Starting this fall, bicycle improvement projects seeking funding through the Regional Transportation Authority will be evaluated using updated criteria.
The new ranking system gives more consideration to projects that connect communities with things like shopping centers and employer and allows local governments within Pima County to prioritize projects.
The RTA’s Bike and Pedestrian Working Group — a collection of governmental officials, interest groups and citizens that help determine which projects get funded — revised the criteria in a meeting on Wednesday.
According to Gabe Thum, a Pima Association of Governments planner, the group was told by the RTA’s Transportation Planning Committee to revise the criteria after several local government officials were unhappy with the previous year’s ranking process.
The working group ranks projects using a points system. The ranking is based on several categories with different point totals for each category. The projects that receive the most points during the ranking process are forwarded on to the Transportation Planning Committee for potential funding.
The new ranking criteria is based on 11 categories and, unlike years past, is now the same for both on-road bicycle facilities and off-road facilities like separated bike paths.
The first and highest valued category is the on-list category, which awards 20 points to projects that were part of the original RTA vote in 2005.
The group also added two new categories for evaluation. The first takes into account the priorities of each transportation department within Pima County. The highest priority for each of those jurisdictions receives 10 points while the lowest priority project receives one point.
The second new category allows the working group to award up to 10 points for connections to regional destinations like large shopping centers and employment centers.
The working group also changed the number of points for many of the categories. Check out the full list below.
• On-list projects: 20 points
• Extension of on-list projects (e.g.: Adds to an existing on-list project): 10 points
• Enhance connectivity or resolve impediments (e.g.: Fills in a gap in the bike network): 10 points
• Connections to destinations: 10 points
• Jurisdictional priority: 10 points
• Enhances safety: 10 points
• Current and future use (This category is broken into three sub-categories: recreation, commuting and travel): 15 points
• Written support from user groups: 5 points
• Takes advantage of unique opportunities (e.g.: Other road work happening in the area): 5 points
• Cost benefit/Usage (e.g.: How much the project will cost vs. how many people will use it): 10 points
• Additional funding outside or RTA available (Projects that can receive some of their funding from other sources will be awarded one point for every five percent of the project funding. It is capped at 10 points): 10 points.
There are a total of 115 points that can be awarded to each project.