On Nov. 23, Metro announced 17 projects that will receive $2.5 million in 2017-2019 travel options grants.
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It’s not enough just to build a transportation system with options to walk, bike, take transit or ride share. People need to know how to access those options and understand the benefits. That’s where Metro’s Regional Travel Options program comes in.
Every two years, the program elicits project proposals to fund projects that create safe, vibrant and livable communities by increasing the use and understanding of travel options. On Nov. 23, 2016, the Regional Travel Options grant program announced awards for the 2017-2019 grant cycle, with a total of $2.5 million awarded in three categories. Grants are funded through federal dollars, allocated through the regional flexible funds process.
Funds being awarded in the 2017-2019 grants cycle were allocated by the Metro Council and Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation in 2013. The Metro Council and JPACT allocated additional funds for travel options grants in April 2016. Those funds will be awarded beginning in 2018.
Timeline for 2017-2019 grants
July 25, 2016: Grant application opens
Sept. 23, 2016: Applications due
Nov. 1, 2016: Project scores released to applicants
Nov. 23, 2016: Final project list announced
July 1, 2017: Grant funding available, projects begin
June 30, 2019: Projects complete
Who can apply
Eligible applicants include government agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations, and projects must be carried out within the urbanized areas of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. Projects are scored and ranked by a committee of industry experts and County Coordinating Committees.
Types of grants
There are three activity categories eligible for funding:
- Program grants support activities that connect people to travel option information, education and opportunities.
- Enhancement grants provide funding for items that assist people traveling by transit, foot or bicycle, such as bicycle parking or way-finding signage and street markings.
- Planning grants support planning projects, aimed at further defining a regional travel options program or series of strategies at the local level. Ideally, a plan would build upon planning guidance found in a transportation system plan.
Examples of successful grant proposals from the previous cycle
The city of Tigard is successfully engaging schools, government agencies, parents and kids to make walking and biking to school a practical and fun activity through a city-wide Safe Routes to School Program. The city was awarded $150,000 to fund a full-time SRTS position within the city planning department to coordinate efforts.
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance transformed its annual Bike Commute Challenge to the Bike More Challenge in 2016, challenging residents to log all their bike trips and compete. The Challenge, supported in part by a $155,000 RTO grant had 11,700 participants, who rode over 1.5 million miles in May, 2016.
Ride Connection won a $222,233 grant to continue the work of RideWise. The RideWise program provides training to individuals, who would otherwise travel by private automobile or ADA para-transit, on how to access and independently navigate existing regional investments in mass transit.
View the full list of 2017-2019 grantees