One Sep 14, 2023, the Austin City Council voted to appropriate a $22.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) for its Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program. This marks a key milestone for Austin Transportation and Public Works Department (TPW) to begin developing and implementing grant-funded traffic safety projects across the city. The Council also appropriated some City funds from the Fiscal Year 2023 budget as part of the required local match for the grant.
The federal grant comes from the $5 billion Congress appropriated nationwide for SS4A programs, established under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Austin’s grant award was first announced in February.
Thursday’s Council action sets in motion plans to implement safety improvements at more than 60 locations throughout the city, with specific project locations to be chosen after further analysis is completed. Austin’s SS4A grant will fund:
- major intersection safety projects at 5-7 locations
- up to 10 pedestrian hybrid beacons
- low-cost, systemic safety treatments such as high-visibility crosswalk markings, street lighting, and traffic signal improvements at dozens of locations throughout the city
- a safety education campaign primarily focused on roundabouts and video analytics for safety analysis and evaluation
Over the next 12-18 months, TPW also anticipates initiating a citywide lighting plan, in partnership with Austin Energy, to provide the city with a holistic strategy to improve safety through better lighting utilizing grant funds.
In keeping with the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, SS4A grant funds will be applied with an equity lens. Members of Austin's underserved communities continue to disproportionately die and experience serious injuries on the roads. Members of the Black/African American community are victims of severe crashes at a share that is more than double their percentage of Austin’s population. The Hispanic/Latino community is also increasingly affected by severe crashes. In response to these disparities, TPW has committed that more than half of the Austin SS4A funds will be spent within areas designated by USDOT as Historically Underserved Communities.
The grant is aligned with Austin’s long-standing commitment to Vision Zero, which states a goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries from traffic-related crashes in Austin. City staff will now begin refining project locations and developing contracts needed to execute these projects. Staff will provide regular updates to, and solicit input from, the public on the grant-funded improvements.