Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Alliance for Biking & Walking and the League of American Bicyclists

Name of Innovative Program: 
Advocacy Advance Partnership
Sponsoring Organization
Alliance for Biking & Walking and the League of American Bicyclists
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Brighid O'Keane
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 
Mental health of individuals and populations improves with increased physical activity, such as walking and biking. Without safe transportation options and a built environment that encourage active transportation choices, people are unlikely to regularly walk and bike and are much less likely to meet the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity, which increases the rates of behavioral health disorders in the U.S.Advocacy Advance – a partnership between the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking & Walking – launched in 2009 to supercharge state and local advocates to maximize public funding spent on bicycle and pedestrian projects. Through policy and organizational capacity building expertise, Advocacy Advance explains the various transportation funding sources available and works with local advocates to build their political will to improve communities for biking and walking.Given overwhelming evidence that most adults do not meet physical activity guidelines, researchers in preventive and behavioral health have called for advocacy and planning groups to implement policy-based solutions to build new or modify existing environments that facilitate and encourage physical activity.  People of all age groups, income and racial backgrounds have much to gain when policies and funding decisions facilitate physical activity for transportation. 
Creativity and Innovation: 
There are rules, processes and programs governing public transportation funds. Some communities have been successful at taking advantage of the full range of opportunities, while others have not. Advocacy Advance is the only program that builds the political will to improve the health of communities through biking and walking by establishing transparency about funding rules and opportunities, tracking transportation planning and spending in every state, sharing best practices, and growing advocacy expertise and capacity.As the go-to resource on funding biking and walking projects through the federal transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century ("MAP-21"), Advocacy Advance provides cutting-edge workshops and resources to help communities tap into the full range of transportation dollars. By bringing together advocates and public agency officials from local transportation and public health departments, Advocacy Advance workshops have spurred new partnerships that have cumulatively accessed $27 million in public funding for active transportation.
Advocacy Advance takes the experiences of successful regions and spreads them to the rest of the country through organized trainings, strategic grants, technical assistance, and dynamic partnerships of elected officials, local advocacy organizations and agency staff.  Our credibility with transportation agency planners, engineers, and policy makers across the country is evident, as our resources have been cited by regional, state and federal transportation agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in its MAP-21 guidance. Advocacy Advance bridges federal policy and on-the-ground implementation. We are a trusted resource for communities as they plan, fund, evaluate, and build 21st century multi-modal transportation infrastructure. The Advocacy Advance team is led by two staff from the Alliance for Biking & Walking and two from the League of American Bicyclists. 
The Advocacy Advance program has been funded since 2009 by the SRAM Cycling Fund and since 2013 by Kaiser Permanente. To scale-up for maximum impact, Advocacy Advance delivers the technical assistance, grants and workshops that are key to the success of state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. We have built partnerships with many organizations through our workshops and resources including the American Public Health Association, United Way, AARP, Centers for Disease Control and the YMCA. 
To increase local capacity, we include a train-the-trainer model in our workshops. Through this “wholesale” approach, we equip local advocates, agency staff and elected officials with the resources they need to spread awareness and fund more projects. Our Rapid Response Grants help advocacy organizations take advantage of unexpected opportunities to win, increase, or preserve funding for biking and walking. As a part of the reporting process, organizations fill out campaign blueprints, which guide other advocates through the planning process without having to reinvent the wheel.  Additionally, we awarded multi-year Model Grants to Bike Pittsburgh and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to significantly increase investment for biking and walking infrastructure and programs. To date, nearly $10.5M has been won, and political leadership in both cities have committed to aggressive goals to increase bicycling and walking to improve their community’s health.
With a total program budget of $1,350,000, Advocacy Advance has leveraged $180,900,000 for biking and walking improvements across the country.  Our grants have funded campaigns in 29 states, winning or preserving $1,230 in public funding for every $1 invested. To date, we have facilitated 19 workshops in 17 states that have directly resulted in over $24.6 million in public funding for bicycling and pedestrian projects. Through workshops, conferences and webinars, we have reached more than 5,000 agency staff and advocates from all 50 states and over 240 regions. The task of distilling the complex processes of transportation funding into immediate successes is a huge job and Advocacy Advance efficiently and strategically targets resources to ensure quick gains and a long-term impact.