Outdoor Recreation Idea of the Day, January 6, 2011

DOT Livability Focus is Great Opportunity -- But Action Needed

January 6, 2011 (Washington, DC) - Livability is the new buzz-word for Congressional and Administrative leaders -- and there is great opportunity for those of us who care about conservation and recreation. Obviously, we want transportation to focus on more than roads. Livability could mean expansion of programs like Transportation Enhancements (which has proven invaluable in converting abandoned railroads to trails and more) and to programs like scenic byways, the Recreational Trails Program and Safe Routes to Schools. But we need to be active participants in the definition of livability. A concept of livability that stops at the edges of our metropolitan areas is not enough. We must also focus on getting people out of their cars and to work, shopping destinations and school with alternative transportation.

The Department of Transportation (DOT)'s leadership understands this. Recent statements by DOT Assistant Secretary for Policy Polly Trottenberg are encouraging. The America's Great Outdoors report needs to highlight how much DOT has connected Americans to the Great Outdoors in the past two decades. DOT must build on their past successes as the parameters of livability are defined in an upcoming $500 billion, 6-year surface transportation bill expected as a Congressional priority in 2011.

Outdoor Recreation Idea of the Day is inspired by the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative to connect Americans to the outdoors and its IdeaJam blog. ARC’s submissions to the blog can be found if you click here. Additional ideas that have been submitted to IdeaJam can be found in our September 2010 newsletter, which is here.