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New Federal Program Takes a Major Step to Help Cities Combat America’s Escalating Traffic Safety Crisis

May 16, 2022

Safe Streets and Roads for All Provides Urgently-Needed Funding to Redesign Local Streets for Safety

(Image: LADOT)

Today, USDOT took a major step to combating America’s escalating traffic safety crisis. Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) provides urgently-needed federal transportation funding to cities and local governments, and targets the heart of America’s road safety crisis: street design. 

NACTO applauds the Administration for incorporating the recommendations of cities across the country. USDOT designed a model program that will not just bring $1 billion in infrastructure funding directly to communities in its first year, but is sensibly designed with the clarity, flexibility, and support that cities need to design and implement the projects that will save the most lives–and correct the worst inequities–in their communities. 

“The most effective safety interventions are often small-scale investments deployed at scale, from building new sidewalks that connect to transit, to redesigning intersections, installing curb extensions, connecting gaps in bike lane networks, and raising crosswalks,” said Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of NACTO. “For the first time, federal transportation funding can be focused on these small interventions that make an enormous difference in people’s lives–and are often the difference between saving a life and counting another death on city streets.”

For decades, American cities have been on the frontlines of the traffic safety crisis. Relying almost exclusively on local resources, city leaders have developed successful methods of improving safety for everyone on streets–whether walking, biking, driving, or taking transit. Cities from across the country are excited to now have the opportunity to implement these methods at a greater scale–targeted equitably to neighborhoods that have the worst traffic safety outcomes–with the funding available from Safe Streets and Roads for All. 

“The Biden Administration is making safe and complete streets for all a key priority,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “Funding from the Safe Streets for All program will help cities like Tucson make critical safety investments in our roadways that reduce traffic deaths and injuries. The program’s focus on equity will also deliver funding where it is needed most.”

“We are thrilled to see the substantial federal investment toward planning and delivering projects that provide safe streets for all,” said Hans Larsen, Public Works Director of Fremont, CA. “We have proven that a priority focus on safety works: Since the adoption of Fremont’s Vision Zero traffic safety action plan in 2016, we reduced crashes resulting in fatalities and severe injuries by 40%.” 

“We’re encouraged that safety and equity are no longer an add-on but the core of this inspired new grant program,” said Steve Sharkey, Director of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. “We’re excited to apply for this opportunity and do our part to help stem America’s traffic safety crisis–and we hope that this program is just the beginning of opportunities to get the resources we need to advance our Complete Streets efforts to make our streets safer for all.”

“Sometimes, the smallest projects have the biggest impacts for street safety, and this new program could fund many of those small projects in Tampa,” said Vik Bhide, Director of the City of Tampa’s Mobility Department. “Safe Streets for All is a program that prioritizes what’s most important to our residents–equitably making streets safer and more comfortable for everyone using them. 

“We know that mobility is the great equalizer. The Safe Streets for All grant program will support the City of Columbus’s commitment to prioritizing safety and equity for everyone who travels on our city streets,” said Jennifer L. Gallagher, Columbus Department of Public Service Director. “This program will help build walkable communities that all of our residents can enjoy and rely on for safe mobility.”

While Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) is just one small piece of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, it provides a model for how the $300 billion controlled directly by States could be used to improve the lives of the many millions of people using local streets every day.

“The unconscionably high and widely inequitable traffic death toll demands a new approach to how we plan, fund, and build transportation infrastructure in the U.S.,” said Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of NACTO. “Safe Streets and Roads for All provides a model for how to align transportation investments–locally, federally, and on the state level–to the safety, equity, and climate crises on our roads. By making walking, biking, and taking transit safer for the millions of Americans who do so every day, we can make the U.S. healthier, more prosperous, and resilient.”

See a roundup of all of the programs in the Infrastructure Bill that will most directly affect cities on More information on Safe Streets and Roads for All is available on


About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 91 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO.

Alex Engel | [email protected]

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2022