This story is part of my ongoing coverage of the 2008 National Bike Summit. See the rest of my coverage here.
Director of AASHTO, looking
This morning we heard from John Horsley, head of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Horsley came to “give context on where bikes fit in the national transportation picture.”
AASHTO calls themselves the “Voice of American Transportation” and League President Andy Clarke referred to them as the transportation “establishment”. Suffice it to say, AASHTO is a powerful organization and to many, what they say, goes.
Their Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, has set influential standards for how states build bicycle infrastructure. And, even though many planners grumble that the standards are outdated, the book has been officially adopted as the bicycle facility design manual for many transportation departments around the country (including our very own ODOT).
So, when the head of AASHTO talks, people listen (whether they like it or not). And here’s what he said…
First, Horsely laid out the facts: In the last 50 years vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in America has increased five-fold. According to Horsely, “That’s just not sustainable,” and he added that AASHTO has set a goal to cut VMT by 50% in 50 years (by 2055).
Horsley wanted us to know that, after all these years AASHTO gets the bike thing. He announced two positive steps; they have plans to make a major update and revision to their 30 year-old bike guide by Fall of 2009 and he pointed out their renewed commitment to the U.S. Bicycle Route System (which they initiated over 20 years ago but have never really put into motion. More on that later).
For a few more interesting facts and figures, I’ve recreated Horsley’s slide presentation below.