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Active Transportation Plan Development Guide

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Overview of This Guide

ODOT’s Active Transportation Plan Development Guide is a resource for local and regional planning organizations developing active transportation plans in Ohio. It encompasses national best practices in active transportation planning and guides communities through a seven-step process for creating their own active transportation plans described below.

Communities may use this document in concert with ODOT’s Active Transportation Plan Template. The template provides tools and resources for communities to complete their plans, including Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files with sample language and customizable graphics.

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Creating active transportation plans requires coordination, including developing and documenting walking and bicycling conditions and recommendations at the local, regional, and state levels. It is important that coordinating entities have a common understanding of active transportation needs and how to meet them through project development and implementation, as well as how they relate to other initiatives that support walking and bicycling. Chapter 1 includes an introduction to active transportation and the planning process.

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Define the Scope

Defining the scope of your active transportation plan (ATP) is an important first step in the plan development process. Scope development includes determining the plan’s purpose, defining the project area, assessing available resources, identifying the project team and plan audiences and creating a project timeline. These elements should all be compiled into a scope document or project management plan that will guide the development of the plan.

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Engage the Community

Community engagement provides you with key information needed for the plan and creates buy-in and support for the plan’s recommendations. Chapter 3 highlights engagement opportunities in each step of the plan development process. It describes 17 engagement strategies organized along a spectrum of potential reach from targeted audiences to broad participation.

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Develop a Vision & Goals

Active transportation relates to and can impact a broad range of community issues, such as mobility, access, equity, economic development, environmental sustainability, public health, and quality of life. Chapter 4 explains how to develop a vision and goals for your ATP that will guide the plan development process.

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Assess Existing Conditions

Existing conditions describe what your transportation system and community look like now. There are many techniques – both qualitative and quantitative – for capturing information on the current state of active transportation within a given region or community. This chapter focused on methods for 1) preparing data and creating a base map, 2) reviewing existing plans, policies, and supportive programs, and 3) conducting analyses.

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Identify Proposed Projects and Programs

A combination of infrastructure and non-infrastructure recommendations complement one another to advance bicycle and pedestrian networks and foster culture change and support for active transportation. Chapter 6 outlines steps to develop an active transportation network, identify projects, and incorporate policy and program recommendations that complement physical improvements to the transportation system.

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Prioritize Proposed Projects

Agencies and communities have limited funding and resources, so it is important to prioritize projects that advance your goals to the greatest degree. Chapter 7 explains a qualitative and quantitative methodology for undertaking a project prioritization process.

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Implement the Plan

Chapter 8 discusses the final items to consider before finalizing your ATP. Identifying roles and responsibilities for moving projects forward once the plan is adopted, creating funding and maintenance strategies, and planning for network monitoring and performance evaluation will help guarantee as smooth an implementation process as possible.

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Appendix A - Writing Guide: Conveying your community’s active transportation plan with clear and compelling language will broaden the ATP’s audience and allow more people to participate in the planning process.

Appendix B - Sample Plan Development Schedule: Review this sample schedule for a 7-month planning process.

Appendix C - Existing Conditions Additional Resources and Tools: Additional methods of analyses are included here that require a higher level of effort, which may be useful for intensive, data-driven planning efforts.

Appendix D - Data Schema: ODOT encourages the use of a standardized data schema for active transportation assets when possible. It is recommended that facilities that exist today as well as facilities planned for in the future are documented in a consistent way.

Appendix E - Project Prioritization Scoring Example: Review this example of project prioritization criteria that was used in a countywide active transportation plan.

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Active Transportation Plan Template

Communities seeking additional structure may choose to use this AT Plan Template, in concert with ODOT’s Active Transportation Plan Development Guide. The template provides tools and resources for communities to complete their plans, including Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files with sample language and customizable graphics.

Download the Active Transportation Plan Template