Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A)
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Established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary grant program will provide $5 billion between 2022-2026 to support local initiatives aimed at preventing serious injuries and fatalities that occur on our nation’s roadways. The program supports the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)’s National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) – the first department-wide strategy of its kind – and uses a Safe System Approach as a guiding principle to advance roadway safety and the Department’s goal of zero deaths and serious traffic related injuries for all users.
Regional, local, and Tribal governments are eligible to apply for this funding program to assist in strengthening their approach to roadway safety through the development of Comprehensive Safety Action Plans (aka Action Plans) and the funding of projects and activities that support these plans. To receive funding for an off-road intervention, such as a bridge or tunnel on a trail to bypass a dangerous road crossing, applicants should document a direct link to improved roadway safety.
The SS4A grant program funding consists of two different kinds of grants to support eligible activities:
- Action plan grants to support the development or updating of Action Plans; and
- Implementation grants to fund the planning, design, and development of activities and carrying out projects and strategies identified in Action Plans. To apply for an implementation grant, applicants must have a qualifying Action Plan or a set of plans that together are similar to and meet the eligibility requirements of an Action Plan. A self-certification eligibility worksheet will be available in each round’s Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to determine whether an existing plan meets the requirements of an Action Plan. It
Action Plans, such as Vizion Zero plans, are the backbone of the SS4A grant program and can incorporate a variety of strategies and projects which include but are not limited to:
- The implementation of improvements that expand multimodal networks with separated bicycle lanes and improved pedestrian crossing safety features
- Installing safety enhancements like sidewalks and safer crossings for people walking, biking, or using mobility assistive devices
- Creating safe routes to school and public transit services
As evidenced by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)’s Proven Safety Countermeasures and the NRSS, it’s clear that the FHWA recognizes that connected active-transportation networks should be part of any comprehensive strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities. Communities across the country are increasingly utilizing the safety benefits of multi-use trails and active transportation networks as critical tools to provide safe routes to get people to where they need to go.
Be sure to check out the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for each round of grants to find the criteria and requirements for both types of grants and a sample of the selection process rating system to ensure that any trail networks that are part of your Action plan demonstrate the required safety benefits in order to be eligible. As all grant recipients are required to provide aggregated annual crash data to inform metrics on changes in serious injuries and fatalities over time, and, under the BIL, the USDOT is required to publicly post available best practices and lessons learned under the program, these comprehensive Action Plans can go a long way in redefining how safety is addressed nationwide.
Learn more about SS4A, including how to prepare to apply and sign-up for alerts, by visiting the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program website.
- Type: Discretionary grant program
- Administered By: The U.S. Department of Transportation
- Year Created: 2021 with the signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)
- Federal Share: The federal share is 80%
- Also Known As: SS4A
- Eligible applicants:
- Metropolitan planning organizations
- Counties, cities, towns, and transit agencies or other special districts that are subdivisions of a State
- Federally recognized Tribal governments
- Multijurisdictional groups comprised of the above entities
- Eligible activities:
- Develop or update a comprehensive safety action plan (Action Plan)
- Conduct planning, design, and development activities in support of an Action Plan
- Carry out Projects and Strategies identified in an Action Plan
New Federal Grants Elevate Trail and Active Transportation Systems as Essential Infrastructure in Addressing Traffic Fatalities
USDOT Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program Website: https://www.transportation.gov/SS4A
USDOT Safe Streets and Roads for All Fact Sheet: https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/2022-03/Safe-Streets-and-Roads-for-All-Fact-Sheet_March-2022.pdf
USDOT Proven Safety Countermeasures: https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/
Safe Streets and Roads for All Case Studies
In the first year (Fiscal Year 2022) of the new Safe Streets and Roads for All federal funding program, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded grants to dozens of projects across the country, totaling $800 million. The following four project grantees stand out as strong examples of communities/regions investing in safe, connected, off-road walking and bicycling infrastructure. These projects demonstrate that trails and other traffic-separated facilities are essential to increasing safety for pedestrians and cyclists.