In the Portland Metro region, Regional Travel Options (RTO) grants fund projects that help improve the transportation system through education and encouragement of travel choices to and from work or school, such as carpooling, riding transit, walking, and bicycling. These programs help the region in numerous ways by both improving mobility and reducing pollution from car trips. While this funding opportunity has traditionally focused on employer-based, commuting, and adult needs for travel options, there is a very real need for our youth to also be the recipient of education and encouragement focused on their unique travel options and needs.
The most recent RTO grant cycle, which runs from July 2017 through June 2019, just announced 17 grant awards worth $2.5 million.This grant cycle attracted an overwhelming number of strong applicants, requesting a total of $3.5 million – over a million dollars more than the program was able to fund. Across the region, applicants were awarded grants for projects to make it easier for people to walk, bike, take transit or carpool; Safe Routes to School projects made up nearly a quarter of those award funds, through four projects across the region:
- Beaverton Safe Routes & Beaverton School District will continue their Safe Routes to School program that started with an RTO grant in 2015, strengthening and expanding work focused on students and families living within the walk zone.
- City of Tigard will continue their successful Tigard Safe Routes to School program that started with an RTO grant in 2015, focusing on all Tigard schools in Tigard-Tualatin School District.
- Multnomah County will expand their Safe Routes to School program that has existed in the past based on state and county funds, focusing on schools in East Multnomah County.
- Community Cycling Center will build a community-based Safe Routes to School program in North Portland.