Safe Routes To School (SRTS) projects are popping up all over the country. Enthusiastic parents, teachers, community activists, and health professionals are advocating for changes that get children out of cars and onto their feet and bicycles. The benefits of walking and bicycling, especially getting into the habit as a young person, are compelling. Two United States government agencies have set targets for increasing these activities. The Department of Transportation, in its 1994 National Bicycling and Walking Study, specified two goals for the nation:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2001 established two objectives in its report Healthy People 2010:
As the SRTS concept continues to gather momentum, people have begun to ask:
Are these questions you have asked? If you are a policy maker, program planner, provider of funding or administrator, and are faced with deciding how or even whether to support SRTS efforts in your area, then Safe Routes To School: Practice and Promise is for you.
This publication is designed to provide enough information about SRTS programs so those in decision-making positions will be able to determine how to allocate scarce resources and to assure positive outcomes from SRTS efforts. It delves into the history of SRTS, considers risks and benefits, offers examples, and lists supportive agencies and organizations.
The Appendices [A, B, C, D, E] include examples of the sorts of assistance local groups need, based on the experience of statewide or regional technical assistance organizations. NHTSA includes a comprehensive listing of SRTS efforts around the world, with contact information. NHTSA offers this guide in support of your work with local activists as you collaborate to make communities safer and healthier for children.