Making the case

What are Safe Routes to School programs?

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are sustained efforts by parents, other community members, community leaders and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school.

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Why is it important to develop a Safe Routes to School program?

Residents of communities today struggle with motor vehicles clogging roads, motor vehicle emissions polluting the environment and more children engaging in less physical activity and growing overweight. These problems may seem to be separate issues, but Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs can address all these challenges through a coordinated action plan.

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How did Safe Routes to School begin?

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) concept began in Denmark in the late 1970s as part of a very successful initiative to reduce the number of children killed while walking and bicycling to school. Safe Routes to School spread internationally, with programs springing up in throughout Europe, in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

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What are the barriers to children walking school?

Many factors make it difficult or impossible for children to walk to school. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published the findings from nationwide surveys of parents who identify barriers that prevent them from allowing their children to walk to school. In the 2004 survey, 1,588 adults answered questions about barriers to walking to school for their youngest child aged 5 to 18 years. Parents cited one or more of the following six reasons.(1)

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What are the health benefits for children who walk or bicycle to school?

Two recent studies have found that walking to school is associated with higher overall physical activity throughout the day.(1)(2) There are many potential benefits of physical activity for youth including(3)(4):

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How can Safe Routes to School affect traffic surrounding the school?

National level data from 2009 show that personal motor vehicles taking K-12th grade students to school accounted for five to seven percent of vehicle miles traveled and 10 to 14 percent of all personal vehicle trips made during the morning peak period (7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.) in 2009.(1)  Older data suggested that twenty to twenty-five percent of morning rush hour traffic is attributable to parents driving their children to school.(2)(3)

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Safe Routes to School Federal Program Guidelines

The website for the Federal Safe Routes to School Program includes information on the federal guidance, an overview of the federal funding and a series of frequently asked questions.

Authoring Organization: 
Federal Highway Administration

How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan

How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan will help state and local officials know where to begin to address pedestrian safety issues. It is also intended to assist agencies in further enhancing their existing pedestrian safety programs and activities, including identifying safety problems, analyzing information, and selecting optimal solutions. The guide also contains information on how to involve stakeholders, potential sources of funding for implementing projects and how to evaluate projects.

Authoring Organization: 
Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Resource File: