Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Active Transportation Program

The 2022 application window has closed. Please check back in spring 2023 for the next opportunity to apply.

Planning Assistance solicitation guide

Our program will help your community create an active transportation plan with help from a consultant. The goal is to help more people safely walk and bicycle to destinations where they live, work and play. Active transportation plans will:

  • Analyze existing conditions
  • Engage the community
  • Identify ways to improve infrastructure
  • Identify ways to encourage active transportation

How it works

  • We'll award up to $400,000 worth of consultant support through the Active Transportation Program each year from 2022 through 2024.
  • Your community doesn't receive funding directly from MnDOT.
  • Your community receives help from a selected consultant. We don't require the community to provide matching funds.
  • The consultant provides monthly reports, and we review them to ensure progress on plans.
  • For more information, see the Active Transportation Program Planning Assistance guide (PDF)

Timing of planning assistance

  • Round 1: Begin work in fall 2022, and finish by June 2023
  • Round 2: 2023
  • Round 3: 2024

Eligible groups

  • Cities
  • Counties
  • Federally recognized tribal nations
  • Regional development organizations
  • Metropolitan planning organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations and other groups (with letter of support from local government who will own the plan)

Multiorganization collaborative applications are also welcome through this solicitation.

Application process

Follow our application guidance

List the name of the organization applying for planning assistance and the application lead’s contact information. This person will be notified of final decisions and will be expected to communicate award announcements to the rest of the Active Transportation Program partners. The project lead will represent the planning team during project submission and will be invited to participate in development opportunities during the planning process. This section is not scored.

Provide details on the type of plan and communities that will be involved in the planning process. Brief descriptions of each plan type are included in the application.

  • Active Transportation Plan: A combined plan focused on walking, bicycling, and other types of human-powered or human-speed mobility
  • Bike Plan or Bicycle Master Plan: A plan focused on bicycling
  • Pedestrian Plan: A plan focused on walking
  • Active Transportation Corridor Plan: A plan focused on active transportation modes within one transportation corridor.
  • Parks and Trails Master Plan: A plan focused on active transportation related to parks and trails
  • Active Transportation Plan Update: An update to an existing active transportation plan. If requesting an update, provide rationale for why the update is needed.
  • Other plan update: If selected, describe the type of plan you are proposing.

Provide any details on the need that a planning process could help fulfill for people walking and bicycling. If there are any plans, policies, or construction that would adversely affect the progress of Active Transportation Program work in your community, list those in the follow up questions about policies that affect people walking and biking. This section is not scored.

Provide name and population data for each community (or neighborhood if more applicable) that will be involved in the planning process. This section is not scored.

A) Equity: Reaching Priority Populations

MnDOT’s Active Transportation Program aims to achieve equitable outcomes by funding initiatives that prioritize communities who are more likely to rely on active transportation, are more vulnerable to unsafe traffic conditions, or have experienced historic disinvestment.

The Active Transportation Equity Score uses 15 indicators to identify locations in Minnesota that likely have a greater need for Active Transportation investment. The maximum score awarded to a hexagon in the analysis was 13 points. Points will be awarded to applicants proportionally compared to the maximum awarded score based on the applying community’s equity score.

Calculations of equity scores will be conducted by MnDOT Office of Transit and Active Transportation staff. The scores to be used can be viewed on MnDOT’s Active Transportation Equity Score Web App. This app allows viewers to preview scores throughout the state and develop an understanding of how scores will be calculated.

As an example, the table below shows scores and the percentage of the total area for a hypothetical application. OTAT staff would calculate an area-weighted average to arrive at an overall score for the area in question. For this example, assume the applying area is 2.5 hexagon area units. The following table shows how the area-weighted average would be calculated.

Hexagon Score Percentage of Total Final Score
4 20% 0.8
5 20% 1
8 20% 1.6
9 40% 3.6
Total 100% 7

For corridor planning projects, the length of the corridor will be used in the weighted average calculation instead of area.

B. Narrative Response

Applicants will be asked to provide information about how the proposed plan will address equity in any way that would not be readily identified by the Active Transportation Equity Tool. This could include finding ways to mitigate barriers within the community, provide broader access to a community resource, address historic disinvestment, or invest in communities that have been historically marginalized.

A) Describe the unique barriers and needs your community, city, or county have that makes walking and biking challenging for people, especially priority populations. Priority populations include People of Color, children and youth, Native American people, people with low incomes, small rural communities, older adults, and people with disabilities. Describe how this planning process will engage the community and key stakeholders to identify policy, systems and built environment changes to improve walking and biking conditions for all.

B) Describe how this plan fits into and/or supports larger community goals. Applicants might consider comprehensive planning efforts, city/county transportation plans, local public health initiatives, school district wellness policies, traffic safety goals, complete streets policies and active living plans in the answer.

A robust, well rounded and engaged Active Transportation Program team is critical for the successful development and implementation of an Active Transportation Program Plan. The applicant should aim to demonstrate individual commitment to the team from a variety of sectors.

  • A) Provide a team leader who will co-lead the planning process with the statewide consultant and assist with organizing meetings, local engagement, and tracking progress on the plan.
  • B) Provide the Active Transportation Program with the following information in the question A table:
    • a) Provide names and/or titles of active/committed team members
    • b) Provide their role on the team and how they will contribute to plan development and implementation. Examples of roles may include team lead, city planning support, community outreach, etc. Consider the skills, knowledge or connections that could be valuable for during the planning process that is unique to each of these individuals. More ideas on how various team members can contribute to an Active Transportation Program team.
  • A) Using the 6Es - education, encouragement, engagement, equity, engineering and evaluation - briefly discuss the Active Transportation Program specific activities that currently happen in your community or have occurred within the last two years. Examples might include the following:
    • Crosswalk safety campaigns
    • Bike rodeos or safety courses
    • Infrastructure improvements for walking and biking
    • Teaching Walk! Bike! Fun! curriculum or components of the curriculum
    • Bike Libraries or bike share programs
  • B) What is your team’s vision for a successfully implemented Active Transportation Program plan? In other words, what is the best outcome that you can imagine from a completed plan? What do you plan to accomplish after the planning process? Consider including who will be involved and by when in your implementation.

Attach the following unique letters of support:

  • City staff or City administrator letter of support from each City that will be covered in the plan and/or a County official letter if this will be a County or Regional level plan.
  • Letter of support from the local partner (Pedestrian/Bicycle group, Local Public Health, SRTS or TZD committee, etc.)

After you apply

Initial review

We'll screen applications to ensure that they meet the following requirements:

  • Submitted by the deadline
  • Complete
  • Meet eligibility requirements

Classification by community population

Program administrators will group applicants by Legislative City designations (PDF) to accurately compare similar communities in lieu of dividing applicants by Metro and Greater Minnesota:

  • First class: More than 100,000
  • Second class: Between 20,001 and 100,000
  • Third class: Between 10,001 and 20,000
  • Fourth class: 10,000 or fewer
  • We'll assign counties to a class based on their population.
  • We'll assign the class of joint applications based on the largest applicant's population.

Committee evaluation

Review committees include internal MnDOT staff and partner agencies. External stakeholders from the Active Transportation Program Statewide Steering Committee provided guidance for scoring criteria, and the Active Transportation Program's Non-Infrastructure Advisory Committee recommends adoption of award decisions.

These sections are reviewed by the selection committee but not scored.

A) Equity Score to prioritize resources towards marginalized populations and communities (30 points)

B) Narrative response to how the potential plan would advance equity (10 points)

The number of points received for the equity score are a weighted average of the application’s subject area as a percentage multiplied by the number of points available.

Continuing the example from earlier in the guide, a community scoring 7 out of 15 would receive a score of:

(7/15) x 30 = 14 (with any rounding to the nearest whole point). In this example, the application would score 14 points for this section, plus any additional points awarded for the narrative section B.

A) Description of need and use of plan, and potential to get more people walking and bicycling. (15 points)

  • 0-5 points: Application does not have a clear sense of how this plan will advance walking and bicycling.
  • 6-10 points: Application identifies either need for the plan or potential to get people walking and bicycling, but not both.
  • 11-15 points: Application responds to multiple aspects of active transportation with an understanding of how the plan will move the community towards the stated goals.

B) How does this plan fit into community goals? (5 points)

  • The successful applicant will clearly describe how the Active Transportation Program fits into their community goals.

Active Transportation Team members and roles (20 points)

  • 0-9 points: Most of the team is missing or is not yet identified
  • 10-15 points: There is a good mix of team members, could use more support
  • 16-20 points: There is a good mix of team members and all the necessary partners are involved with clear and unique roles.

A) Using the 6Es, discuss existing Active Transportation Program activities. (5 points)

  • 0 points: No Active Transportation work is occurring
  • 1-3 points: Some work has happened in the past or is occurring in some of the E areas.
  • 5 points: Active Transportation activities are happening, and clearly described in the application.

B) What is your team's vision for a successful Active Transportation Plan? What do you plan to accomplish after the planning process? (10 points)

  • The successful applicant will have a clearly demonstrated vision including who will be involved and the timeline for future accomplishments is comprehensive.

Letters of Support (5 points)

  • Letters are unique in nature describing individual or organizational roles in planning and implementation.


  • We'll announce awards in summer 2022
  • We'll implement contracts in fall 2022

More information

If an application is not funded based on committee recommendations, the applicant may appeal the outcome by initiating an appeal. The appeal will rely on a written notice of appeal from the applicant that clearly states the organization's name, contact person, address, phone number, project description and the rationale for the appeal. The notice of appeal must be addressed to Mark Nelson, Director, MNDOT Office of Transit and Active Transportation and Active Transportation, 395 John Ireland Blvd, MS 430, St. Paul, MN 55155-1899.

In the event of an appeal:

  • Staff will verify that the notice of appeal was postmarked no later than 14 calendar days from the date by which MnDOT notified the applicant’s funding status (award).
  • The Office of Transit and Active Transportation director will review any appeal and provide a written response within 10 working days.

Pursuant to Minn. Stat. §13.599 Names and addresses of grant applicants will be public data once responses are opened. All remaining data in proposed responses (except trade secret data as defined and classified in §13.37) will be public data after the evaluation process is completed (for the purposes of this grant, when all grant agreements have been fully executed). All data created or maintained by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as part of the evaluation process (except trade secret data as defined and classified in §13.37) will be public data after the evaluation process is completed (for the purposes of this grant, when grant agreements have been fully executed).

Pursuant to Minn. Stat. 13.03, subd. 1, all government data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by a government entity shall be public unless classified by statute, or temporary classification pursuant to section 13.06, or federal law, as nonpublic or protected nonpublic, or with respect to data on individuals, as private or confidential. The responsible authority in every government entity shall keep records containing government data in such an arrangement and condition as to make them easily accessible for convenient use. Photographic, photostatic, microphotographic, or microfilmed records shall be considered as accessible for convenient use regardless of the size of such records.

Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) refer to a common set of accepted accounting principles, standards, and procedures that a recipient, and any third-party contractor, and their accountants must follow when they compile their financial statements. (See also Minn. Stat. section 15.17, subd. 1) The records must permit audit verification of grantee cost allocations claimed during the contract period. It is important to keep good records for all labor and material expenditures. Only reasonable costs directly related to and necessary for conducting the business of the public transit system are allowed. A cost is considered reasonable if, in its nature or amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person as ordinary and necessary for the operations. Regardless of when an expense invoice is received or paid by the grantee, the expense must be billed to MnDOT in the grant agreement period in which the expense was incurred. If applicable, the financial records of the recipient must be audited. Audits occur by the MnDOT audit department and when applicable, as part of an independent audit.

Monthly progress reports will be delivered to the MnDOT Project Manager for each community receiving planning assistance through the program from the start of the planning process through plan completion. Selected communities and the consultant will be expected to work together to submit accurate, timely progress reports.