The National Center for Safe Routes to School has released new resources to assist local communities in evaluating their Safe Routes to School programs. The Center has launched the Evaluation section within the SRTS Guide available at www.saferoutesinfo.org/guide/evaluation.
The new section includes a step-by-step process for conducting an evaluation with an accompanying worksheet for program implementers to organize their program information for each step. It also reviews the benefits of evaluation and how the timing of evaluation corresponds to the life of a SRTS program.
Readers are also given an overview of commonly used ways to collect data, including the standardized data collection forms developed by the Center in 2007. The Student Travel Tally is used to identify frequency of various transportation modes for travel to school. The Parent Survey, also available in a Spanish-language version, measures parent attitudes that may influence whether children are allowed to walk or bicycle to school.
Using these forms, programs can either enter their own data into the Center's Web-based data entry system available at www.saferoutesinfo.org/tracking or send completed data collection forms to the Center for processing. Using this information, programs are able to generate reports about their SRTS activities. The Center will also be able to establish baseline information from which program elements will be evaluated.
These new resources are a component of a comprehensive national research program launched by the Center to determine the impact of Safe Routes to School programs. The research program will result in the collection of nationwide SRTS-related data and the identification of effective SRTS strategies.
Additional elements of the Center's research program include: