The National Center’s website, www.saferoutesinfo.org, is an efficient tool to facilitate the dissemination of information to the general public, state governments and local stakeholders. The more than 171, 000 visitors to the website in the reporting period highlight the growing interest and reach of SRTS. Visitors benefit from an array of easily accessible online resources from the popular SRTS Guide to news releases on new products and services, including case studies and available training.
The National Center’s Safe Routes Matters e-newsletter is distributed every other month to more than 3,900 recipients. The newsletter is a tool to communicate news from the National Center to a growing community of Safe Routes to School leaders and advocates.
E-mail messages are also sent to online subscribers regarding new activities at the National Center for Safe Routes to School. These items include: news briefs, the availably of new information, online registration for Walk to School, call for proposals for mini-grants, and calls for training needs.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School actively promotes International Walk to School Day and Month in October, and maintains websites especially designed for the event (www.walktoschool.org for U.S. and www.iwalktoschool.org for the international community).
In 2009 − its thirteenth year − participation reached a record high with more than 3,369 eventsfrom all 50 states and the District of Columbia registered on the Walk to School Web site (www.walktoschool.org). Many more communities held events but did not register. Around the globe, International Walk to School Month brought together more than 40 countries in recognition of the common interest in walking to school.
In 2009, 42 percent of schools participating in Walk to School Day also implemented a Safe Routes to School Program, an increase from 35 percent in 2008. Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of events led to policy or engineering changes, according to Walk to School organizers. Specifically, 35 percent of events led to the adoption of policies promoting walking and bicycling to school, and 22 percent of events led to the addition of sidewalks, paths, or crosswalks to school routes.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School supports Walk to School Day and Month in a variety of ways beyond its websites. Activities range from sending a Walk to School Day planning e-newsletter − with event tips, resources and other announcements − to registered event coordinators during the seven-week period leading up to the celebration, to providing technical assistance to local event organizers.
The Walk to School website received 71,229visits during the reporting period. Twenty-sixpercent of visitors typed the address directly into their browser; the majority of the rest of the traffic came from search engines and from referring websites,such as www.saferoutesinfo.org and www.iwalktoschool.org.
The National Center established the James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award in 2007 to honor the Congressman’s dedication to American schoolchildren as the pioneer for the National Safe Routes to School Program. Congressman Oberstar, current Chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, sponsored the Safe Routes to School legislation that strives to create safe settings to enable more parents and children to walk and bicycle to school. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in improving the health and well-being of an entire generation of school children by creating safer environments for walking and bicycling to school and encouraging children to walk to and from school.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School selected Washington, D.C.’s Ben W. Murch Elementary School as this year's recipient based on its exemplary Safe Routes to School program successes, including:
Congressman Oberstar presented the Safe Routes to School Award to Murch Elementary School students, parents and teachers at the school on October 26, 2009.
In this reporting period, the National Center also released and promoted the call for applications for the 2010 award.
Staff from the National Center for Safe Routes to School participate in conferences as attendees and as presenters to reach groups of stakeholders who can influence the development and success of Safe Routes to School programs. Presentations were made at conferences including, Walk 21 International Conference, CDC Weight of the Nation Conference, SRTS National Conference, National Coordinating Committee for School Health and Safety, International Affairs Council Delegation from Turkmenistan, National Association of City and County Health Officials (webcast), National Bike Summit, Transportation Research Board, New Partners for Smart Growth, and Lifesavers Conference. In addition, staff were invited to provide expert input at the STIPDA/NHTSA Injury Prevention Roundtable.