The GAO released a report in July (GAO-08-789) evaluating the first two years of the federal Safe Routes to School program. To view the full report, please browse to www.gao.gov/new.items/d08789.pdf.
The report gave a positive assessment of the new, national Safe Routes to School program, and recognized that its main legislative requirements have been achieved. The report recommended that Congress consider requiring a state or local funding match if the program is reauthorized. Report authors also recognized the efforts of the federal program and the clearinghouse (NCSRTS) to develop a framework for evaluating SRTS results, but believe a comprehensive plan to evaluate the program is still needed.
"We are pleased that the report recognizes the evaluation components that the NCSRTS has put in place, including standardized national data collection tools," said Lauren Marchetti, director, NCSRTS.
These components were not part of the original scope of work for the clearinghouse. The Federal Highway Administration added them to highlight the importance of data collection and evaluation to the success of Safe Routes to School.