Safe Routes to School

crossing street

Safe Routes to School is an initiative that works to make it safe, convenient, and fun for children to walk and bicycle to and from schools. The goal is to get more children walking and bicycling to school,  improve kids' safety, and increase health and physical activity.

As the stats bear out, kids today have become less active, less independent, and less healthy. In 1969, nearly 50 percent of all children in the United States (and nearly 90 percent of those within a mile of school) walked or bicycled to school. Today, that number has plummeted to fewer than 15 percent. During the morning commute, driving to school represents 10-14 percent of traffic on the road.

Studies show that Safe Routes to School programs are effective at increasing rates of bicycling and walking to school and decreasing injuries.

Concerned by the long-term health and traffic consequences of this trend, in 2005 Congress approved funding for implementation of Safe Routes to School programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Though there have been policy shifts, Safe Routes to School is still eligible for funding under the current federal transportation bill. Communities use funds to construct new bicycle lanes, pathways, and sidewalks, and launch Safe Routes to School education, promotion, and enforcement campaigns.

At the local level, Safe Routes to School practitioners run education and encouragement programs with families and schools and push for strong municipal and district policies to support safe walking and bicycling.  The most successful Safe Routes to School programs incorporate the Six E’s: evaluation, education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement, and equity. At the regional and state level, Safe Routes to School practitioners work to find new funding and ensure proper spending of existing funding for Safe Routes to School.  And at the federal level, the Safe Routes Partnership and its allies maintain a steady voice for policy and funding support and provide a source of expert help, ideas, and resources for leaders at all levels.

featured resources

2021    Webinar
June 22, 2021

On Tuesday, June 22nd, from 2-3 pm Eastern, the Safe Routes Partnership is hosting a free webinar:
 

Safe Routes Back to School 2021 Zoom Session
June 22, 2021, 2-3 pm Eastern
2021    Report

This report includes an analysis of the amounts of funding each state dedicates to walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to School and the source of these funds. Case studies and suggestions are provided for how states can develop funding streams that are dedicated to walking, bicycling, and/or Safe Routes to School.

2021    Toolkit

The Engineering Solutions Guide for Safe Routes to School covers street design strategies to address traffic safety concerns commonly identified in school areas and along the routes to school.

2021    Toolkit

This guide will equip you with the tools to engage students, families, and staff of all backgrounds in imagining, designing, and building more walkable and roll-able routes to school.

webinar icon
2021    Webinar
February 25, 2021

On Thursday, February 25th from 2pm – 3pm ET, the Safe Routes Partnership hosted a free training on Engineering Solutions and Strategies for Safe Routes to School.