Navigating the Active Transportation Program (ATP)
What is the Active Transportation Program?
The Active Transportation Program (ATP) was created in 2013 and is a highly competitive statewide grant program that provides funding roughly $220 million annually for California communities to implement walking, biking, trails, and Safe Routes to School projects, plans, and non-infrastructure programs. Call for projects occur in every even-numbered years, with the state and regional agencies awarding projects in the odd-numbered years. The ATP remains the sole source of dedicated funding for active transportation in California and represents the largest investment in walking, biking, and Safe Routes to School projects in the nation.
Each Cycle the funding is divided into 3 components: a Statewide Competition administered by the California Transportation Commission (CTC); a Small Urban/Rural competition also administered by CTC; and regional competitions administered by certain Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in the state. All communities in the state are eligible to submit an application in the Statewide Competition, while only communities that fall within specific MPO boundaries can apply to their specific regional competition. Communities that do not fall within the boundaries of an MPO that runs a regional program may apply to the Small Urban/Rural competition.
Who Can Apply?
Applicants to the program must be an entity that is able to enter into a Master Agreement with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). This typically includes:
Local, Regional, or State Agencies
Examples include: cities, counties, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Regional Transportation Planning Agencies, Natural Resource or Public Land Agencies
Public Schools or School Districts
Tribal Governments (Federally-recognized)
Private nonprofit tax-exempt organizations may apply for Recreational Trail Projects only
What Types of Projects are Funded?
The ATP funds a range of different project types. Project eligibility may change, so it is important to check the Program Guidelines each cycle. In general, the ATP funds:
Infrastructure Projects, including but not limited to: new or improved bikeways/walkways; Safe Routes to School/Transit projects; and bike parking
Non-Infrastructure Programs, including but not limited to: education, encouragement, evaluation, or enforcement programs; and temporary demonstrations/pop up events
Community-wide pedestrian, bicycle, Safe Routes to School, or active transportation plans in a disadvantaged community
Cal Walks Resources
Active Transportation Resource Team
This is a collaboration between Cal Walks, California Bicycle Coalition, Local Government Commission, and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy that develops and provides resources and tools to communities on active transportation and the ATP.
California Transportation Commission ATP Website
This website contains the Program Guidelines adopted for each Cycle, as well as the full applications of past successful submissions in the Statewide Competition.
Active Transportation Resource Center (ATRC)
The ATRC is a state-funded program that develops tools, trainings, and resources to aid applicants with active transportation issues more broadly, as well as with the ATP.
Caltrans ATP Website
This website provides more technical guidance on preparing an ATP application and managing an ATP award.