CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Sept. 25, 2012) — The National Center for Safe Routes to School and the UNC Highway Safety Research Center are pleased to announce that the National Center has received a Harvard Bright Ideas in Government award for its efforts to engage communities in school travel data collection and, in turn, to make program decisions based on this collected information.
The National Center, which serves as the information clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program that enables and encourages children to safely walk and bicycle to school, provides resources to make collecting and summarizing school travel data as easy and straightforward as possible for communities and states. These resources help those involved in local Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs collect, enter, and analyze their data. Hundreds of local programs and thousands of schools are using these resources to gather information about their local programs.
“The Bright Idea in Government award is a tremendous honor for the National Center, and the data system would not have been successful without a fundamental desire by local and state organizers to make data-driven program decisions,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “Thank you to Safe Routes to School State Coordinators, program coordinators and local supporters for not only using this system but also for helping us improve our resources along the way. Together, we have helped the Federal Safe Routes to School program make a larger impact on our nation’s school children.”
There are many benefits to collecting data related to SRTS. At the local level, it can help guide the planning process and give information on how a program is working. At the state level, participation in the national data collection effort is often required in order to apply for and receive SRTS funds. At the national level, researchers can analyze the data compiled by the National Center to identify and understand national trends and effective SRTS program strategies.
Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Awards Program launched the Bright Ideas in Government award in 2010 to recognize and promote creative government partnerships. This year’s Bright Ideas in Government winners hail from all levels of government—including school districts, county, city, state, and federal agencies as well as public-private partnerships—and demonstrate a creative range of solutions to issues such as urban and rural degradation, environmental problems, and the academic achievement of students. Programs were evaluated and selected by a team of policy experts from academic and public sectors.
“Government innovation does not require endless resources and generous budgets,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government Program
at the Ash Center. “As exemplified by this year’s Bright Ideas, some of our country’s smartest innovations can in fact reduce government’s size while serving our citizens more efficiently and effectively.”
About the National Center for Safe Routes to School
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the information clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts for Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day in the U.S. and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation in International Walk to School Day. The National Center is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org
For more information, contact:
UNC Highway Safety Research Center
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