Record Numbers Celebrate Walkable, Active Local Communities During International Walk to School Month

Authoring Organization: 
National Center for Safe Routes to School

From all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, 4,447 schools registered Walk to School Day events, setting a new Walk to School Day record. It was another amazing year of ribbon cuttings on new sidewalks, bicycle safety clinics, elected officials and the quiet significance of a parent and child spending time together while getting some fresh air and stretching their legs.

“This one-day event is part of an international effort to encourage more families to enjoy the many benefits of safely walking and bicycling to school,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which coordinates national registration for the event.

The incredible diversity of local Walk to School Day events—not to mention the sheer volume of events—is truly astounding. 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 9, but Walk to School Day events take place throughout the month, even spilling into September and November.

This year’s registration topped 2012’s record total of 4,281. Many more communities celebrated Walk to School Day, but didn’t register their event. Walk to School Day registration has grown every year

Other interesting registration facts:

  • 41 percent of schools (1,855) registered Walk to School Day events for the first time in 2013;
  • 54 percent of registered events (1,629) are part of ongoing walking or bicycling to school promotional activities conducted throughout the year;
  • One of every 21 elementary and middle schools in the country registered a Walk to School Day event; and
  • 27 states surpassed their 2012 event registration totals, and 17 states set all-time event registration highs.

To see which schools participated in Walk to School Day 2013, go to www.walkbiketoschool.org/go/whos-walking/2013.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School coordinates registration for Walk to School Day and maintains the www.walkbiketoschool.org website with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Partners joining the National Center in the 2013 Walk to School Day celebration include America Walks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Let’s Move!, the National PTA, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, Safe Kids Worldwide, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For a complete list of other countries participating in International Walk to School Month, visit: www.iwalktoschool.org/whoswalking.