2007-2008 Summary Annual Report: Technical Assistance

Technical Assistance Highlights

  • Testified about the Federal Safe Routes to School program before the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the U.S. Congress.
  • Added cases to a growing compendium of over 127 Safe Routes to School case studies.
  • Briefed representatives of the Canadian government on the SRTS federal program. Transport Canada was interested in learning about the U.S. program as they looked to establish their own national program.
  • Added two new modules to SRTS Guide: (1) Media and Visibility and (2) Evaluation.
  • Hosted third annual SRTS state coordinator meeting May 12-14, 2008 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Online Technical Assistance

The NCSRTS web site continues to be the central distribution mechanism for our technical assistance for all audiences. Below are the number of visits, visitors and pages viewed by quarter. For the year, the site received over 108,783 visits from 75,384 visitors with 462,138 page views.

Quarter Visits Visitors # of Page Views
July–September 26,404 18,540 106,967
October–December 24,872 17,821 111,405
January–March 26,873 18,246 118,047
April–June 30,634 21,384 125,719
Total 108,783 75,991 462,138
  • Two new sections were added to the online SRTS Guide: Evaluation and Media and Visibility. These guides are available on web (html) format and as a complete download (pdf).
  • Tip sheets were developed on a variety of topics including:
  • New online resources include promotional material, tip sheets, talking points, and customizable flyers.
  • The SRTS online library, a centralized, Web-based collection of Safe Routes to School-related materials and documents was updated bringing the total number of Safe Routes to School-related materials in the online library to 344.
  • SRTS Ask a Question is a mechanism for visitors to the web site to ask questions that are answered by NCSRTS staff and experts around the country. This year the total number of entries in the Q&A database increased to 215. The five most frequently visited questions during Spring 2008 were:
    • What side of the road should I walk on?
    • At what age can children walk to school by themselves?
    • How can I get Federal funding for my Safe Routes to School program?
    • How can I start a Safe Routes to School Program?
    • When is Walk to School Day in 2008?
  • SRTS Case Studies highlight state and local SRTS programs across the U.S. A total of 127 downloadable, searchable case studies from across the U.S. were published online as of June 2008.

Toll-free line

The toll-free line is a mechanism for the public to ask questions that are not answered through a visit to our web site. Usage of the phone line is expected to be light because  the web site is promoted as the primary source for information. During the most recent quarter in the reporting period (between April and June 2008), there were 49 calls to the toll-free line, averaging about 3.8 calls per week.

Support for state coordinators

Several mechanisms are in place to provide technical support directly to the SRTS state coordinators.

  • Listserv for State Coordinators: To foster open communication within a small community, this list is limited to state coordinators, FHWA contacts, and National Center for Safe Routes to School personnel. The listserv continues to be a robust tool for communication between the State Coordinators.
  • During this reporting period, the listserv activities increased significantly, with 195 messages per month during the first and second quarters increasing to 574 and 520 during the third and fourth quarters.
  • As of June 30, there were 105 subscribers, including 51 permanent or interim state coordinators.
  • Password protected web site for State Coordinators: A section of www.saferoutesinfo.org is dedicated to facilitating document storage, questions and communication on new issues among State Coordinators from the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Teleconference sessions for SRTS State Coordinators: The National Center hosted regular conference calls for SRTS State Coordinators to discuss issues, upcoming events and other matters. The National Center also began the hosting additional conference calls to discuss specific topics, such as the development of a centralized tracking system to meet the diverse needs of different states.
  • Annual SRTS state coordinator meeting: This annual meeting provides state coordinators the opportunity to come together to discuss issues related to their unique jobs, to understand how other states are implementing their programs and to hear speakers on topics of special interest.
    • The third annual meeting for State Coordinators was held May 12–14, 2008  in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with representation from 46 states. []Presentations included speakers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency, and leading university[]research centers.
    • According to meeting evaluation forms, the sessions with invited speakers and the brainstorming/networking session (and in particular, the Federal Aid session) were the most useful to coordinators.
    • In 2009, the expectation is that the coordinators’ meeting will be an extension of the Safe Routes to School National Conference, making the State Coordinators meeting more time-efficient and cost-effective.

Congressional Testimony

The National Center’s director, Lauren Marchetti, testified before the U.S. Congress in Fall 2007. The testimony on the Federal Safe Routes to School program was offered before the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

National Safe Routes to School Task Force

Lauren Marchetti, the National Center’s director, participated in Task Force meetings and contributed to report recommendations. The National Center for Safe to School continues tracking and evaluations policies that are in line with task force recommendations.

The National Center also dedicated a section of its web site for the use of the Safe Routes to School Task Force

Briefing for Transport Canada

Lauren Marchetti and Tim Arnade, former SRTS program manager for FHWA, briefed representatives of the Canadian government on the national Safe Routes to School program. Transport Canada was interested in learning about the U.S. program as they looked to establish their own national program.

Other core functions: