[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 161 (Friday, August 19, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52046-52053]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-21273]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration

[Docket No: FTA-2009-0052]


Final Policy Statement on the Eligibility of Pedestrian and 
Bicycle Improvements Under Federal Transit Law

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Final policy statement.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) hereby establishes a 
formal policy on the eligibility of pedestrian and bicycle improvements 
for FTA funding and defines the catchment area for pedestrians and 
bicyclists in relation to public transportation stops and stations.

DATES: Effective Date: The effective date of this final policy 
statement is August 19, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Availability of the Final Policy Statement and Comments: One 
may access this final policy statement, the proposed policy statement, 
and public comments on the proposed policy statement at docket number 
FTA-2009-0052. For access to the docket, please visit http://www.regulations.gov or the Docket Operations office located in the West 
Building of the United States Department of Transportation, Room W12-
140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. 
and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jayme L. Blakesley at 
jayme.blakesley@dot.gov or Matthew Lesh at matthew.lesh@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The purpose of this notice is to simplify the process for 
determining whether a pedestrian or bicycle improvement qualifies for 
FTA funding by defining a radius around a public transportation stop or 
station within which FTA will consider pedestrian and bicycle 
improvements to have a de facto functional relationship to public 
transportation. For the reasons outlined in this Policy Statement, and 
for purposes of determining whether a pedestrian or bicycle improvement 
has a physical or functional relationship to public transportation, all 
pedestrian improvements located within one-half mile and all bicycle 
improvements located within three miles of a public transportation stop 
or station shall have a de facto physical and functional relationship 
to public transportation. Pedestrian and bicycle improvements beyond 
these distances may be eligible for FTA funding by demonstrating that 
the improvement is within the distance that people will travel by foot 
or by bicycle to use a particular stop or station.

II. Background

    Walking, bicycling, and public transportation are complementary 
modes of transportation: many people access public transportation by 
walking a short distance; others arrive by bicycle. The success of 
public transportation can often be limited by poor ``first and last 
mile'' access to the system. Further, safe walking and bicycling access 
can be important inducements to using public transportation. Thus, it 
is essential to develop safe, secure, and appropriate pedestrian and 
bicycle infrastructure if the users of public transportation are to

[[Page 52047]]

have safe, convenient, and practical access routes to, as well as 
appropriate amenities to enhance the utility of, public transportation 
systems across the country.
    Adequate sidewalks, pathways, and roadway crossings in the area 
around public transportation access points and amenities such as 
benches, shelters, and lighting at stops and stations are important for 
pedestrian comfort and safety. The most successful and useful public 
transportation systems have safe and convenient pedestrian access and 
provide comfortable waiting areas, all of which encourage greater 
use.\1\ Well-connected sidewalks should be installed in all areas with 
regular public transportation service so that public transportation 
patrons will not be forced to walk in the street while traveling to or 
from a stop or station. Additionally, roadway crossings should be made 
safer with an appropriate combination of facilities, such as marked 
crosswalks, median crossing islands, warning signs, and pedestrian 
signals.\2\
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    \1\ Pedestrian Safety Guide for Transit Agencies, Federal 
Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation, 
February 2008.
    \2\ Pedestrian Safety Guide for Transit Agencies, Federal 
Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation, 
February 2008.
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    Distances beyond the ``walkshed'' of public transportation stops 
and stations may, in fact, be within the range of a short bicycle trip. 
Indeed, as one author stated, ``[bicycles] are the perfect 
transportation choice for a short one- to three-mile trip to and from a 
transit station.'' \3\ Providing secure parking and other amenities for 
bicycles and cyclists at public transportation stops or stations can be 
less expensive than providing parking for automobiles. Access to public 
transportation allows bicyclists the opportunity to make longer trips. 
Further, where physical conditions prevent a continuous bicycle trip, 
public transportation can provide a link to previously inaccessible 
destinations.
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    \3\ Andrea White-Kjoss, Building Multimodal Transit Facilities: 
The One Clear Step toward the New Transportation Paradigm, Mass 
Transit, July/August 2009, at 36-37.
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    A community's design, including the layout of the roads, public 
transportation systems, and walkways, has a huge impact on its 
residents. A ``livable community'' may promote quality of life, 
economic development, and social equity. As Secretary of Transportation 
Ray LaHood noted, a ``livable community'' is ``a community where if 
people don't want an automobile, they don't have to have one; a 
community where you can walk to work, your doctor's appointment, 
pharmacy or grocery store. Or you could take light rail, a bus, or ride 
a bike.'' \4\ As the Secretary further described, ``livable communities 
are mixed-use neighborhoods with highly-connected streets promoting 
mobility for all users, whether they are children walking or biking to 
school or commuters riding transit or driving motor vehicles. Benefits 
include improved traffic flow, shorter trip lengths, safer streets for 
pedestrians and cyclists, lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced 
dependence on fossil fuels, increased trip-chaining, and independence 
for those who prefer not to or are unable to drive. In addition, 
investing in a `complete street' concept stimulates private-sector 
economic activity by increasing the viability of street-level retail 
small businesses and professional services, creating housing 
opportunities and extending the usefulness of school and transit 
facilities.'' \5\ As one leading scholar noted, ``Pedestrian and 
bicycle traffic use fewer resources and affect the environment less 
than any other form of transport.'' \6\ If we are to create livable 
communities, ``the range of transportation choices available to all 
Americans--including transit, walking, bicycling, and improved 
connectivity for various modes--must be expanded.'' \7\
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    \4\ Christie Findlay, Living in a Post-Car World, AARP Bulletin, 
October 1, 2009.
    \5\ Statement of Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, before 
the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, United States 
Senate Hearing on Greener Communities, Greater Opportunities: New 
Ideas for Sustainable Development and Economic Growth (June 16, 
2009).
    \6\ Jan Gehl, Cities for People 105 (2010).
    \7\ Statement of Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, before 
the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate 
Hearing on Greener Communities, Greater Opportunities: New Ideas for 
Sustainable Development and Economic Growth (June 16, 2009).
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III. United States Department of Transportation Policy

    On March 15, 2010, the United States Department of Transportation 
(DOT or the Department) issued a Policy Statement on Bicycle and 
Pedestrian Accommodations.\8\ The statement expressed ``support for * * 
* the establishment of well-connected walking and bicycling networks'' 
and recommended actions to encourage active transportation networks. 
According to the Policy Statement, ``walking and bicycling foster 
safer, more livable, family-friendly communities; promote physical 
activity and health; and reduce vehicle emissions and fuel use.'' The 
Department's policy is ``to incorporate safe and convenient walking and 
bicycling facilities into transportation projects.''
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    \8\ United States Department of Transportation, Policy Statement 
on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and 
Recommendations, March 15, 2010, available at http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/bicycle-ped.html.
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IV. Planning Requirements

    The joint planning regulations of FTA and the Federal Highway 
Administration (FHWA) require States and metropolitan planning 
organizations to integrate pedestrian and bicycle facilities into all 
transportation plans and improvement programs. Pedestrians and 
bicyclists must be provided with a reasonable opportunity to comment on 
long-range statewide transportation plans and metropolitan 
transportation master plans.\9\
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    \9\ Federal Transit Law, Title 49, Chapter 53, United States 
Code, encourages states and metropolitan areas to develop innovative 
transportation plans and programs which better integrate public 
transportation, bicycle facilities, pedestrian walkways, and other 
modes of travel into the existing transportation system. To this 
end, the statewide transportation plan and the transportation 
improvement program developed for each state must ``provide for the 
development and integrated management and operation of 
transportation systems and facilities (including accessible 
pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities) that will 
function as an intermodal transportation system.'' 49 U.S.C. 
5304(a)(2). Similarly, the plans and transportation improvement 
programs (TIP) of all metropolitan areas must ``provide for the 
integrated management and operation of transportation systems and 
facilities (including accessible pedestrian walkways and bicycle 
transportation facilities).'' 49 U.S.C. 5303(c)(2). Moreover, when 
preparing long-range statewide transportation plans and 
transportation master plan, each state and metropolitan planning 
organization (MPO) must provide a reasonable opportunity to comment 
to the ``representatives of users of public transportation, 
representatives of users of pedestrian walkways and bicycle 
transportation facilities,'' among others. 49 U.S.C. 5303(i)(5) and 
5304(f)(3).
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V. Eligibility of Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements for FTA Funding

    Most grant programs administered by FTA may be used to fund the 
design, construction, and maintenance of pedestrian and bicycle 
projects that enhance or are related to public transportation 
facilities. Improvements made expressly eligible by statute include 
capital projects like pedestrian and bicycle access to a public 
transportation facility;\10\ and transit enhancements like pedestrian 
access, walkways, and bicycle access, including bicycle storage 
facilities and equipment for transporting bicycles on public 
transportation vehicles.\11\ Additionally, certain funding programs 
administered by FHWA, including the Surface Transportation Program 
(STP) and the

[[Page 52048]]

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program, may be used for 
public transportation purposes. Once transferred to FTA for a public 
transportation purpose, these ``flexible'' funds are administered as 
FTA funds and take on all the eligibility and requirements of the FTA 
program to which they are transferred, except for the Federal share, 
which remains that required under the FHWA program.\12\ The following 
is a description of the eligibility requirements for pedestrian and 
bicycle improvements under Federal Transit Law.
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    \10\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(1)(g).
    \11\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(15)(f).
    \12\ 49 U.S.C. 5334(i).
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A. Capital Projects

    An FTA grantee may use any of the following programs under Title 
49, Chapter 53, of the United States Code to fund capital projects for 
pedestrian and bicycle access to a public transportation facility:
    Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Program;
    Section 5309 New Starts and Small Starts Major Capital Investment 
Programs;
    Section 5309 Fixed Guideway Modernization Program;
    Section 5309 Bus and Bus Facilities Discretionary Program;
    Section 5310 Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities 
Formula Program;
    Section 5311 Non-Urbanized Area Formula Program;
    Section 5311 Public Transportation on Indian Reservations;
    Section 5316 Job Access and Reverse Commute Formula Program;
    Section 5317 New Freedom Program; and,
    Section 5320 Paul S. Sarbanes Alternative Transportation in Parks 
and Public Lands.
    Federal Transit Law defines the term ``capital project'' to mean, 
among other things, ``a public transportation improvement that enhances 
economic development or incorporates private investment, including * * 
* pedestrian and bicycle access to a [public] transportation 
facility.'' \13\
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    \13\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(1)(G).
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    This eligibility is not without restrictions.\14\ Pedestrian and 
bicycle projects made eligible under the definition of ``capital 
project'' must satisfy additional statutory criteria, including 
requirements to enhance economic development or incorporate private 
investment; to enhance the effectiveness of public transportation 
project and relate physically or functionally to that project, or to 
establish new or enhanced coordination between public transportation 
and other transportation; and to provide a fair share of revenue for 
public transportation.\15\
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    \14\ Note: The restrictions described in this paragraph do not 
apply to projects funded under 49 U.S.C. 5320, Paul S. Sarbanes 
Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands. Alternative 
transportation expressly includes activities that provide ``a 
nonmotorized transportation system (including the provision of 
facilities for pedestrians, bicycles, and nonmotorized 
watercraft).''
    \15\ For more information, see FTA's February 7, 2007 guidance 
on the Eligibility of Joint Development Projects under Federal 
Transit Law at 72 FR 5788.
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B. Transit Enhancement Activities

    One percent of FTA's Urbanized Area Formula program funds 
apportioned to urbanized areas with populations of at least 200,000 are 
set aside for transit enhancements. Eligible transit enhancement 
projects include pedestrian access and walkways, bicycle access, 
bicycle storage facilities, and installing equipment for transporting 
bicycles on public transportation vehicles.\16\ As an added incentive, 
the Federal share of transit enhancement grants covers 90 percent of 
the cost of the project.\17\ If the project involves providing bicycle 
access to public transportation, the grant or portion of that grant may 
be at a Federal share of 95 percent.\18\
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    \16\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(15).
    \17\ 49 U.S.C. 5319.
    \18\ 49 U.S.C. 5319.
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VI. Response to Public Comments

    FTA received approximately 159 comments on its Proposed Policy 
Statement on the Eligibility of Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements 
under Federal Transit Law. Of those 159 comments, 46 comments were 
filed after the January 12, 2010 deadline. Only three of those comments 
were filed after January 15, 2010, with the final comment being filed 
on March 9, 2010. FTA has considered all comments submitted to the 
docket on or before June 1, 2011.
    The commenters represent a broad spectrum of stakeholders 
throughout the United States, including the New York Metropolitan 
Transportation Authority, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit 
Authority, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the City of 
Dallas, the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago, the Tri-County 
Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, the Center for Transit-
Oriented Development, the American Public Transportation Association, 
the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Association of 
Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Smart Growth America, the 
National Complete Streets Coalition, and the Bicycle Transportation 
Alliance. Numerous other State governments, local governments, 
metropolitan planning organizations, trade associations, and 
individuals commented on the Proposed Policy Statement.
    In this section, FTA responds to public comments in the following 
topical order: (A) General Comments; (B) The Pedestrian Catchment Area; 
(C) The Bicycle Catchment Area; (D) Funding Issues; (E) FTA's Capital 
Investment Grants Program; (F) Access to Public Transportation for 
Individuals With Disabilities; (G) Eligible Activities; (H) Bicycle 
Sharing Programs; (I) Planning Issues; (J) Safety Concerns; (K) Bicycle 
Improvements in Rural Areas; (L) Research Issues; (M) Public Health 
Issues; (N) Carpooling and Ridesharing Initiatives; (O) The HUD-DOT-EPA 
Partnership for Sustainable Communities; (P) Park-and-Ride Lots; (Q) 
Continuing Control Issues; and, (R) Miscellaneous Comments. Several 
commenters raised issues that are outside the scope of FTA's Proposed 
Policy Statement, and FTA does not address those concerns in this Final 
Policy Statement.

A. General Comments

    The majority of commenters expressed overwhelming support for FTA's 
Proposed Policy Statement. Many commenters generally indicated that, 
through the Proposed Policy Statement, FTA was taking a positive step 
towards fostering the development and the sustainability of livable 
communities.
    FTA Response: FTA appreciates the support for the Proposed Policy 
Statement. As discussed above, by considering pedestrian improvements 
located within one-half mile and bicycle improvements located within 
three miles of a public transportation stop or station to have a de 
facto physical and functional relationship to public transportation, 
individuals will benefit from improved traffic flow, shorter trip 
lengths, safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists, lower greenhouse 
gas emissions, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, increased trip-
chaining, increased overall health, and independence for individuals 
who prefer not to or are unable to drive. Additionally, pedestrian and 
bicycle improvements benefit local economies by increasing activity 
that supports street-level retail.

B. The Pedestrian Catchment Area

    The majority of commenters supported FTA's proposal to create a de 
facto public transportation stop or

[[Page 52049]]

station radius of one-half mile for purposes of determining whether a 
pedestrian improvement has a physical or functional relationship to 
public transportation. Additionally, the majority of commenters 
supported FTA's proposal to make pedestrian improvements beyond this 
threshold eligible for FTA funding if the improvement is within the 
distance that people could be expected to safely and conveniently walk 
to use the particular stop or station.
    Some commenters suggested that FTA should expand the pedestrian 
catchment radius to encompass more than one-half mile. Some commenters 
suggested that FTA use a one mile pedestrian catchment area or a two 
mile pedestrian catchment area. To support the expansion of the 
pedestrian catchment area, the majority of these commenters made 
general statements that some studies indicate pedestrians travel at 
speeds of three miles per hour, and consequently, pedestrians can cover 
more distance than one-half mile during a fifteen minute walk. Some 
commenters also made general statements that some studies indicate the 
majority of pedestrians are willing to walk more than one-half mile to 
reach a public transportation stop or station.
    Some commenters expressed concerns with FTA's proposed use of a de 
facto ``radial distance'' from a public transportation stop or station 
to measure whether a pedestrian improvement has a physical or 
functional relationship to the stop or station. These commenters 
suggested that FTA use a ``street network radius'' whereby FTA would 
measure one-half mile of actual street walking, while considering 
factors such as density, weather patterns, and physical obstructions 
surrounding stops and stations, to determine the eligibility of a 
pedestrian improvement. These commenters asserted that the 
determination of whether a physical or functional relationship exists 
varies greatly under the widely divergent circumstances of a local 
transportation system, and that the relationship should not be mileage-
based, but rather, it should be based on a case-by-case analysis.
    FTA Response: FTA appreciates the support for the creation of the 
de facto one-half mile pedestrian catchment area and for its proposal 
to make pedestrian improvements beyond the one-half mile threshold 
eligible for FTA funding if the improvement is within the distance that 
people could be expected to safely and conveniently walk to use the 
particular stop or station.
    For purposes of the Final Policy Statement, FTA believes that a 
conservative, one-half mile de facto catchment area is appropriate. As 
discussed above, recent research indicates that: (1) Pedestrians walk 
at a pace of approximately two miles per hour, and (2) pedestrians 
generally are willing to walk approximately fifteen minutes to reach a 
public transportation stop or station.\19\ Accordingly, pedestrians 
generally are able to walk a distance of approximately one-half mile 
during a fifteen minute walk at a two mile per hour pace. Based on this 
information, FTA hereby establishes a one-half mile de facto pedestrian 
catchment area. This de facto catchment area will simplify the process 
of determining whether a pedestrian improvement is eligible for FTA 
funding. Moreover, FTA will measure one-half mile using a ``radial 
distance'' because the radial method further simplifies these 
determinations.
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    \19\ Schlossberg, M. et al., How Far, By Which Route, and Why? A 
Spatial Analysis of Pedestrian Reference, Mineta Transportation 
Institute, June 2007. See L.M. Besser and A.L. Dannenberg, Walking 
to Public Transit: Steps to Help Meet Physical Activity 
Recommendations, Am. J. Prev. Med., November 2005, at 273.
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    FTA notes that the majority of the commenters who proposed a 
catchment area beyond one-half mile did not offer citations to specific 
studies which lend support to their proposals. Notwithstanding this 
fact, FTA acknowledges that, in some localities, pedestrians are 
willing to spend up to thirty minutes walking to a public 
transportation stop or station.\20\ FTA supports investments in 
pedestrian projects beyond the de facto catchment area. Therefore, FTA 
hereby makes eligible for funding pedestrian improvements beyond the 
one-half mile catchment area if the improvement is within the distance 
that people could be expected to safely and conveniently walk to use 
the particular stop or station. This policy will allow investments in 
pedestrian improvements well beyond the one-half mile catchment area, 
and it will account for the variety of factors in any given locality 
that may impact an individual's ability to reach a public 
transportation stop or station by walking.
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    \20\ See L.M. Besser and A.L. Dannenberg, Walking to Public 
Transit: Steps to Help Meet Physical Activity Recommendations, Am. 
J. Prev. Med., November 2005, at 273.
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C. The Bicycle Catchment Area

    The majority of commenters supported FTA's proposal to create a de 
facto public transportation stop or station radius of three miles for 
purposes of determining whether a bicycle improvement has a physical or 
functional relationship to public transportation. Additionally, the 
majority of commenters supported FTA's proposal to make bicycle 
improvements beyond this threshold eligible for FTA funding if the 
improvement is within the distance that people could be expected to 
safely and conveniently bike to use the particular stop or station.
    Some commenters suggested that FTA should expand the bicycle 
catchment radius to encompass more than three miles. Some commenters 
suggested that FTA use a four mile, a five mile, or a six mile bicycle 
catchment area. The majority of these commenters did not offer a 
rationale for these suggestions. However, some commenters referred to 
various studies which indicate that bicyclists travel at average speeds 
of twelve to fifteen miles per hour, and they therefore can cover more 
distance than three miles during a fifteen minute bicycle ride.
    Some commenters expressed concerns with FTA's proposed use of a de 
facto radial distance from a public transportation stop or station to 
measure whether a bicycle improvement has a physical or functional 
relationship to the stop or station. These commenters suggested that 
FTA use a ``street network radius'' whereby FTA would measure three 
miles of actual bicycling while considering factors such as density, 
weather patterns, and physical obstructions surrounding stops and 
stations, to determine the eligibility of a bicycle improvement. These 
commenters asserted that the determination of whether a physical or 
functional relationship exists varies greatly under the widely 
divergent circumstances of a local transportation system, and that the 
relationship should not be mileage-based, but rather, it should be 
based on a case-by-case analysis.
    Finally, some commenters suggested, without rationale, that FTA 
should limit bicycle improvements only to areas where transit-oriented 
development is likely.
    FTA Response: FTA appreciates the support for the creation of the 
de facto three mile bicycle catchment area. FTA also appreciates the 
support for its proposal to make bicycle improvements beyond the three 
mile threshold eligible for FTA funding if the improvement is within 
the distance that people could be expected to safely and conveniently 
bike to use the particular stop or station.
    For purposes of the Final Policy Statement, FTA believes that a 
conservative, three mile de facto catchment area is appropriate. As 
discussed above, recent research indicates that: (1) Bicyclists can 
ride at

[[Page 52050]]

a pace of approximately ten miles per hour in almost any environment, 
and (2) bicyclists generally are willing to bike at least fifteen 
minutes to reach a public transportation stop or station.\21\ 
Accordingly, bicyclists can cover at least three miles during a fifteen 
minute bicycle ride at a pace of ten miles per hour. Consequently, FTA 
hereby establishes a three mile de facto bicycle catchment area. This 
de facto catchment area will simplify the process of determining 
whether a bicycle improvement is eligible for FTA funding. Moreover, 
FTA will measure three miles using a ``radial distance'' because the 
radial method further simplifies these determinations and avoids the 
complex decision-making that a ``street network radius'' would foster.
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    \21\ League of American Bicyclists. Retrieved From: http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/commuters.php. See Kevin J. 
Krizek, Ann Forsyth and Laura Baum, Walking and Cycling 
International Literature Review, Victoria Department of Transport, 
2009, at 18.
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    FTA acknowledges that, in some circumstances, bicyclists travel at 
higher speeds may be willing to spend more than fifteen minutes biking 
to a public transportation stop or station. FTA supports investments in 
bicycle projects beyond the de facto catchment area. Therefore, FTA 
hereby makes eligible for funding bicycle improvements beyond the three 
mile catchment area if the improvement is within the distance that 
people could be expected to safely and conveniently bike to use the 
particular stop or station. This policy will allow investments in 
bicycle improvements well beyond the three mile catchment area, and it 
will account for the variety of factors in any given locality that may 
impact an individual's ability to reach a public transportation stop or 
station by biking.

D. Funding Issues

    In light of FTA's Proposed Policy Statement, numerous commenters 
expressed a need for additional Federal funding for pedestrian and 
bicycle improvements. Some commenters expressed a need for increased 
Federal funding for (1) capital projects, (2) the Surface 
Transportation Program, and (3) the CMAQ Program. These commenters 
asserted that, through the increased funding, local communities could 
implement livability initiatives, create jobs, and maintain pedestrian 
and bicycle projects in a state of good repair.
    Some commenters suggested that Congress should establish a 
dedicated funding source for pedestrian and bicycle projects, such as a 
formula funding program. These commenters asserted that, through a 
formula funding program, recipients of Federal transportation funds 
would not have to weigh the needs of competing projects when making 
local planning decisions. Other commenters suggested that Congress 
should provide a short-term operating subsidy to FTA's grantees to 
support pedestrian and bicycle projects.
    Some commenters suggested various methods of raising revenues to 
support increased funding in pedestrian and bicycle projects. Some 
commenters suggested that Congress should raise the Federal gas tax to 
raise revenues. Other commenters suggested that the Department should 
encourage road pricing throughout the United States so that local 
governments could finance pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
    FTA Response: FTA supports additional funding for pedestrian and 
bicycle improvements. Indeed, recent research indicates a significant 
disparity between the percentage of pedestrian and bicycle trips in the 
United States and the amount of Federal transportation funding for 
those trips. Approximately 10 percent of all trips are by foot or by 
bicycle nationwide, however, these modes receive only 1 percent of the 
total amount of transportation funding at the Federal level.\22\ To 
remedy this disparity, FTA supports the expansion of funding sources, 
such as the Surface Transportation Program and the CMAQ Program. FTA 
agrees that, through an increase in Federal funding, local communities 
could implement livability initiatives, create jobs, and maintain 
pedestrian and bicycle projects in a state of good repair.
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    \22\ Alliance for Biking and Walking, Bicycling and Walking in 
the United States: 2010 Benchmarking Report, 2010, at 16, 78.
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    FTA notes that a purpose of this Final Policy Statement is to 
provide flexibility to recipients of Federal funds so that they can use 
those funds when alternative funding sources are insufficient to 
support pedestrian and bicycle projects. These planning and funding 
decisions take place at the local level, and the burden is on transit 
agencies and project sponsors to coordinate and identify funding 
priorities.
    Finally, in response to comments that Congress should raise the 
Federal gas tax or that the Department should encourage road pricing to 
support funding for pedestrian and bicycle improvements, FTA notes that 
Congress is in the process of developing a surface transportation 
reauthorization bill. That bill will establish surface transportation 
priorities and funding sources to support those priorities. FTA is 
currently working with Congress in an effort to develop these 
priorities and identify potential funding sources for the next 
reauthorization legislation.

E. FTA's Capital Investment Grants Program

    Many commenters identified potential issues with the Proposed 
Policy Statement as it relates to FTA's Capital Investment Grants 
Program at 49 U.S.C. 5309, commonly referred to as FTA's ``New Starts'' 
Program. These commenters expressed concerns with FTA's method of 
calculating the cost-effectiveness of a New Starts project. These 
commenters asserted that an investment in a pedestrian or bicycle 
component of a New Starts project would increase capital costs and 
thereby potentially decrease the project's cost-effectiveness. These 
commenters suggested that FTA re-evaluate its method for calculating 
cost-effectiveness so that project sponsors may capture the benefits of 
a pedestrian or bicycle project--such as decreased carbon emissions--
and account for the return that applicants would receive on their 
investment.
    FTA Response: FTA appreciates the comments that it received on the 
relationship between the Proposed Policy Statement and the New Starts 
program. FTA acknowledges that major capital projects, such as those 
funded by the New Starts program, benefit from pedestrian and bicycle 
improvements and that, historically, these improvements may have 
adversely affected the ability for a project to remain cost effective.
    For this reason and others, FTA has revisited its New Starts 
evaluation criteria. On June 3, 2010, FTA issued an Advanced Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking which sought public comments regarding its New 
Starts and Small Starts project justification criteria.\23\ In 
particular, FTA sought public input on how to improve its calculation 
of ``cost effectiveness'' and whether FTA should measure quantifiable 
benefits other than reduced travel time. Additionally, FTA sought 
public comments on how it should evaluate environmental benefits and 
economic development effects. FTA intends to issue a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking on this subject in the near future.
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    \23\ Federal Transit Administration, Advance Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking, Request for Comments on Major Capital Investment 
Projects, 75 FR 31383 (June 3, 2010).

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[[Page 52051]]

F. Access to Public Transportation for Individuals With Disabilities

    Many commenters expressed support for FTA's Proposed Policy 
Statement because they believed that, through pedestrian and bicycle 
improvements, individuals with disabilities will have better access to 
public transportation stops and stations. These commenters believed 
that the Proposed Policy Statement is an excellent ``complete streets'' 
initiative.
    Some commenters believed one of the benefits of the Proposed Policy 
Statement is that, with increased pedestrian and bicycle improvements, 
there will be a decreased need for paratransit service because public 
transportation stops and stations will become more accessible. They 
also noted that pedestrian and bicycle improvements are significantly 
less costly than paratransit service.
    Several commenters questioned whether the Proposed Policy Statement 
would impact any interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    FTA Response: FTA appreciates the comments that it received 
regarding the relationship between this Final Policy Statement and 
access to public transportation for individuals with disabilities. FTA 
agrees that, through pedestrian and bicycle improvements, individuals 
with disabilities will have better access to public transportation 
stops and stations. One of the purposes of this Final Policy Statement 
is to make fixed-route public transportation available and accessible 
to the largest number of individuals possible. Indeed, pedestrian and 
bicycle improvements will improve access to public transportation for 
all users, including individuals with disabilities.
    FTA notes that this Final Policy Statement will not impact any 
interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

G. Eligible Activities

    Several commenters expressed support for FTA's Proposed Policy 
Statement because, through the Policy Statement, FTA makes ``all'' 
pedestrian and bicycle improvements within the one-half mile radius and 
three mile radius eligible for Federal funding. Other commenters 
requested that FTA define the pedestrian and bicycle improvements that 
would be eligible for Federal funding under the Proposed Policy 
Statement. These commenters suggested that eligible activities should 
include bicycle parking and bicycle stations with storage rooms, 
bicycle lockers, changing rooms, and space for bicycle repair and 
rental shops.
    FTA Response: FTA appreciates the comments that it received 
regarding eligible activities. Indeed, as discussed in detail above and 
as indicated in the Final Policy below, ``[A]ll pedestrian improvements 
located within one-half mile and all bicycle improvements located 
within three miles of a public transportation stop or station shall 
have a de facto physical and functional relationship to public 
transportation.''
    More specifically, as discussed above, most grant programs 
administered by FTA may be used to fund the design, construction, and 
maintenance of pedestrian and bicycle projects that enhance or are 
related to public transportation facilities. Improvements made 
expressly eligible by statute include capital projects such as 
pedestrian and bicycle access to a public transportation facility,\24\ 
and transit enhancements such as pedestrian access, walkways, and 
bicycle access, including bicycle storage facilities and equipment for 
transporting bicycles on public transportation vehicles.\25\ 
Additionally, certain funding programs administered by FHWA, including 
the Surface Transportation Program and the CMAQ Program, may be used 
for public transportation purposes. Once transferred to FTA for a 
public transportation purpose, these ``flexible'' funds are 
administered as FTA funds and take on all the eligibility and 
requirements of the FTA program to which they are transferred, except 
for the Federal share, which remains that required under the FHWA 
program.
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    \24\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(1)(g).
    \25\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(15)(f).
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    FTA grantees may use any of the following programs to fund capital 
projects for pedestrian and bicycle access to a public transportation 
facility:
    Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Program;
    Section 5309 New Starts and Small Starts Major Capital Investment 
Programs;
    Section 5309 Fixed Guideway Modernization Program;
    Section 5309 Bus and Bus Facilities Discretionary Program;
    Section 5310 Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities 
Formula Program;
    Section 5311 Non-Urbanized Area Formula Program;
    Section 5311 Public Transportation on Indian Reservations;
    Section 5316 Job Access and Reverse Commute Formula Program;
    Section 5317 New Freedom Program; and
    Section 5320 Paul S. Sarbanes Alternative Transportation in Parks 
and Public Lands.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(1)(G), the term ``capital project'' 
means, among other things, ``a public transportation improvement that 
enhances economic development or incorporates private investment, 
including * * * pedestrian and bicycle access to a [public] 
transportation facility.'' This eligibility is not without 
restrictions. Pedestrian and bicycle projects made eligible under the 
definition of ``capital project'' must satisfy additional statutory 
criteria, including requirements to enhance economic development or 
incorporate private investment; to enhance the effectiveness of public 
transportation project and relate physically or functionally to that 
project, or to establish new or enhanced coordination between public 
transportation and other transportation; and to provide a fair share of 
revenue for public transportation.
    Finally, one percent of Urbanized Area Formula program funds 
apportioned to urbanized areas with populations of at least 200,000 are 
set aside for transit enhancements. Eligible transit enhancement 
projects include pedestrian access and walkways, and bicycle access, 
including bicycle storage facilities and installing equipment for 
transporting bicycles on public transportation vehicles. As an added 
incentive, the Federal share of transit enhancement grants covers 90 
percent of the cost of the project. If the project involves providing 
bicycle access to public transportation, the grant or portion of that 
grant may be at a Federal share of 95 percent.

H. Bicycle Sharing Programs

    Several commenters expressed a hope that FTA would eventually 
expand funding eligibility to include bicycle sharing initiatives. 
These commenters believed that bicycle sharing systems assist commuters 
with the ``first and last mile'' problem by linking them to public 
transportation during the beginning and ending of their commutes.
    FTA Response: FTA agrees that bicycle sharing systems provide 
meaningful access to public transportation and help address the problem 
of the ``first and last mile.'' Moreover, bicycle sharing programs, 
like all forms of active transportation, provide numerous benefits, 
such as reduced carbon emissions and improved public health.
    Federal Transit Law limits the use of FTA funds for ``public 
transportation.'' Historically, FTA has not included ``bicycle'' within 
the definition of

[[Page 52052]]

``public transportation.'' Therefore, while a grantee may use FTA funds 
to purchase aspects of a bicycle sharing system if those aspects are 
located near public transportation stops and stations, an FTA grantee 
may not use FTA funds to purchase bicycles, regardless of whether those 
bicycles comply with Federal Buy America requirements.

I. Planning Issues

    Several commenters highlighted the need for transit agencies to 
work collaboratively with local stakeholders when planning pedestrian 
and bicycle improvements.
    FTA Response: FTA and FHWA require coordinated planning efforts and 
public involvement for project development.\26\ FTA requires grantees 
to work collaboratively with local stakeholders when planning 
pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
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    \26\ 23 CFR 450.210, 771.111 (2010).
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J. Safety Concerns

    Several commenters expressed a general concern that pedestrians and 
bicyclists should be safe during their commutes.
    FTA Response: FTA agrees that pedestrians and bicyclists should be 
safe during their commutes, and FTA expects its grantees to consider 
the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists at all times. This Final 
Policy Statement, however, is limited to identifying the eligibility of 
capital projects and transit enhancements.

K. Bicycle Improvements in Rural Areas

    One commenter hoped that the Proposed Policy Statement will foster 
the development of bicycle lanes in rural areas so that commuters have 
better access to public transportation.
    FTA Response: FTA promotes the use of public transportation in both 
urban and rural areas. Consequently, through this Final Policy 
Statement, FTA hopes to encourage the development of bicycle lanes in 
rural areas.

L. Research Issues

    One commenter suggested that FTA compile and present a series of 
``best practices'' for grantees that intend to develop and implement 
pedestrian and bicycle projects.
    FTA Response: FTA is exploring research programs that will support 
the objectives of this Final Policy Statement. FTA looks forward to 
working with stakeholders and industry partners to collect information 
regarding pedestrian and bicycle connections to public transportation 
systems.

M. Public Health Issues

    One commenter highlighted potential public health benefits 
associated with the pedestrian and bicycle catchment areas. This 
commenter suggested that FTA should require consideration of health 
benefits when determining catchment areas.
    FTA Response: FTA appreciates comments regarding the public health 
benefits related to pedestrian and bicycle improvements. Indeed, there 
are numerous public health benefits associated with walking and biking, 
such as a decreased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high 
blood pressure, and reduced overall depression and anxiety.\27\ The 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have noted that, to increase 
overall public health, communities should ``[b]uild good pedestrian and 
bicycle infrastructure, including sidewalks and bike paths.'' \28\ 
Additionally, by walking or biking to or from public transportation, 
individuals reduce overall carbon emissions.
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    \27\ National Center for Bicycling and Walking, Increasing 
Physical Activity Through Community Design, June 2010; Smart Growth 
for America, Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl, September 2003;
    \28\ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy 
Community Design Fact Sheet, June 2008.
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N. Carpooling and Ridesharing Initiatives

    One commenter urged FTA to consider expanding the scope of eligible 
activities to include carpooling and ridesharing initiatives.
    FTA Response: FTA recognizes that carpooling and ridesharing 
initiatives provide a viable solution to many transportation 
challenges. Although FTA encourages carpooling or ridesharing, this 
Final Policy Statement focuses on providing pedestrians and bicyclists 
with greater access to public transportation.

O. The HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities

    One commenter suggested that the United States Department of 
Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA), and FHWA should make funds available for 
pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
    FTA Response: DOT and FTA are strongly committed to the HUD-DOT-EPA 
Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Together, these agencies are 
working to promote livable communities.

P. Park-and-Ride Lots

    Several commenters expressed a preference for investments in 
pedestrian and bicycle improvements over investments in park-and-ride 
lots. These commenters believed that investments in pedestrian and 
bicycle projects are more effective tools of promoting livability.
    FTA Response: FTA agrees with these comments. Pedestrian and 
bicycle projects have many advantages over park-and-ride lots. Unlike 
motor vehicles, pedestrian and bicycle improvements allow individuals 
to access public transportation without the costs and negative health 
effects of motor vehicle travel.

Q. Continuing Control Issues

    Several commenters expressed concerns with potential continuing 
control issues. By expanding pedestrian and bicycle catchment areas, 
project sponsors may create access routes on property that is outside 
the control of the transit agency. One commenter suggested that, in 
these scenarios, FTA should require the transit agency to execute a 
subgrantee agreement with the locality to address potential continuing 
control issues.
    FTA Response: FTA agrees that continuing control issues may arise 
through the expansion of pedestrian and bicycle catchment areas. For 
example, a grantee may expand pedestrian and bicycle catchment areas on 
real estate that is under the control of a locality.
    Pursuant to Section 19 of FTA's Master Agreement, a grantee 
``agrees to maintain continuing control of the use of Project property 
to the extent satisfactory to FTA.'' FTA believes that, in scenarios 
such as the one described above, a subgrantee agreement may be 
necessary to ensure the grantee has a degree of continuing control over 
real estate that is subject to an FTA investment.

R. Miscellaneous Comments

    Two commenters noted a spelling error in the following sentence in 
the Preamble of the Proposed Policy Statement: ``Walking, bicycling, 
and public transportation are complimentary.'' \29\ These commenters 
noted that the word ``complimentary'' should be spelled 
``complementary.''
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    \29\ Federal Transit Administration, Proposed Policy Statement 
on the Eligibility of Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements under 
Federal Transit Law, 74 FR 58679 (Nov. 13, 2009).
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    FTA Response: FTA thanks these commenters for noting the spelling 
and grammatical error. FTA has changed the word ``complimentary'' to

[[Page 52053]]

``complementary'' in the Preamble of this Final Policy Statement.
    One commenter suggested that FTA should require recipients of 
Federal funds for pedestrian and bicycle improvements to certify that 
the projects will increase public transportation ridership as a result 
of the Federal investments.
    FTA Response: The purpose of this Policy Statement is to improve 
access to public transportation stops and stations by simplifying the 
process for determining whether the improvements have a physical or 
functional relationship to public transportation. FTA grantees will not 
need to certify ridership figures for projects within the one-half mile 
walk shed and three mile bike shed set forth in this Policy Statement. 
Research indicates that improved access to a stop or station typically 
results in higher ridership. For improvements beyond these distances, a 
study indicating the likelihood of increased ridership would be a valid 
justification for the improvement.

VII. Statement of Policy

A. Background

    In accordance with the goals, principles, and legal authority 
outlined in this notice, FTA encourages the use of its funds for 
pedestrian and bicycle amenities that expand the catchment area and 
utility of public transportation stops and stations. Therefore, FTA 
hereby establishes threshold catchment areas of one-half mile for 
pedestrian improvements and three miles for bicycle improvements near 
public transportation stops and stations.
    A key requirement for determining the eligibility of a pedestrian 
or bicycle improvement is whether it has a functional relationship to a 
public transportation facility. FTA grantees can benefit from FTA 
determining the typical distances pedestrians and bicyclists can be 
expected to travel to access a public transportation stop or station. 
The purpose of this Policy Statement is to propose a radius around a 
public transportation stop or station within which FTA will consider 
pedestrian and bicycle improvements to have a de facto functional 
relationship to public transportation.
    FTA's existing guidance on the eligibility of joint development 
improvements serves as the foundation for this proposed policy. 
According to that guidance, ``the functional relationship test of 
activity and use permits the use of FTA funds for joint development 
improvements [including pedestrian and bicycle improvements] located 
outside the structural envelope of a public transportation project, and 
may extend across an intervening street, major thoroughfare or 
unrelated property, [but] should not extend beyond the distance most 
people can be expected to safely and conveniently walk to use the 
transit service.'' \30\
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    \30\ FTA guidance on the Eligibility of Joint Development 
Improvements under Federal Transit Law, 72 FR 5790 (Feb. 7, 2007).
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    Relying on this guidance, in most circumstances FTA has considered 
pedestrian improvements within approximately 1,500 feet of a public 
transportation stop or station to be functionally related. Improvements 
beyond a 1,500 foot radius were considered functionally related to 
public transportation only if they satisfied a test of activity and 
use.
    The distance stated in FTA's existing guidance is too short. 
``While distance is very important for pedestrians, on average they 
will walk further than the anecdotal rule of thumb of 400 meters used 
in many planning applications.'' \31\ Research indicates that 
pedestrians are willing to walk at least one-half mile to train 
stations or other forms of reliable public transportation when the 
environment surrounding the station is safe and well-designed.\32\ A 
pedestrian may travel a distance of one-half mile during fifteen 
minutes at a pace of two miles per hour. A one-half mile catchment area 
is a conservative estimate of the distance a pedestrian is willing to 
travel to a public transportation stop or station. FTA has reason to 
believe that pedestrians are willing to spend more than fifteen minutes 
walking to public transportation stops and stations: A study published 
in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine concluded that 
Americans who use public transportation spend a median of nineteen 
minutes daily walking to and from public transportation; and people in 
high-density urban areas were more likely to spend approximately thirty 
minutes walking to and from public transportation daily.\33\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \31\ Kevin J. Krizek, Ann Forsyth and Laura Baum, Walking and 
Cycling International Literature Review, Victoria Department of 
Transport, 2009, at 29.
    \32\ Schlossberg, M. et al. How Far, By Which Route, and Why? A 
Spatial Analysis of Pedestrian Reference, Mineta Transportation 
Institute, June 2007.
    \33\ L.M. Besser and A.L. Dannenberg, Walking to Public Transit: 
Steps to Help Meet Physical Activity Recommendations, Am. J. Prev. 
Med., November 2005, at 273.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Applying the same timeframes to bicyclists yields at least a three 
mile catchment area. Bicycle paths may extend further than pedestrian 
walkways and still be functionally related to public transportation 
because ``bicyclists are willing to travel much longer distances than 
pedestrians, largely due to higher average speeds attainable by 
bicycle.'' \34\ Inasmuch as the average bicycle commuter travels at ten 
miles per hour,\35\ FTA proposes a bicycle catchment area of three 
miles from public transportation stops and stations. The three mile 
catchment area equals the distance the average bicyclist could travel 
in fifteen minutes time.
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    \34\ Kevin J. Krizek, Ann Forsyth and Laura Baum, Walking and 
Cycling International Literature Review, Victoria Department of 
Transport, 2009, at 18.
    \35\ League of American Bicyclists. Retrieved From: http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/commuters.php.
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B. Final Policy

    For purposes of determining whether a pedestrian or bicycle 
improvement has a physical or functional relationship to public 
transportation, regardless of whether it is funded as a capital project 
or public transportation enhancement, all pedestrian improvements 
located within one-half mile and all bicycle improvements located 
within three miles of a public transportation stop or station shall 
have a de facto physical and functional relationship to public 
transportation. Pedestrian and bicycle improvements beyond these 
threshold distances may be eligible for FTA funding if the improvement 
is within the distance that people could be expected to safely and 
conveniently walk or bicycle to use that particular transit stop or 
station.

    Issued this 15th day of August, 2011.
Peter M. Rogoff,
Administrator, Federal Transit Administration.
[FR Doc. 2011-21273 Filed 8-18-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-P