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Friday, December 14, 2012

PARA funds assist rural areas with transportation planning

Readers of this blog know ADOT is the agency that often allocates federal grant funds to different entities from across the state (schools, communities, etc.) for transportation-related projects…

But, did you know there’s a program sponsored by ADOT that provides federal funds for the purpose of conducting transportation planning studies?

The program is known as PARA (Planning Assistance for Rural Areas) and it provides these funds to non-metropolitan communities.

More on PARA
PARA funds can’t be used for the design or construction of transportation projects, but the money can be used to plan for and address a range of issues related to roadway and non-motorized transportation modes. Public transportation services can be studied with PARA funds, too.

Some examples of what issues may be addressed by PARA program funding:
  • Roadway and transit operations/facilities planning 
  • Development or update of a municipality’s circulation element in its general plan 
  • Bicycle and pedestrian planning 
  • Trails planning 

Sierra Vista study 
ADOT administered PARA program funding to Sierra Vista so the city can develop a Travel Reduction Plan that will ultimately identify options to improve traffic flow by reducing the number of motorists who drive alone to work or school.

So far, the city has completed an efficiency study that surveyed workers at Sierra Vista’s largest workplaces to better understand how people commute and what types of programs would encourage them to make fewer single-occupancy vehicle trips. The study found that more than 90 percent of workers in Sierra Vista currently drive to and from work and school alone.

Most recently, ADOT and the city launched an online survey to lean about the travel habits of Sierra Vista residents and to understand what alternative options might reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips.

Findings from the studies and surveys will be used by Sierra Vista to develop the final Travel Reduction Plan.

For more on the Sierra Vista study, visit the ADOT Web page  and you can get more details on PARA Program Funding HERE.
Posted by Angela DeWelles   |  Labels:  ADOT, Grants, PARA-Studies
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