In Maryland, the state Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is administered by the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO). The program began in May 2006 with the hiring of a full-time SRTS coordinator. In March 2006, the MHSO held the first of several grant application seminars and provided the 35 participants with information about the SRTS program and its funding. The program’s progress continued after the hiring of a full-time SRTS coordinator in May 2006.
In August 2006, the MHSO held another grant application
seminar for 125 participants, and the MHSO announced the availability of $4.6 million in SRTS funding through the 2007 fiscal year. In fall 2006, MHSO received 21 applications for the first cycle of funding. An interagency grants review team, convened by MHSO, met in December 2006 and selected 17 projects from 15 jurisdictions throughout the state. The selected projects received funds ranging from $26,000 to $686,200. In total, MHSO awarded $3,396,200, with 70 percent of the funds going toward infrastructure improvements and 30 percent toward noninfrastructure projects. With the announcement of another $3.5 million of available funds, a third grant application seminar was held in March 2007.
The grants review team reconvened to examine the 22 submitted applications. As a result, 17 applicants received funding with the award amounts ranging from $21,400 to $555,600. Of the $3,420,400 awarded, 74 percent went toward infrastructure improvements and 26 percent went toward non-infrastructure projects. These funds served 99 schools and 27,639 students. The Maryland SRTS program has been promoted throughout the state using numerous venues. To promote the grant application seminar, the MHSO e-mailed and mailed fliers to various groups, including the school superintendents, various law enforcement associations, the Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Task Force and transportation district engineers. In addition, people involved with SRTS went to all 24 jurisdictions in the state to deliver presentations describing the value of the SRTS program and how to obtain funding.
In addition to promoting the SRTS program, the MHSO has worked to ensure the funds are used effectively. To this end, all participants of the grant applicant seminars received a CD containing information on the application process and tips for problem identification. Participants also received a binder containing pedestrian and bicycle data specific to Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. These data should be used to drive and anchor an applicant’s proposed project ideas. Another way MHSO is working to ensure quality applications is by requiring applicants in future funding cycles to attend a SRTS National Course delivery in Maryland. The SRTS National Course is designed to provide communities with the tools and strategies they can use to create programs based on sound practices and responsible use of resources.
The continuing efforts to promote the SRTS program has lead to the creation of strong partnerships between the MHSO and governmental departments. For example, the Maryland traffic safety coordinator and the state highway administrator have worked together to promote SRTS at the governmental level. The MHSO communicates regularly with the pedestrian and bicycle coordinator within the Maryland Department of Transportation. The SRTS program also has received board support from the local offices of the state’s Comprehensive Traffic Safety Program, the boards of education, health departments and law enforcement agencies. It is through these partnerships that the SRTS program has been successful. With the continued support and experience of MHSO’s federal and state partners, the MHSO looks forward to the further growth and success of Maryland’s SRTS program.
State Highway Administration
7491 Connelley Drive
Hanover, MD 21076