In recent years, PennDOT has promoted Smart Transportation, but this has not been backed up among the agencyʼs staffing priorities. PennDOTʼs stated goal is to build a “more efficient, affordable, and sustainable transportation system to ensure that our communities remain great places for future generations of Pennsylvanians” which requires “consistently applying the most innovative tools and ideas to solve our new transportation challenges.”
Without staff members who specialize in the development of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, PennDOT is cutting off access to the most innovative tools and ideas for Pennsylvania. The bicycle is an efficient, affordable, and sustainable mode of transportation, and one that must be integrated into transportation planning to be most effective.
Innovation requires expertise. The statewide and district bicycle and pedestrian coordinators are unable to keep abreast of best practices because of the small number of hours they are allocated for bicycle and pedestrian work. It is not effective to reduce the hours spent developing innovative bicycle and pedestrian solutions when more expertise is needed to implement Smart Transportation.
Proposals to enhance PennDOTʼs bicycle and pedestrian staff
Fully fund a bicycle and pedestrian office
PennDOTʼs statewide bicycle and pedestrian staff has dropped from a high of two full-time staff persons in the 1990ʼs to one person working less than half time today. Pennsylvania currently has 0.1 staff per million people, the 49th lowest nationally. For Pennsylvania to meet the national average of 0.8 staff per million and to have the resources to fully implement Smart Transportation, the state will need 9.6 full-time equivalent employees working on bicycling and walking projects, not including Safe Routes to School staff.
Strengthen current staff by reorganizing existing work hours
Currently, the work-hours dedicated to bicycling and pedestrian transportation within PennDOT are spread too thin. Bicycle and pedestrian coordinators, both in the central office and the districts, are extremely limited in what they can accomplish within the budgeted time. These work hours could be of better value to the agency if it were consolidated into full-time or half-time positions.
PennDOT needs a fully staffed Bicycle and Pedestrian Office (121.8 KiB)
downloadable pdf version of this fact sheet