State DOTs have a major role to play in reversing the nation’s epidemic of pedestrian deaths. But that can be hard to do when most DOTs are still set up to build roads that prioritize high-speed car travel, even if that jeopardizes the safety of some of the people using those roads. Tennessee DOT is working to change that through a comprehensive approach to Complete Streets.
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer is part of the dedicated team working to make Tennessee’s transportation system more efficient and a better value for Tennessee taxpayers. As part of our new analysis, Removing Barriers to Smarter Transportation Investments, released in partnership with the Tennessee DOT, Commissioner Schroer writes an open letter to Tennesseans on how and why the department is working to improve its services. From the report:
Dear Fellow Tennesseans:
It is critical that our state continues to provide better services and infrastructure to our citizens and businesses, and more importantly in a financially responsible manner. I also recognize that the services provided by our transportation system are absolutely critical to sustaining and growing our state’s economy. It is therefore essential that all of us plan, build and operate our transportation system in a manner that balances the needs of rural and urban areas, businesses and communities, and preserves our way of life.
While we are all concerned about maintaining the current infrastructure at an acceptable level, we must also wisely use our limited funding sources to provide a transportation system that is efficient, dependable and safe for all users of the system. TDOT is focused on a planning a statewide, multimodal transportation system that enables both rural and urban communities to grow and prosper taking into account business needs, access to jobs, access to freight ports and airports, needs of transit riders, bicyclists, pedestrians, tourism and quality of life.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has partnered with Smart Growth America to increase its efficiency and ensure the greatest possible return on Tennessee’s transportation investments. As a result, TDOT has compiled a series of recommendations designed to pin down areas for improvement, prioritize projects and streamline processes.
“Transportation investments are invaluable to driving economic recovery and prosperity across Tennessee,” says TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “But as this report shows, we cannot be limited to old ways of doing business. We must enable and encourage more flexible, innovative and lower-cost solutions to state’s transportation needs. Prioritizing and designing projects to add the most value for their cost is smart, common sense policy in a time of fiscal constraint, and all Tennesseans stand to benefit from an even more effective Department of Transportation.”
The analysis, Removing Barriers to Smarter Transportation Investments, revealed TDOT currently has nine times more projects in its work plan than it has funding. As a result, some beneficial projects currently run the risk of falling through the cracks, while the service intent of others might be equally fulfilled through a less expensive solution.