Most schools have some way that the physical environment for walking or bicycling to school could be improved for its students. The process of identifying the schools and specific locations that have the greatest need for pedestrian infrastructure improvements can be time consuming, especially when it must be done on a city-wide or district-wide scale. The National Center for Safe Routes to School has prepared a new resource, Safety-based Prioritization of Schools for Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Projects: A Process for Transportation Professionals, that describes a straightforward way to tackle the task.
First, the resource guides readers through the process of prioritizing schools – identifying the schools with the greatest need and the greatest potential for improvement. Then, it offers a way to conduct field reviews of the highest-priority schools to further identify conditions and infrastructure needs.
An accompanying Excel worksheet provides a place to track and document information gathered about each school and its relative priority for pedestrian improvements.
“In the development phase, we worked with engineers who pilot-tested the prioritization process in two locations,” said Nancy Pullen-Seufert, Associate Director for the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “The process was subsequently featured in an article in the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Journal. It’s our hope that this process makes a possibly daunting task more manageable in a way that offers transparency for communities.”
To learn more, access this resource at www.saferoutesinfo.org/program-tools/prioritizing-infrastructure-projects.
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 with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, the National Center also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts for U.S. Walk to School Day and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.