Washington, DC— Today AARP praised Congress for passing, and President Obama for signing into law, the bipartisan Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) which addresses the disturbing trend of rising pedestrian fatality rates. The FAST Act will provide states and communities with the certainty they need to plan transportation projects that, in many cases, have been delayed or constrained.
AARP is pleased that, for the first time, the bill specifically targets standards for the design of roads that safely and adequately accommodate all users of the transportation network, regardless of how they may travel. Until today, Congress had not passed long-term surface transportation legislation in a decade.
“AARP members across the country are grateful to Congressional champions who pushed for a robust safe streets measure, including Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Dean Heller (R-NV), and Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Dina Titus (D-NV), Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH),” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “These leaders recognize that designing roads that are safe for people of all ages and abilities makes them safe for everyone.”
Some of the steps the bill takes toward further transportation safety include:
- The safe streets provision, which requires the Secretary of Transportation to encourage states and metropolitan planning organizations to adopt road design standards that take into account pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, as well as motor vehicles, through all phases of planning, development, and operation;
- Directing the Secretary to report on state progress toward implementation and to identify best practices in the states;
- Increasing funding for a program dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and programs;
- Creating a new pedestrian and bicycle safety education and enforcement program targeted to states with high pedestrian fatality rates;
- Requiring state departments of transportation to consider access for other modes for National Highway System projects;
- Allowing use of a design manual that contains up-to-date designs for safer pedestrian and bicycle travel;
- Creating a pilot program for innovative coordinated access and mobility to improve the coordination of transportation services and nonemergency medical transportation services.
AARP has also pushed for further action following the bill including:
- Calling for state departments of transportation to heed the bill’s explicit appeal for safer road design. Sadly, new data shows that pedestrian fatalities rose three percent in 2014 over the previous year. Preliminary indications are that the number of deaths in 2015 will be even higher, continuing a disturbing trend;
- Urging Congress to pass the pedestrian safety protections in H.R. 2071, the Safe Streets Act, sponsored by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH); and,
- Calling on the Interagency Transportation Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility to publish a strategic plan including a cost-sharing policy. One in five older adults does not drive and specialized transportation is critical to meeting health, nutrition and other daily needs.
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About AARP AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; AARP Online ; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at AARP Online.