Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a nationwide initiative 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 educational materials. Interested in starting a SRTS initiative in your community? Check out our brochure for more information (also available in Spanish).

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 9 percent in 2017.1,2
  • Vehicle trips to K-12 schools account for 10 to 14 percent of traffic during the morning commute.1
  • SRTS engineering, education, and encouragement interventions have been shown to decrease pedestrian injury rates by 44 percent, and increase walking and biking rates by 25 percent.3, 4
  • If 100 children at one school walked or bicycled instead of being driven every day for one school year, they would keep nearly 35,000 pounds of pollutants out of the air.5

 

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 the Bicycle-Pedestrian Funding Opportunities page for more information.

 

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)
Go to LookOutTexans.org to download a free School Kit for teaching 3rd - 5th grades and 6th - 8th grades about pedestrian and bicycle 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.

Additional parent and teacher resources:

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 communities 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,” and funding support for Safe Routes to School projects.

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. To see a walking school bus in action, check out the video by the Blue Zones Project - Fort Worth.

98 schools in the DFW region
registered events for Walk to School Day 2018

Local Examples


 

Resources

 


Staff Contact: Kathryn Rush

1. National Center for Safe Routes to School. (2011). How children get to school: School travel patterns from 1969 to 2009.
2. 2017 National Household Travel Survey
3. Di Maggio & Guohua. (2013). Effectiveness of a safe routes to school program in preventing school-aged pedestrian injury. Pediatrics. 131(2), 290-296.
4. 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.
5. 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.