Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a nationwide initiative established in 2005, focused on encouraging and enabling more children to safely walk and bicycle to school, thereby improving student health, traffic congestion, safety, and air quality around schools. NCTCOG supports SRTS with funding, planning and technical assistance, and education materials.

Interested in starting a SRTS initiative in your community? Check out our brochure  (also available in Spanish) for more information.

Quick Facts:
  • The percentage of students that walk or bicycle to school has dropped from a national average of 48 percent in 1969 to just 13 percent in 2009. 1
  • SRTS engineering, education, and encouragement interventions have been shown to decrease pedestrian injury rates by up to 44 percent, and increase walking and biking rates by 25 percent.2, 3

Funding

NCTCOG periodically funds SRTS infrastructure projects, such as sidewalks and crosswalks, through Transportation Alternatives calls for projects. Under the 2017 call for projects, $12.2 million was awarded to 22 SRTS projects (click here for a list of funded SRTS projects). When completed, these improvements will provide better access to more than 30 elementary and middle schools across the region. Visit NCTCOG’s Calls for Projects  webpage for more information on past and future funding opportunities.

 

Planning & Technical Assistance

NCTCOG has a history of helping local communities plan for SRTS. Below are just a few of the examples.


 

Education

School Curriculum (free)
As part of the Look Out Texans regional bicycle and pedestrian safety campaign, curriculum was developed to educate elementary and middle school-age students about walking and bicycling safety. The School Kits were created with input from North Texas educators, and were designed to support the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards for physical and health education.

 

Encouragement

Encouragement activities promote walking and bicycling to school to children, parents, and community members. Special events such as Walk to School Day  have proven effective in inspiring students, parents, elected officials, and school leaders to embrace and value walking and bicycling to school. These events often result in the development of ongoing programs to encourage walking and bicycling, such as “walking school buses” and “bike Trains.”

A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adult. By providing adult supervision on the walk to and from school, walking school buses can help address the safety concerns of families who live within walking or bicycling distance to school. One local example are the Blue Zones Walking School Buses in Fort Worth.

98 schools in the DFW region
registered events for Walk to School Day 2017

Local Examples


Resources

 


For more information please contact Kathryn Rush.

Quick Facts:
  • Vehicle trips to K-12 schools accounted for 10 to 14 percent of traffic during the morning commute in 2009.1
  • Sixty percent of adolescents in Texas do not meet the national guidelines for physical activity. Walking one mile to and from school each day equals two-thirds of the daily recommended 60 minutes of physical activity.4
  • Distance is one of the most commonly reported barriers to walking and bicycling, along with traffic-related danger. However, private vehicles still account for 51 percent of school trips less than one-half mile in the DFW area—a distance easily covered on foot or bike.5
  • If 100 children at one school walk or bicycle instead of being driven every day for one school year, they will keep nearly 35,000 pounds of pollutants out of the air.6 
 
1. National Center for Safe Routes to School. (2011). How children get to school: School travel patterns from 1969 to 2009.
2. Di Maggio & Guohua. (2013). Effectiveness of a safe routes to school program in preventing school-aged pedestrian injury. Pediatrics. 131(2), 290-296.
3. McDonald et. al. (2014). Impact of the safe routes to school program on walking and bicycling. Journal of the American Planning Association, 80(2), 153-167.
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Data, Trends and Maps website. Accessed February 22, 2016.
5. 2017 National Household Travel Survey - Dallas Fort Worth MSA
6. National Center for Safe Routes to School Task Force. (2008). Safe Routes to School: A Transportation Legacy - A National Strategy to Increase Safety and Physical Activity among American Youth.