From all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 4,281 schools registered Walk to School Day events, setting a new Walk to School Day record.
“Credit for the success of Walk to School Day 2012 is shared widely,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which serves as the coordinating agency for the event.
“Much of the credit has to go to the parents, school administrators and local officials who have brought Safe Routes to School programs to their communities,” Marchetti continued. “Credit also belongs to the state Safe Routes to School coordinators, who work hard to improve safety and promote students getting to school by foot and bicycle.”
Other success factors in 2012 include:
“Walk to School Day continues to build momentum here in the U.S. and around the world,” Marchetti said, “and continues to bring visibility to the benefits of walking and bicycling to school for children, families, schools and communities.”
Walk to School Day began in the US in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. In 2000, the event became International Walk to School Day when the UK, Canada and US joined together for the first time. To accommodate growing interest around the world, organizers began promoting International Walk to School Month for the entire month of October.
Today, thousands of schools across America and in more than 40 countries worldwide celebrate walking to school every October. The officially promoted Walk to School Day this year was Wednesday, October 3, but Walk to School Day events take place throughout the month, even spilling into September and November.
This year’s registration topped 2011’s record total of 4,175. Many more communities celebrated Walk to School Day, but didn’t register their event. Walk to School Day registration has grown every year since the National Center for Safe Routes to School began coordinating the event in 2006.
Other interesting registration facts:
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 clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts and provides technical support and resources for U.S. Walk to School Day and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation.
The National Center is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit saferoutesinfo.com.