Community problems & solutions

Walking School Bus Program Helps Move a Neighborhood Forward in Springfield, Mass.

The back-to-school season this year has led to a media spotlight on how children get to school, particularly how they can walk to school safely.

Chicago, where elementary school closings led to 13,000 students being assigned to new schools, has drawn national attention from the likes of The New York Times, CBS News and NPR for its “Safe Passage” program to promote safe walking for students.

Upload File: 

New Mexico Village Finds Safe Routes, Sense of Community Along Acequias

In Corrales, New Mexico, traffic related to elementary school student drop-offs and pick-ups had gotten so bad that in April 2005 the village held a special council meeting to discuss the subject.

The litany of problems was crushing. Upwards of 250 vehicles would arrive at Corrales Elementary each day to drop-off and pick-up children. These vehicles overwhelmed the school zone, blocked the shoulder for pedestrians, blocked the road for through traffic, blocked neighbors’ driveways, and led to prohibited pick-ups and drop-offs in the parking lots of nearby businesses.

Upload File: 

Chagrin Falls, Ohio: Comprehensive Safe Routes to School Program built around village cooperation and core goals of safety and encouragement

Safe Routes Chagrin is a truly cooperative endeavor which has improved safety and encouraged more students to walk and bike while building a sustainable program supported by the entire community.


Chagrin Falls is a village of about 4,000 residents located 17 miles southeast of Cleveland.  The village school system includes an elementary school (grades K-3), an intermediate school (grades 4-6, school population about 480), a middle school (grades 7-8, school population about 320), and a high school.

January Webinar: Walk Talk— The SRTS Call-In Show Webinar

Think talk radio is just for radio?  Think again.

From Mr. Anthony in the 1930s to Click and Clack, Joe and Terry, Rush, and Diane Rehm today, people love the call-in format.  We ask questions, we get answers.  Simple.

People who work on SRTS programs are no different.  We like answers to our questions, too.  And now we have our own call-in show, sort of, offering expert advice to overcome the challenges we face in achieving our most ardent SRTS dreams.

Joke contest hatches award winning Safe Routes to School program

[Editor’s note: This article is longer than the normal Safe Routes Matters article, but with good reason: it is chock-full of great ideas for Safe Routes to School programs.  We have included links to key ideas to make navigating easier.]
Key Ideas
Evaluation and planning  ||  Improving infrastructure
Upload File: 

Minimizing Your Liability Risk

This fact sheet, developed in 2010 by the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), a ChangeLab Solutions project, explains why liability fears shouldn’t stop school districts from supporting SRTS programs.  It provides an overview of liability and negligence, and offers practical tips on how school districts and others can reduce their risk of liability.

Observation of a School: Understanding Walking and Biking Safety Issues

The best way to understand walking and bicycling safety issues at a particular school is by observing students arriving or departing during a normal school day. This includes observing children as they walk or bike the routes to school, how they cross streets, the interactions they have with cars and buses on the school campus, and how they make their way to the school door. The goal is to identify two main things:

December Webinar: Fresh Ideas from the 2012 Oberstar SRTS Award Program

As the importance of drawing upon community assets to sustain SRTS programs continues to grow, thinking beyond the "usual suspects" as partners is more important than ever.  In this sixty minute program, we will highlight partner ideas from four outstanding programs that provide wonderful examples of building strong ties with other community organizations.

Safe Routes to School as a Catalyst for Community Change in Montpelier, Vermont

Six years ago, Community Connections, a local nonprofit that runs afterschool programs in Montpelier, Vt., public schools, identified a need to get students more physically active during the school day.  The organization saw the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program as the perfect way to get students excited about physical activity.

After receiving a non-infrastructure SRTS grant from the state, Community Connections spent the next two years running programs that concentrated on the five E’s: Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation and Engineering.

Third Grader’s Wish for a Safe Route to School Becomes a Community Cornerstone Project in Naknek, Alaska

Even in remote Naknek, Alaska, kids need safe routes to school.  Isabel Babiak knew that when she was an eight-year-old third grader.  She and her school friends feared the off highway vehicles (OHV) speeding on the narrow gravel roads they walked, and they suffered from breathing in vehicle exhaust fumes trapped low to the ground near their school by Alaska’s temperature inversion patterns.