Regional Roadway Safety Action Plan Underway

The TPO recently initiated an effort to create a Regional Roadway Safety Action Plan. The work began in January to identify changes that can be made in our region to save lives and prevent serious injuries on our roadways. A task force made up of staff from the TPO, local government, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and Bike Walk Knoxville is guiding the planning process.

The plan focuses on the Knoxville Region, which includes Knoxville, Knox County and Farragut; portions of Anderson County, including Clinton and Oak Ridge; parts of Blount County, including Alcoa and Maryville; as well as Lenoir City and the City of Loudon in Loudon County. One of the elements of the plan will be a stand-alone Vision Zero Action Plan for the City of Knoxville.

A project page is now live, and a survey has been launched that will be available until March 20. The public is encouraged to take the survey to help the project team understand the experience of roadway users, provide an opportunity for locals to share their concerns and perceived risk factors, and to ask for feedback on potential safety strategies.

The plan is expected to be completed this summer. Once the plan is adopted, it will position the TPO and the local governments in the region to be able to apply for federal funding through the Safe Streets and Roads for All Program.

TPO Welcomes AmeriCorps Member

Kate Jones recently joined our team as our newest AmeriCorps Member.

Originally from Kansas City, she moved to Knoxville from Ohio earlier this year after graduating from the University of Dayton. While at Dayton she studied human rights and sociology and was introduced to planning when writing a paper about urban sprawl. Through that project she learned about the history of planning and redlining and discovered her interest in the field.

Afterwards she looked for opportunities to focus on local issues and policy, ultimately landing in a group called the Dayton Civic Scholars. As one of 15 students working with local non-profits, she completed an internship with the Collaboratory, a thinktank that provides support for people and organizations to create community initiatives. She also completed a capstone project with Gem City Market, a food co-op that was born out of a neighborhood plan and staffed entirely by neighborhood residents. Kate worked with the market to bring the community together around it, and specifically worked with the university to encourage students to patronize it.

Kate decided to serve with AmeriCorps for a year after graduation and is currently planning to pursue graduate school in the near future. She is interested in community planning and hopes her work with the TPO will help her make that decision. During her time here, Kate will focus on the Smart Trips program and other transportation-related projects.

When Kate is out of the office, you will likely find her hiking, camping, or spending time in the water. She also loves pop culture, podcasts, television, and reading. Be sure to give her a warm welcome if you see her at a community event or in our office!

Annual Planning Conference Held in Knoxville

The annual fall conference of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association, co-hosted by the Tennessee Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (TSITE), was held in Knoxville at the end of October. Planning and TPO staff contributed to planning the event, managing the schedule, creating a conference website, producing printed materials, presenting, and leading tours.

The conference, Inclusive Infrastructure for Today and Tomorrow, was an opportunity to collaborate, share, and discuss topics and trends related to the importance of planning for equity in transportation infrastructure, land use, and policies. Practicing planners and engineers, residents, students, and elected and appointed officials were able to attend numerous technical sessions, network, socialize and learn from each other about the fields of planning and engineering and how they connect.

Benito Perez, Policy Director for Transportation for America, was the keynote speaker. Transportation for America is an advocacy-based organization made up of leaders at local, state, and federal levels who envision a transportation system that prioritizes maintenance, designs for safety over speed, and connects people to jobs and services. His address, Reflecting on Our Past and Present to Reimagine Our State of the Practice, was featured during the luncheon on Thursday.

Various other presentations and panel discussions were held over the course of three days, as well as afternoon tours. The tours offered a special look at Knoxville Area Transit’s electric buses and charging infrastructure, redevelopment along the South Waterfront, and local impacts of urban renewal.

For more information about the TAPA/TSITE conference and keynote address, visit

Pedestrian Activity and Safety – In the U.S. and the Knoxville Region

Smart Growth America recently released a new Dangerous by Design report that looks at pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. between 2016 and 2020 and how the pandemic impacted these trends. The report compares state and metropolitan areas based on the number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. It also estimates the change in walking activity between 2019 and 2020 based on data from cellphones and other mobile devices. 

A major theme in the report is the continual increase in people being struck and killed while walking. Although there was a decline in driving in 2020 due to the pandemic, there was also a 4.7 percent increase in people killed while walking. This trend of increasing pedestrian traffic deaths can be tracked back to 2009 and has continued into 2021. Specific to Tennessee, the state as a whole had the 17th worst pedestrian fatality rate, and saw an estimated 68 percent increase in walking activity in 2020 compared to 2019. Out of the 100 metropolitan areas ranked, Knoxville came in at number 63 for pedestrian deaths. Memphis was number three, Nashville was 41, and Chattanooga was 65. The report also estimates that the Knoxville area saw a 78 percent increase in walking activity in 2020 compared with 2019. That’s the third highest increase among all 100 metros. Birmingham, AL was ranked number one with an 82 percent increase, and Greenville, SC was ranked second with a 79 percent increase.

A newly released infographic from the TPO provides an analysis of similar information – pedestrian- and bicycle-related traffic crashes specific to Knoxville and the Region. That data shows that while major arterials make up only six percent of surface street mileage in Knoxville, they account for 43 percent of all pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and 35 percent of all serious injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists. According to the Dangerous by Design report, solutions to these issues should focus on lowering traffic speeds and changing the design of major arterials. The city has proven its commitment to traffic safety through recent measures such as the city-wide speed limit reduction on all unmarked neighborhood streets and a study conducted earlier this year to identify solutions to speeding on arterials and collectors.

Program of Projects Available for FY2022 FTA Sections 5307, 5310, 5339

The Executive Board of the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) will hold a Public Hearing at its regular meeting on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. in the Small Assembly Room of the City-County Building, 400 Main Street, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the purpose of considering public comment both written and oral on the proposed Program of Projects (POP) funded by Fiscal Year 2022 Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Transit, Section 5339 Bus and Bus Facilities, and Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility for Seniors & Individuals with Disabilities grant funds.

The proposed Program of Projects (POP) is a list of projects by each agency receiving FTA Section 5307, Section 5339, and Section 5310 funding. For FY2022 Knoxville Area Transit (KAT), Knox County CAC Transit, East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA), and the Knoxville Knox County Planning received funding.

The City of Knoxville is the official designated recipient of the FTA Section 5307 & 5339 funds. Knoxville Knox County Planning is the designated recipient of the Section 5310 funds. The times established for public review and for allowing public comment on the POP follow the TPO’s Transportation Improvement Plan public involvement process. If there are no changes, the POP will be considered final.

The proposed POP and additional information can be viewed at Interested persons, agencies, and private transportation providers are encouraged to participate. To be mailed or faxed a copy of the POP, or to provide comments contact Doug Burton at 400 Main Street, Suite 403, Knoxville, TN 37902; or at (865) 215-3824 or at Comments must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, 2022 to be read during the meeting. Clearly indicate your comments are on the POP and include your full name and email address. Comments received will be read into the record during the live meeting.

While not the official public hearing, the POP will be an agenda item at the TPO Technical Committee meeting on Tuesday, July 12, 2002 at 9:00 a.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the City-County Building, 400 Main Street, Knoxville, Tennessee. The TPO Technical Committee meeting is open to the public and persons can make comments or ask questions concerning the proposed POP. For more information on the TPO Technical Committee meeting visit