National Safe Routes to School Task Force releases final report

The National Safe Routes to School Task Force has released its final report, Safe Routes to School: A Transportation Legacy — A National Strategy to Increase Safety and Physical Activity among American Youth. To access the full report, please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/about-us/mission-and-history/task-force.

The Task Force was called for in law and established by the U.S. Department of Transportation to study and develop a strategy for advancing programs that enable and encourage children to walk and bicycle to school. Among the recommendations made by the Task Force are to effectively spend current Federal SRTS funds, initiate innovative solutions to advance SRTS and encourage support from SRTS stakeholders at the local, state and national level. The Task Force also recommends an increase in funding for the program at the Federal level.

The report outlines the early successes of the Federal Safe Routes to School program. As of March 2008, states have committed to spending approximately $222 million on SRTS programs. Forty two states have announced funding for local and/or statewide programs involving nearly 2600 schools. The remaining states are either working to set up their programs or are in various stages of the first application cycle.

The report also outlines the importance of advancing opportunities and addressing challenges that face Safe Routes to School. The Task Force recommends working on solutions to address issues that limit or prevent walking and bicycling such as liability concerns from schools, the design and location of school campuses and personal safety concerns among parents.