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Over the last 10-15 years, there’s been a nationwide complete streets movement to integrate people, place, plans, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of our various transportation networks. The complete streets concept, initiated by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation, Equity Act (SAFETEA) is an initiative to design and build roads that adequately accommodate all anticipated users of a corridor, including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of mass transportation, people with disabilities, the elderly, motorists, freight providers, emergency responders, and adjacent land users. This concept recommends that appropriate accommodations be made where and when feasible so that all modes of transportation can function safely. The Common Paths program is specifically designed to provide cost effective transportation by considering the mobility needs of all users of our transportation system. The intent has been to safely balance the needs of different modes of travel and consider local land-use, economies, cultures, and natural environments.
INDOT’s Common Paths program is a larger umbrella program and approach to road planning, design, and decision-making that considers and balances the dynamic needs of various users of our transportation system with a focus on moving people and goods safe and efficiently from point A to point B. The program is about the basics: improving the transportation system’s safety and functionality for all users regardless of age, ability, or mode of travel (car, truck, walking, biking, or transit) and satisfies national Complete Streets initiatives. Its main premise is simply getting people involved, connecting communities, and providing transportation access to enhance the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the Hoosier State. The Common Paths program provides many benefits to local residents, communities, business owners, developers, and communities.
Over the years, INDOT has been involved in state programs and regional activities that tie into the Common Paths concept, making our system safe, efficient, and accessible for all users:
INDOT is committed to providing resources and technical assistance regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).
Title II of the ADA applies to all public entities. It requires INDOT to remove architectural and programmatic barriers that exclude qualified individuals with a disability. The ADA also requires INDOT, upon request, to make reasonable modifications to its policies and programs to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy its programs and activities. INDOT is not required to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of its programs or services, or impose an undue financial or administrative burden.
Throughout Indiana, sidewalks are being used more and more. Sidewalks connect neighborhoods to schools, parks, religious facilities, community centers, transit, housing, government facilities, retail, and other destinations. However, in small rural towns and communities, sidewalks may be less common. Financial constraints and other limitations provide a challenge for locals to develop and improve sidewalks along state jurisdictional facilities, as standalone projects. INDOT recognizes that sidewalks are an integral part of the transportation system and in order to provide assistance in addressing this issue, INDOT has developed a Small Community Sidewalk Program (SCSP). Highlights of this program are:
Funding will be set aside each fiscal year to construct new sidewalks or to upgrade existing sidewalks to ensure compliance with the most current standards, including American Disability Act (ADA) standards. Submitted projects will be located within public right of way for federal eligibility requirements. Development of this program will provide health benefits associated with walking as well as provide a sense of safety and welfare for pedestrians utilizing sidewalks.
The Stellar Communities Designation Program is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize Indiana's smaller communities that have identified comprehensive community and economic development projects and activities as well as next steps and key partnerships.
Safe, Efficient and Accessible Transportation (SEAT) – previously noted as Complete Streets (CS)
In 2014, INDOT adopted an internal Safe, Efficient, and Accessible Transportation (SEAT) guideline policy (previously noted as Complete Streets), which lines up with national complete streets policies and guidelines. INDOT supports the Complete Streets Initiative.
INDOT SEAT guidelines and policies build upon multiple efforts and promote an integrated multimodal transportation system that sustains local land use developments and economic development.
The guideline considers various strategies as applicable: roundabout intersections, paved shoulders to accommodate bicycles and/or pedestrians, access management treatments, sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian crossing signals, transit shelters, bus pull-out lanes, road diets, traffic calming, and other strategies.
The United States Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is the national cycling route network of the United States. It consists of interstate long-distance cycling routes that utilize multiple types of bicycling infrastructure, including off-road paths, bicycle lanes, and low-traffic roads. As with the complementary United States Numbered Highways system for motorists, each USBR is maintained by state and local governments. The USBRS is intended to eventually traverse the entire country. The USBRS was established in 1978 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the same body that coordinates the numbering of Interstate highways and U.S. Routes.
In 2006, 83 percent of all Indiana residents had a hiking, biking, or equestrian trail available within 7.5 miles of their home and 70 percent lived within five miles of a trail. As of July 2013, 97.9 percent of all Indiana residents live within 7.5 miles of a trail and 93.2 percent live within five miles of a trail
It is the policy of the INDOT to incorporate context sensitive solutions (CSS) into the planning, development, construction and maintenance process for improvement to the state jurisdictional system. The process for incorporating context sensitive solutions is intended to establish a basis for the planning, development, construction, and maintenance process to incorporate a community's character and vision in transportation improvements, including pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation vehicles and passengers, trucks, and automobiles.
The Indiana Byway Program is designed to preserve, protect, enhance and recognize transportation corridors of unique character. These corridors are notable examples of our nation's beauty, history, culture and recreational experience. Some byway routes are designated nationally while others are state designated byways. The national designation is made by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation from nominations presented by the states and federal land management agencies.