Regional Travel Options grant
From Portland Afoot
Regional Travel Options grants, also called RTO grants, are a competitive grant program funded by Metro that hands out about a dozen grants between $25,000 and $200,000 annually to nonprofits with ideas for reducing vehicle-miles traveled on the Oregon side of the Portland metro area.
The grants can be used to help pay for small infrastructure projects such as bike parking, academic research or programs that make it easier for commuters to choose low-car travel.
They must be fully spent within two years, and must affect a specific geographic area.
"It's the most flexible amount of money that we have in this program," Metro planner Dan Kaempff said in an August 2010 presentation on the grants.
 Local matching contribution required
As of 2010, 10.27 percent of the cost of RTO-funded pilot projects, or 50 percent of the cost of existing projects, must come from local sources.
This "local match" could include cash, private grants or in-kind contributions such as paid staff time or volunteer time. (Volunteer time, Metro planner Caleb Winter said, is usually priced at $20 to $25 per hour.)
 Scored by RTO subcommittee
 Search for new programs and innovation
"We're always looking for new ideas," Kaempff said. "We're not necessarily interested in funding the same things year after year."
 Federally funded
The grants ultimately come from the Federal Transit Administration's congestion mitigation and air quality (CMAQ) program.
 Past winners
In the 2009 to 2011 RTO grant cycle, 14 groups applied and the following 12 were selected:
- Lloyd TMA - $41,445 for Lloyd Links program, providing Lloyd employees with links form their residence to Lloyd area work sites through personal and direct assistance.
- TriMet Open Trip Planner - $68,930 to test the usability of an open source multi-modal trip planner system to increase mode share for bike, walk and transit trips during peak commute hours and reduce drive alone trips.
- Bicycle Transportation Alliance - $25,000 to support the bike commute challenge, workplace vs. workplace, to see which business, non-profit or public agency can get the most people biking in September.
- Portland Bureau of Transportation - $50,000 to support the new Sunday Parkways in North and Northeast Portland to provide a car-free environment.
- Westside Transportation Alliance Carefree Commuter Challenge - $38,000 for a metro-wide auto trip reduction program to help workplace transportation coordinators motivate employees to walk, bike, carpool, van pool or take transit.
- Wilsonville SMART - $80,000 to expand the SMART OPTIONS program by hiring a bike and pedestrian coordinator who will implement priorities set forth by City of Wilsonville's Bicycle and Pedestrian Transit master plan.
- Westside Transportation Alliance bike racks - $15,000 for a Bike Racks for Commuters program to make 35 staple racks available to businesses that participate in the Westside Transportation Alliance's Westside Commuter Club.
- TriMet bike park-and-ride - $50,000 for installation of 22 electronic-access bike lockers at Beaverton Transit Center.
- Swan Island TMA - $28,000 for a Trip Not Taken website, to reduce vehicle miles traveled by encouraging Swan Island employees to relocate to adjacent neighborhoods in North and inner Northeast Portland and helping residents to find job and career opportunities on Swan Island.
- City of Gresham - $50,000 for a network of pedestrian and bicycle way-finding signs to aid travelers in finding the locations of local amenities and facilities.
- Community Cycling Center - $78,625 for a culturally specific program to meet the bicycling needs of minority and low-income participants in North and Northeast Portland.
 See also
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