APPLE Sidewalk Project

The RPCGB’s APPLE Program

For this week’s blog, we asked Mike “Kaz” Kaczorowski, the Principal Planner of Transportation for the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (RPCGB), to dive into their APPLE program and its success story. Under his leadership, the program has made significant strides in supporting local governments and improving infrastructure across the Greater Birmingham region.

APPLE, which stands for Advance Planning, Programming, and Logical Engineering, is designed to assess project feasibility and support local governments in making informed decisions about their transportation projects. The main benefit of the APPLE program is that it enables municipalities to evaluate project feasibility before committing to full-scale design contracts. Through the APPLE program, the RPCGB helps local governments bridge the gap between planning and design. This ensures that complex, expensive, or undefined projects receive the necessary attention and analysis to move forward effectively.

The idea for the APPLE program emerged from the RPCGB’s recognition of a crucial gap between planning and design for many potential transportation projects. More specifically, several of the potential projects proposed by local municipalities needed an engineering firm to better define the project, collect appropriate data, and analyze the feasibility of the project.

The RPCGB staff set up the APPLE program and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved $400,000 of federal funding ($500,000 with local matching funds) annually. The first studies began in 2013, and to date, 60 studies have been completed or initiated for 27 different participating municipalities. The program has covered a wide range of transportation-related studies, including: 26 traffic operations studies, 21 trails/sidewalks/bike lane studies, 8 new roads, 2 transit studies, and 2 bridge studies.

In addition to determining the feasibility of potential projects, the APPLE program has been very useful in helping municipalities find the most appropriate funding to implement their projects. Many municipalities have used the information from the study to complete several different types of successful grant applications. In the 11-year history of the APPLE program over $3.5 million ($2.8M federal, $700K local) has been spent on the various studies.

Feedback from the municipalities that have utilized the program has been overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing appreciation for the benefits of the studies. Looking ahead, our goal is to expand the APPLE program beyond the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) area if a funding source becomes available. This expansion will allow us to support even more municipalities in their efforts to improve local infrastructure and transportation networks.

For more information about the APPLE program, including detailed reports on past projects and future plans, please visit the RPCGB’s website. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how the APPLE program can benefit your municipality, feel free to reach out to me directly at

Recently, Kaz and Scott Tillman of the RPCGB won the 2023 Alabama Section ITE Transportation Safety Award. The award goes to those who have made distinctive and substantial contributions to transportation safety in Alabama. The RPCGB, under their leadership, has been a leader in transportation safety planning in Alabama through APPLE studies and several other programs they lead and manage.