Task Force Releases Recommendations for Advancing Safe Routes to School

CHAPEL HILL, NC — 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.  Access the full report.

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 demand for Safe Routes to School programs in communities across the US exceeds the available amount available,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School and Task Force member. “In nearly every state that has awarded program funding so far, there were more applications than what the states could fund.”

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.

The Task Force includes members from the health, transportation, and education industries as well as state government, local agencies and non-profit organizations. View a complete list of Task Force members.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School assists communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school. Established in May 2006, the Center strives to equip Safe Routes to School programs with the knowledge and technical information to implement safe and successful strategies. The Center is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.