Georgia Bikes is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to develop and implement a Rural Statewide Active Transportation Plan. Funded by a $2.4 million Transportation Alternatives award from the Federal Highway Administration and $600,000 in GDOT matching funds, this will be the first phase of a robust statewide plan for bicycle and pedestrian transportation. The $3M grant award is the result of a successful application by project sponsor Georgia Bikes, the statewide nonprofit working to improve bicycling and walking.
“The Active Transportation Plan – the first of its kind in our state – will confront one of Georgia’s most serious roadway concerns: the disproportionate number of fatalities and injuries among people walking and bicycling,” said John Devine, AICP, Georgia Bikes Executive Director. “While this plan addresses issues related to rural travel, the project will also define a broader planning framework that GDOT will be able to extend to the rest of the state in future phases, as well as an in-depth examination of state-level policies related to bicycling and walking.”
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from 2020, Georgia is the eighth-most dangerous state for pedestrians, with a fatality rate of 2.61 per 100,000 residents. Additionally, the state ranks 46th for bicycle commuter safety with 23.2 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters. The Rural Statewide Active Transportation Plan will take steps to make walking and biking safer for people on Georgia’s roadways.
Data show the dangers of walking and bicycling on state routes, and the plan will seek to eliminate vulnerable road user fatalities along Georgia’s state-owned roadways. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association’s report issued in February 2023, Georgia saw a 4.35% increase in pedestrian fatalities from 2021 to 2022. Georgia’s most recent Bicycle-Friendly State report card, issued by the League of American Bicyclists in 2022, noted that “54% of cyclists killed in Georgia were killed on state DOT-owned roadways since 2015… Addressing safety on state-owned roadways is key to improving bicyclist safety in the state.” This partnership with GDOT is the first step in a proactive approach to combating vulnerable road user fatalities on Georgia’s state-owned roads and beyond.
The Rural Statewide Active Transportation Plan will generate input from people who already bike and walk in rural areas as well as individuals who would consider doing so if dedicated infrastructure existed. The public engagement process, along with creation and analysis of datasets relating to safety and demographics, will identify needs and opportunities unique to rural areas.
Further, the project will catalog gaps in funding sources and availability, and provide a thorough review of other states’ best practices for designing, funding, and building active transportation projects.
“This plan will establish a vision and implementation strategy to improve the safety and comfort levels of rural road users who haven’t benefited enough from the bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure that’s so popular in denser areas of Georgia,” Devine said. “It will map out a safe, connective network for rural roadway users, whether they walk, roll, or bike, and it will ensure safer roads for all Georgians.”
For more information about the grant award for Georgia’s Rural Statewide Active Transportation Plan, contact John Devine, AICP, Georgia Bikes Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Georgia Bikes, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.