Guidance for Applicants

The Prioritization Process is a competitive application process that is used to allocate OKI federal  funds in Ohio and Kentucky. As part of the process, a workshop will be held for potential applicants where OKI staff provides background and is available to answer specific questions about procedures.

The Application Form is to be filled out by the applicant. Supplemental information/attachments may be included at the end of the application if absolutely necessary. They should be as condensed as possible. Incomplete applications may be rejected.

The Project Scoring Process is the method under which the Prioritization Subcommittee reviews and ranks the individual applications. A detailed explanation of the revised scoring process follows. An application is first scored using Transportation Alternative Factors (Safe Routes to School or Infrastructure) depending on the type of project. A subtotal of 45 points is available. All projects are then scored on Planning factors, which are non-mode specific and are standard elements against which all projects regardless of mode are scored. A subtotal of 60 points is available with the Planning factors. The overall total score is the sum of the Transportation Alternatives and Planning factors.

Factors for Transportation Alternatives Projects (45 points available)

MAP-21 combined the previous Transportation Enhancement and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs into the Transportation Alternatives (TA) program with some project changes. The following factors retain separate criteria for SRTS and TA infrastructure project applications because of program differences carried over from SAFETEA-LU.

Safe Routes to School Projects (45 points available)

  1. School Travel Plan (SchTP) – Applicants requesting funds for Safe Routes to School should have a school travel plan that documents the involvement of school staff, parents and community resources such as transportation and health departments, police, and local businesses. It includes student and parent surveys, the use of pedestrian and/or bicycling audits with mapped student residence locations and routes to school to document problems and needs. It lists needed facility (infrastructure) improvements and assures that related safety, education, and encouragement activities (non-infrastructure) are also planned to complement new facilities. The SchTP should follow the guidelines for the respective state school travel plan of the applicant.
  1. Education remains an eligible activity under SRTS. It is aimed at child traffic safety for walking along streets with or without sidewalks, bicycling on sidewalks with pedestrians or in the streets with motor vehicles. Education may also be aimed at parents to use other modes than driving their children to school, developing carpools, or to train them to be student escorts (walking school buses).
  1. Encouragement activities for SRTS programs are intended to increase children’s physical activities by walking or biking to school. Applications will be awarded points that involve incentives such as competitions, rewards, recognition for the students and activities that encourage children to walk or bike.
  1. Enforcement activities to address traffic issues are helpful when encouraging walking or biking to school. Police can have a valuable role in enforcing school zone speed restrictions; providing crossing guards; monitoring criminal activities; directing school bus, parent drop off and pedestrian traffic at schools; enforcing codes for dangerous structures, plant growth or loose dogs along walking routes. Points will be assigned according to enforcement activities proposed in the application.
  1. Project Type includes physical facilities that improve safety and accessibility for children traveling to school. These are to be within a two mile radius of an elementary or middle school (grades K-8) and may be street improvements including bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic calming, or separating the modes within the school grounds (parent drop off, school bus drop off, walkers), or other similar type improvements.
  1. Connections are valuable and this process awards points to projects making connections between streets and schools, between the ends of dead end streets, or connecting discontinuous sidewalks, or other connections such as facilitating access to school bus stops.
  1. Project Status awards points based on the existing status of the project. The closer the project is to the construction phase, the more points it will receive. In Ohio, utilities, ROW and construction phases are eligible for funding; in Kentucky, design utilities, ROW and construction phases are all eligible for funding.

Factor: School Travel Plan (SchTP)

Measure Points
Application is consistent with the local SchTP 10
Not consistent 0

Factor: Education Activities

Measure Points
Application includes SRTS eligible education activities 5
Not Included 0

Factor: Encouragement Activities

Measure Points
Application includes SRTS eligible encouragement activities 5
Not Included 0

Factor: Enforcement Activities

Measure Points
Application includes SRTS eligible enforcement activities 5
Not Included 0

Factor: Project Type (maximim 5)

Measure Points
Sidewalks and/or crossing improvements 5
 School on-site travel improvements 3
 Lighting for safety and security 2
 Bike racks 1

Factor: Connections (maximum 10)

Measure Points
 Complete network gaps 10
 Between street and school 5
 No Connections Made 0

Factor: Project Status

Measure Points
Construction and/or ROW plans complete 5
P/E and Environmental complete 4
Initial request for construction funding only 2
Initial request for construction and ROW funding 1

Infrastructure Projects (45 points available)

  1. Project type the Transportation Alternatives program continues many of the activities previously funded as Transportation Enhancements. Construction of on-road and off-road bicycling and walking improvements, including rail to trail conversions, traffic calming and improvements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are emphasized transportation projects. Eligible activities also include community improvement activities such as:
  • Inventory, control or removal of outdoor advertising
  • Preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities
  • Vegetation management in rights-of-way for improving safety, invasive species prevention or erosion control
  • Archaeological activity related to transportation project impact
  • Infrastructure related improvements for non-drivers including children and older adults
  • Environmental mitigation activities including pollution prevention, to address highway runoff impacts, reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality, or to restore and maintain habitat connectivity
  1. Safety points may be awarded to projects shown to improve safety conditions in the project area. The existing safety problems must be documented along with plans for addressing these problems.
  1. Consistency with OKI plan recommendations seeks to support the implementation of projects included in or consistent with the OKI 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, the OKI Regional Bicycle Plan, and the OKI Regional Pedestrian Plan. Reference should also be made to the OKI Bike Route Guides which describe the level of suitability of a road for bicycling. The OKI guides are based on the knowledge of area cyclists and local cycling organizations familiar with the roads of the region. The rating can be determined from the OKI Bike Route Guide maps. Projects improving roads less suitable for cycling will receive a higher rating. Consistency with local plans is also considered and rated in the planning factors for all projects. Specific citation of page numbers from local plans is required.
  1. Connection projects funded under the TA program are to be transportation related, which means they should connect two logical termini rather than a recreational loop trail within a park. They are not limited to the prescribed distances from schools as are SRTS applications. Projects that fill in the gaps between existing facilities of the same mode or connect to destinations are high priority. New or reconstructed sidewalks are eligible. Road construction projects should incorporate the appropriate elements of the OKI complete street approach for the respective funding source.
  1. Project Status awards points based on the existing status of the project. The closer the project is to the construction phase, the more points it will receive. In Ohio, utilities, ROW and construction phases are eligible for funding; in Kentucky, design utilities, ROW and construction phases are all eligible for funding.

Factor: Project Type (maximum 10)

Measure Points
Sidewalks 10
Bike/ped signals 10
Safe routes for non-drivers 10
Shared-use path facility 10
 Lighting to enhance safety 5
 On-road bicycle improvements 5
Historic preservation/archeology 5
 Control or removal of outdoor advertising 1
Environmental mitigation 1
Turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas 1
 Vegetation management 1

Factor: Safety

Measure Points
High positive impact 5
Medium positive impact 3
 Low positive impact 1
No impact 0

Factor: Consistency with OKI Plan Recommendations

Measure Points
Identified as an OKI plan recommendation 10
Consistent with an OKI plan recommendation 5
Not consistent with an OKI plan recommendation 0

Factor: Connections

Measure Points
Complete network gaps 10
 New 6
Replace 4
No connections made 0

Factor: Project Status

Measure Points
 Construction and/or ROW plans complete 10
 P/E and Environmental complete (NEPA, ADA) 8
Categorically exempt for NEPA 7
 Initial request for construction funding only 5
Initial request for construction and ROW funding 2

Planning Factors for All Projects (60 points available)

  1. Environmental Justice factor awards points to projects that will have an overall net benefit to minority and low-income population groups per Executive Order 12898 issued by President Clinton in February 1994.  The basis for Environmental Justice is Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The OKI Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, which reviews project applications for funding and awards points for this factor, also examines a project’s impact on zero-car households, elderly persons and persons with disabilities. The overall net benefit in the scoring indicates a subjective consideration of both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE impacts.  It is understood that when federal funds are involved there are federal guidelines that must be met to ensure that services and benefits are fairly distributed to all people, regardless of race, national origin or income, and that they have access to meaningful participation.  Refer to Title 42 of the United States Code.  A response to this section is required in order for the project to be funded even if the project is not located within one of the designated Environmental Justice (EJ) communities.
  2. Economic Vitality: Existing Employment within ½ mile: The link between transportation and the benefits of commerce is well established. Applications will be scored from 0 to 5 points based on the number of existing jobs within ½ mile of the project area. OKI staff will perform the scoring of this element.
    1. Economic Vitality: Investment Bonus / Employment Bonus: Applicants will also have the opportunity to earn up to 5 bonus points for documented job creation and/or real or capital investment within the transportation project area. The applicant will provide clear evidence of the relationship between the proposed transportation project and the (permanent) jobs and/or investment criteria to earn the bonus points. Jobs related to the construction itself is not included in the number of jobs created.
  3. 3.Air Quality/Energy factor relates to continued efforts to improve the regional air quality and encourage investment in more environmentally friendly forms of fuel use. A reduction in VMT (vehicle miles of travel), VHT (vehicle hours of travel), or emissions reduced can be combined to receive a score of up to 5 points. If two of the three items are reduced, 4 or 5 points will be awarded. If only one item is reduced, 1 to 3 points will be awarded. If a project has no or negligible impact a score of zero is awarded. Examples of these measures include the use of diesel engine pollution control devices (emissions reduced), intersection signal improvements (VHT reduced), construction of a new roadway link reducing circuitous travel (VMT reduced), or a new compressed natural gas bus on a new route (all three).

17. Intermodal Connections factor awards up to 5 points for projects that involve new and direct connections between modes. Examples of this are such things as park and ride facilities, or a new sidewalk to a bust stop.

18. Replacement/Expansion factor gives preference to projects that invest in replacement rather than new facilities, reflecting the expressed priority in OKI’s long range plan to maintain what currently exists before investing in new infrastructure. The points associated with this criterion take into account that some expansion projects involve a certain amount of replacement; the points for this criterion are awarded based on percentage of replacement versus percentage of expansion associated with the project.

19. Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP) Implementation factor examines the ability of the project to help implement the policies of OKI’s Strategic Regional Policy Plan. The policies within the SRPP were envisioned by the Land Use Commission to be implemented concurrently by OKI, local governments and other organizations. Implementation of these policies will help bring about more consistency between local land use planning and regional transportation planning to create a more efficient and more accessible regional transportation network that serves the needs of individual communities.

20. Local Planning factor awards up to 5 points and examines the degree to which a project helps to implement the Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP) through effective local comprehensive planning. A central objective of OKI’s SRPP is for each local government to have an up-to-date comprehensive plan that links transportation, land use, economic development, public facilities, housing, natural resources, recreation, intergovernmental coordination and capital improvements. The SRPP emphasizes complete and current local government comprehensive plans as a means to a more efficient multi-modal regional transportation system. The SRPP responds to the Land Use Commission’s mission to bring more consistency between regional transportation planning and local land use planning. Since not all communities have complete and up-to-date comprehensive plans, OKI will again consider and award up to 5 points to proposed transportation projects that are consistent with a comprehensive plan or other discrete studies or plans such as thoroughfare plans, corridor studies, small area plans or other planning documents if the applicant can demonstrate that the plan meets similar analysis and content criteria.

21. Local Share factor rewards applicants that increase their local share to “overmatch” the required rate for local participation. The standard match rate for OKI-allocated funds is 20 percent; however, the applicant can gain up to a maximum of 10 points through overmatching.

22. Applicant’s History of Project Delivery takes into account whether an applicant has had projects slip from one fiscal year to a later year after the project has been programmed. While external factors can affect the delivery of a project, it is important for OKI to maintain a balanced budget of projects to be delivered each fiscal year. The potential for slippage needs to be addressed when a project is initially programmed. Based on projects programmed in the active TIP at the time of application, an applicant who has had one project slip to a later year will be penalized -3 points; an applicant who has had two or more projects slip to a later year will be penalized -5 points; an applicant who has had one or more projects cancelled will be penalized -10 points.

  1. Transit projects, roadway projects, bike/ped projects and non-roadway freight projects will be reviewed separately using their respective factors (transportation factors) as shown on the following pages. This will allow a determination of the relative strength of a roadway project compared to other roadway projects, transit projects compared to other transit projects and non-roadway projects compared to one another—an “apples to apples” methodology.
  1. Each application will then be reviewed using the planning factors for all projects.
  2. The Prioritization Subcommittee will develop a recommended ranking of all projects based on the review of transportation and planning factors and present this list to the ICC.  The ICC will review the recommendations to determine that “Regional Priorities” are achieved through the suggested rankings.
  3. After the ICC develops a final ranking of STP projects, this recommended list will be presented to the OKI Executive Committee or Board of Directors for concurrence.

Factor: Environmental Justice

Measure Points
Overall net benefits (good to excellent) 4-5
Overall net benefits (fair to good) 2-3
Overall net benefits (none to fair) 0-1

Note: NET benefit for Environmental Justice indicates a subjective consideration of both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE impacts.

Factor: Economic Vitality | Existing Employment1

Measure Points
Existing employment within ½ mile of project 5000+ 5
Existing employment within ½ mile of project 2500 to 4999 4
Existing employment within ½ mile of project 1000 to 2499 3
Existing employment within ½ mile of project 750 to 999 2
Existing employment within ½ mile of project 500 to 749 1
Existing employment within ½ mile of project 0 to 499 0

Factor: Economic Vitality |Investment Bonus2

Measure Points
New Investment in the project area more than $20M 5
New Investment in the project area $15M to $20M 4
New Investment in the project area $10M to$15M 3
New Investment in the project area $5M to $10M 2
New Investment in the project area $1M to $5M 1
New Investment in the project area less than $1M 0

Factor: Economic Vitality |Employment Bonus3

Measure Points
New employment within ½ mile of project 200+ 5
New employment within ½ mile of project 100 to 200 4
New employment within ½ mile of project 75 to 100 3
New employment within ½ mile of project 50 to 75 2
New employment within ½ mile of project 25 to 50 1
New employment within ½ mile of project 0 to 25 0

Factor: Air Quality/Energy (VMT,VHT,Emissions)

Measure Points
2 or more Reduced 3 to 5
1 or more Reduced 0 to 3

Factor: Intermodal Connections

Measure Points
New interactions and/or connections of 3 or more modes 5
New interactions and/or connections of 2 or more modes 3
No new interactions or connections between modes 0

Factor: Replacement/Expansion

Measure Points
100% Replacement 5
75% Replacement/25% Expansion 4
50% Replacement/50% Expansion 3
25% Replacement/75% Expansion 2
100% Expansion 1

Factor: SRPP Local Planning – Based on answers, up to 5 points

Measure Points
Consistent–comprehensive plan complete & current 5
Consistent–comprehensive plan needs improvement 3
Inconsistent–no comprehensive plan 0

Factor: Local Share

Measure Points
50% or above of estimate 10
45% to 49% of estimate 8
40% to 44% of estimate 6
35% to 39% of estimate 4
30% to 34% of estimate 2
20% of project estimate (Required local amount) 0

Factor: History of Project Delivery

Measure Points
1 project sale slipped past programmed year -3
2 or more projects slipped past programmed year -5
project canceled -10

Factor: Local Share

Measure Points
Very High Impact 10
High Impact 7
Moderate Impact 5
Low Impact 3

  1. OKI staff can assist or provide this figure using GIS applications.
  2. Applicant must provide evidence from a study using generally accepted principals of economic analysis. Higher significance will be placed on the percentage of employment with earnings above the state median income.
  3.  Applicant must provide evidence from a study using generally accepted principals of economic analysis.  Employment should be new employment for the region (not a shift from elsewhere in the region).