Identifying Impediments and Solutions to Sidewalk Project Implementation in Pennsylvania

Background: The purpose of this research project was to evaluate the implementation issues of sidewalk projects that are funded through various federal programs administrated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). This evaluation has identified specific problems through a review of past and current projects in the Safe Routes to School (SRTS), Transportation Enhancements (TE), Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) programs and the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). Projects selected included those that were planned sidewalk installations but were not successful or were significantly delayed in the implementation of the project.

Findings: This report provides specific recommendations to PennDOT to improve the implementation process for sidewalks. One of the primary methods of funding sidewalk construction is through the TAP and many of the recommendations focus on that program. However, additional opportunities are also recommended for consideration outside of the TAP to meet the general goal of increasing walking opportunities in Pennsylvania.

These recommendations were based upon the literature review, surveys, case studies and current legal framework to provide potential enhancements in three key areas to improve sidewalk project implementation in Pennsylvania.


The results identified specific action that could be taken by PennDOT to improve the implementation of sidewalks in Pennsylvania.

In order to implement the research findings, several documents and processes need to be modified, including: 

  • PennDOT’s 2016 Transportation Alternatives Program Guidance and Procedures – Many of the recommendations in this report will require this document to be revised. Most of the recommendations in the project programming/funding application and the project implementation process sections apply to the TAP document procedures.
  • PennDOT Policies – General policy procedures such as taking responsibility to acquire right-of-way, providing local partners engineering services and revised reimbursement agreements will require PennDOT to issue new policies and revise legal documents used for local projects.
  • Municipal Planning Code (MPC) [State of Pennsylvania 1968] – This legislation details the powers and responsibilities of local governments. The recommendation to require the construction of sidewalks with all new sub-division street construction would require the amendment of this law.


Recommendations were made in three key areas:

  • Project Programming and Funding Applications
  • Project Implementation Process Improvements
  • State and Local Government Coordination


05 October, 2018

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