In Maryland, the state Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is administered by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) through the Regional and Intermodal Planning Division (RIPD). The Maryland Safe Routes to School (SRTS), since inception, has funded 76 awards throughout the state totaling $14,921,843. In May 2013, the program transitioned under the Transportation Alternatives (TA) program and to the SHA Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering (OPPE) and funded an additional 15 awards totaling $3,840,035 million dollars.
In August 2006, the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) held one of their largest federal funding application seminars for 125 participants, and announced the availability of $4.6 million dollars in SRTS funding through the 2007 fiscal year. In fall 2006, 21 applications were received for the first cycle of funding. An interagency review team met in December 2006 and selected to fund 17 projects from 15 jurisdictions throughout the state. The selected projects received funds ranging from $26,000 to $686,200. In total $3,396,200 million dollars was funded with 70 percent of the funds going toward infrastructure improvements and 30 percent toward non-infrastructure projects. With the announcement of another $3.5 million dollars of available funds, a third federal funding application seminar was held in March 2007.
Over the next four years, there were four more federal funding application seminars and 61 awards funded, with a total of $11,520,343 million dollars disbursed throughout Maryland to continue to strengthen the program and make it safer for students to walk and bike to school. These funds served over 150 schools and more than 50,000 students.
The Maryland SRTS program has been promoted using various methods, including e-mails, paper flyers, and seminars. The target audience consists of primary and secondary schools, various law enforcement associations, transportation district engineers, and The Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Task Force. In addition, a personal visit was made to the 24 jurisdictions in the state describing the Federal funding and the application process.
Under the auspice of a different division under the State Highway Administration, the Maryland SRTS program is developing a new strategy in hopes to strengthen the program and increase the number of students walking and biking to school across the state. SHA is reviewing policies, procedures, paperwork and other resources to ensure they are effective and efficient for all sponsors. SHA is working to compile data, analyze research, and identify target areas and improve collaboration between the program, its partners and award recipients. SHA plans to provide resources to increase interest in the program as well as accessibility to program information and requirements while ensuring the funds are being utilized within the federal requirements. The goal is to assist sponsors to deliver projects within a timely fashion, so students have the infrastructure, encouragement and education to walk and bike to school safely. SHA will hold a final SRTS application solicitation to allocate the remaining SAFETEA-LU funds, which continues to be a 100 percent award, in spring of 2014. After the depletion of SAFETEA-LU funds, MAP-21 funds will be available for SRTS projects and additional funding application seminars will be forthcoming.
SHA will work to encourage quality applications by providing applicants in future funding cycles opportunities to learn about SRTS. SHA is considering the continuation of providing a SRTS National Course in Maryland. The SRTS National Course was designed to provide communities with the tools and strategies they can use to create programs based on sound practices and responsible use of resources. For additional information, contact the State Program Managers.