As a part of NCDOT's Transportation Reform, NCDOT has established a new strategic planning process to aid in prioritizing projects. This data-driven approach will put projects in priority order, based on various criteria including how the project meets NCDOT's goals. The strategic prioritization process serves as the primary input source for the STIP. Metropolitan Planning Organizations, (MPOs), Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs), NCDOT Divisions, and the DBPT as well as other units at NCDOT use the Prioritization Project Submittal Tool to submit project information needed for this new prioritization process (See "Strategic Prioritization" under Transportation Reform to access the Tool and a guide on how to use it.)
The DBPT utilizes a project prioritization methodology to rank all projects. Projects are evaluated based on local prioritization, estimated cost, right-of-way availability, connectivity, inclusion in a bike/pedestrian plan, population of region served, and statewide equity. This process occurs every two years. Priority projects are included in the developmental STIP (years 6 to 10) and the 10-year Program & Resource Plan.
Those priority projects identified in the 10-year Program & Resource Plan will serve as the primary projects rolling into the delivery STIP (years 1 to 5) and the 5-year Work Program. The 5-year Work Program guides the daily activities of all staff within the department and identifies all programs and services, including projects, that NCDOT will undertake in a five-year period. The Work Program differs from the STIP in that it includes all of the funds that NCDOT uses, not just those for capital improvements. Projects and funding levels included in each Work Program are approved by the Board of Transportation. The first 5-year Work Program is anticipated to go for final approval in May 2010.
Bicycle and pedestrian projects are divided into two categories, which determine the types of funds that may be available. Independent projects are those which are not related to a scheduled highway project. Incidental projects are those related to a scheduled highway project. Local requests for small pedestrian projects, such as sidewalk links, should be directed to the relevant NCDOT Highway Division office (scroll down to map under Operations). View example projects in either category under Project Highlights.
$6 million is annually set aside for the construction of bicycle improvements that are independent of scheduled highway projects in communities throughout the state. These include shared-use paths, wide-paved shoulders, bridge improvements, intersection improvements, and other project types. Eighty percent of these funds are from STP-Enhancement funds, while state funds provide the remaining 20 percent.
Currently, $1.4 million is annually set aside for pedestrian hazard elimination projects in the 14 NCDOT highway divisions across the state; $200,000 is allocated to the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation for projects such as training workshops, pedestrian safety and research projects, and other pedestrian needs statewide.
Bicycle and pedestrian accommodations such as bike lanes, sidewalks, intersection improvements, widened paved shoulders and bicycle and pedestrian-safe bridge design are frequently included as incidental features of highway projects.
In addition, bicycle-safe drainage grates are a standard feature of all highway construction. Most pedestrian safety accommodations built by NCDOT are included as part of scheduled highway improvement projects funded with a combination of federal and state roadway construction funds or with a local fund match.