March 4, 2024 BY Leah Shahumin News

Highlights & Inspiration for Winning Funds: Safe Streets & Roads for All

While recent data showing a 4% decrease in traffic fatalities nationally in 2023 over 2022 offers a glimmer of hope, we know that far more attention and resources must be focused on stemming the unacceptable number of preventable roadway deaths and severe injuries in the U.S. The recently announced new round of funding from the federal Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant program is one important way to do that.

The SS4A program stands out for many reasons, including that it….

  • Directly supports local, regional and tribal communities’ safety and bypasses the hassles of being funneled thru the states;
  • Prioritizes attention toward long-overlooked segments of the population who are disproportionately impacted by traffic violence, including people walking and biking, people with disabilities, communities of color, and people in low-income neighborhoods;
  • Supports Vision Zero goals and the underlying Safe System approach, which is proving effective around the world and focuses on proactive, systemwide strategies (incl. managing speeds by redesigning roadways and lowering speed limits), rather than reactive measures (incl. over-relying on individual-focused education and enforcement); and
  • Recognizes and supports the need to both scale up and speed up Vision Zero work, including funding Quick Build projects to move more nimbly and demonstration projects to test strategies and build buy-in for change swiftly.

And SS4A funding can support a wide range of activities and types of communities – small, medium or large; rural, suburban or urban, see the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) for details, including eligibility and which types of activities can be funded, as well as upcoming informational webinars organized by USDOT.

Here are some examples of recently funded applications we’re excited about

The City of Bellevue, WA (population 151,584) secured $2.8 million for Planning and Demonstration activities. The funding will help the city conduct road safety audits, speed studies, develop a bike lane design guide, and create speed safety camera procedures. The city will also conduct demonstration activities testing approaches for protected turn phasing for pedestrians, adaptive pedestrian signal controls, aesthetically treated crosswalks, and cellular vehicle-to-everything technologies.

The City of Salisbury, MD (population 32,930) received a $12 million Implementation grant. The City is planning a rapid overhaul and traffic calming of every city-owned arterial and collector road, including equipping 160 intersections with permanent or interim curb extensions, installing 100 new high-visibility crosswalks and other interventions.

Broward County, FL (population nearly 2 million) The Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) won a $5 million Planning grant to develop a safety action plan for the region, which includes more than 31 municipalities. The work entails identifying the regional High-Injury Network, concept designs and construction estimates, as well as developing equity-focused prioritization criteria, policy recommendations and significant engagement from community members, elected leaders and practitioners. Additional work includes developing 11 Focus Area Plans, including attention to safe speeds, lighting, Complete Streets, Quick-Build plans and more.

Register for our March 19th webinar to learn more about what we’re especially excited about and to hear from some SS4A winners about their experiences so far. We’ll discuss  opportunities to test new ideas, build buy-in for safety changes and bolster your community’s long-term investment in safety and equity on our streets. (NOTE that this Vision Zero Network webinar is not a How-To event; for that, check out the USDOT’s upcoming “How to Apply” webinars.)

Before that let’s take a glimpse of new exciting details of the FY24 round of SS4A.

Increased Funding for Strong Vision Zero Plans

This year, the SS4A grant program offers an unprecedented $1.2 billion in funding. Within the Planning and Demonstration category, there are three main activities: developing Action Plans, conducting supplemental safety planning, and carrying out demonstration activities to improve or update plans. The good news is that you can apply for all three activities at the same time.

If you already have an eligible Action Plan, you can apply for both Implementation grants AND Supplemental planning and Demonstration activities. Even if you don't receive the Implementation grant, you still have a chance to receive funding for Supplemental planning and Demonstration activities. Additionally, you can apply for multiple Supplemental planning and Demonstration activities within a single grant application and receive partial funding as long as each activity is clearly specified in your application.

In the previous round, USDOT allocated 572 grants for Planning and Demonstration activities that gave a real opportunity to secure funding for actionable plans that can be swiftly supported by pilots and quick-builds ensuring they don't gather dust on a shelf! It's crucial to emphasize that the Action Planning grant isn't just for planning; it's also meant for quick testing of bold ideas. Through the  introduction of new infrastructure elements (read more about quick-builds) and through this engagement get more support on the ground for future projects.  

Streamlined Responsive Application Flow

This round, USDOT introduced an improved timeline for different types of grants. For Planning and Demonstration grants, there are 3 deadlines:

  • April 4, 2024, 5 p.m. (EDT): Deadline #1 for Planning and Demonstration Grants.
  • May 16, 2024, 5 p.m. (EDT): Deadline #2 for Planning and Demonstration Grants.
  • August 29, 2024, 5 p.m. (EDT): Deadline #3 for Planning and Demonstration Grants.

Implementation grants have a single deadline: May 16, 2024, 5 p.m. (EDT). The deadline to submit technical questions for both grant types is April 17, 2024.

If your initial application for a Planning and Demonstration grant is unsuccessful, you have a chance to re-apply with the new deadlines – this could significantly increase your chances to make a robust application. If you're seeking an Implementation Grant, you could submit a pre-application by April 17, 2024 and receive feedback and bolster your application. Please take a look at the very informative NOFO from USDOT for more details.

Most Struggling Communities May Have Priority

According to the National Roadway Safety Strategy, the disproportionate safety impacts are especially true in underserved communities, where people face heightened exposure to risk. USDOT has identified about 600 communities with a death rate of 17.0 and higher that may have a priority for Planning and Demonstration Grants. If you find your community on this list, you have a heightened opportunity to enhance safety measures. We see Berkeley (MO), College Park (GA), Dayton (TX), Malibu (CA), and Hollywood (SC) on the list, along with many others, so we encourage you to seize this opportunity to bolster road safety now.

Source: National Roadway Safety Strategy, 2022
What is Still There is the Call for Bold Applications

The SS4A grant program is an opportunity to redesign the roadway system starting from the most needy places and infrastructure elements; testing new ideas and scaling them up if they work. This is a chance to implement safety solutions that will impact the broader population and prevent roadway deaths in your community. We need substantial, transformative, systemic improvements to ensure the safety of all road users. Now is the time for communities to step up and embrace this call for change.

Watch our Safe Streets for All: Funding Strategies that Work March 19th webinar where we discussed the most important opportunities we see in the grant program, including ways to test new concepts, build greater support for safety changes and support your community’s long-term investment in safety and equity on our streets. Thank you to our webinar guests – Shayna Rose, Towards Zero Manager at Baltimore City DOT (the city has secured almost $10M for supplemental planning and demonstration projects!), and Franz Loewenherz, Mobility Planning and Solutions Manager at City of Bellevue.

Check out the official USDOT’s SS4A website, watch “How to Apply” webinars organized by USDOT and explore our page that will inspire you for bold ideas for your application.

Learn more: funding, ss4a


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