Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national and international movement to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from schools. The program has been designed to reverse the decline in children walking and bicycling to schools. Safe Routes to School can also play a critical role in reversing the alarming nationwide trend toward childhood obesity and inactivity.
In 1969, approximately 50% of children walked or bicycled to school, with approximately 87% of children living within one mile of school walking or bicycling. Today, fewer than 15% of schoolchildren walk or bicycle to school.
As a result, kids today are less active, less independent, and less healthy. As much as 20 to 30% of morning traffic can be generated by parents driving their children to schools, and traffic-related crashes are the top cause of death and major injury for children in the U.S. ages 1 to 17.
Concerned by the long-term health and traffic consequences of this trend, in 2005, the U.S. Congress approved $612 million in funding for five years of state implementation of SRTS programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Communities are using this funding to construct new bicycle lanes, pathways, and sidewalks, as well as to launch Safe Routes to School education, promotion and enforcement campaigns in elementary and middle schools.
Safe Routes to School programs are built on collaborative partnerships among many stakeholders that should include educators, parent, students, elected officials, engineers, city planners and engineers, business and community leaders, health officials, and bicycle and pedestrian advocates.
The most successful SRTS programs incorporate the five E’s evaluation, education, encouragement, engineering, and enforcement. The goal of Safe Routes to School is to get more children bicycling and walking to schools safely on an everyday basis.
To learn more about SRTS check out this video prepared by the League for American Bicyclists.
You can also find some helpful information about Safe Routes to Schools below:
For grant information to support your Safe Routes to Schools program or project:
Safe Routes to School News:
Safe Routes to School news around the country keeps growing! To learn more about what is happening across the Nation visit the Safe Routes Partnership
For additional information on how to get a Safe Routes to School program started in your area contact:
Steve Soenksen, Alaska Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Steve.Soenksen@alaska.gov,907.465.4069
If you would like to get a walking bus program started you can find more information at GreenStar.