Finding Sustainable Funding

Needs prioritization and funding criteria

The rules and criteria used to establish agency priorities should ensure that good bicycle projects compete well for funding. This requires careful writing of internal rating criteria used to create "needs lists" and select projects for funding. Good language ensures bicycle funding is a "mainstream" activity that competes on equal footing with other modes.

Routine accommodation

Construction of bicycle infrastructure as part of normal public and private development, and the adaptation of good traffic management practices are known as "routine accommodation." Routine accommodation is the most cost effective funding strategy for encouraging more bicycling and walking. It will result in significant improvements, over time, even if there is no special funding available for bicycle improvements.

Combined projects

It is often advantageous to group smaller projects with an existing project. Funding improvements as part of larger projects creates economies of scale that results in reduced costs and reduced impacts to traffic, businesses, and residents. For example, if there is an existing road project, it is usually cheaper to add bike lanes and sidewalks to the project than to construct them separately.

Dedicated funds

Dedicated funds are important for addressing high crash locations, corridors and other targeted areas immediately. They can also be used to fund trail, sidewalk and spot safety programs. They can be in the form of set asides that are either a percentage of a larger fund (e.g. Percent of Surface Transportation Program) or an independent funding source (e.g., resource tax, real estate excise funds, developer mitigation funds, etc.).

Environmental impact statements (EISs)

The EIS process is an effective means for ensuring that bicycle considerations are included in all major public and private projects, particularly in shoreline areas. The key words are "mitigation" and "restoration". Bicycle improvements can frequently be included in a project as mitigation for environmental damage resulting from a particular project. Sidewalks, wheelchair ramps, trails and street improvements can be required as a restoration requirement when projects involve installing pipelines, conduit and other utilities that require digging linear trenches along public rights-of-way. Agencies can make sure these improvements are included as part of the EIS approval by working on the development of the document and providing comments on the first draft.