transportation choices, the Surface Transportation Authorization Act creates an Office of Livability within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of DOT.

The Office of Livability will establish a focal point within FHWA to advance environmentally sustainable modes of transportation, including transit, walking, and bicycling. This Office will encourage integrated planning, linking land use and transportation planning, to support the creation of livable communities. To ensure that roadways are built with the needs of all users in mind, the Surface Transportation Authorization Act requires that States and metropolitan regions consider comprehensive street design principles. Comprehensive street design takes into account the needs of all users, including motorists, motorcyclists, transit riders, cyclists, pedestrians, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities. Comprehensive street design principles are not prescriptive,do not mandate any particular design elements, and result in greatly varied facilities depending on the specific needs of the community in which they are located.

The Surface Transportation Authorization Act transforms the current transportation
planning process by linking transportation planning with greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with DOT, will establish national transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. DOT, under the existing transportation planning process, will require States and metropolitan regions to develop surface transportation-related greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and incorporate strategies to meet these targets into their transportation plans. DOT, through performance measures, will verify that States and metropolitan areas achieve progress towards national transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions reduction

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