Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are an opportunity to make walking and bicycling to school safer for children in grades K-8, and to increase the number of families who encourage their children to walk and bike. On a broader level, SRTS programs can enhance children’s health and well-being, ease traffic congestion near the school, and improve community members’ overall quality of life.
Why promote walking and bicycling?
9:48 minute video
Communities are using the walk or bike to school as the first step to change community culture and create environments that are more inviting for everyone, young and old. Here are some reasons to support walking and biking to school:
Walking and bicycling bring a sense of joy and independence.
The trip to school is a chance for children (and adults!) to get the physical activity they need.
Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can reduce congestion and air-polluting emissions.
Building sidewalks, providing education programs and adding traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve safety. Encouraging walking and bicycling to school can help build support for infrastructure improvements in the broader community.
Reducing traffic congestion, boosting a sense of community, and improving neighborhood connections benefit the community.
Dec. 3, 2012 - Governor Walker approves $3.3+ million for SRTS.
These programs are funded through a new federal surface transportation bill known as MAP-21 (signed into law July 6, 2012), which follows the lead set by the SAFETEA-LU legislation that was approved August 10, 2005. This legislation provides funding to state departments of transportation to create and administer SRTS Programs.
The goals of SRTS are:
To enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bike to school;
To make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and
To facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.
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Links to SRTS surveys:
Cover Sheet Instructions - Read this document first.
Class Tally Sheet - Print at 400 dots per inch or higher.
Parent Survey - Print at 400 dots per inch or higher, and print double-sided.
Next National Event:
May 8, 2013
Walk & Bike To School website - Materials to start a local progam, register your program, and keep your program going all year long.
The following 8 steps will get you from ideas to reality. This guide is intended for event organizers who like having a to-do list so that they know everything is covered. Seasoned event organizers or those who feel comfortable with a more relaxed approach may want to simply skim this information.
- Envision the event
- Get buy-in from the school
- Register your event
- Approach partners and recruit volunteers
- Finalize event plans
- Promote the Event
- Follow up
In addition to the guide, take a look at these first time event tips to help you plot out planning tasks for the event.
SRTS Planning Process
Link to SRTS Toolkit (created in 2008):
SRTS Toolkit 4.90 MB - Includes an overview of SRTS, Walk to School Day,
SRTS Planning, Evaluation, & Related Programs.
While every community is unique, the basic steps to starting a Safe Routes to School program include:
Bring together the right people who want to make walking and bicycling to school safe and appealing for children.
Hold a Community SRTS Task Force kick-off meeting to create a vision and generate next steps.
Gather information and identify issues. Collecting information can help to identify needed program elements and provide a means to measure the impact of the program later.
Identify solutions. The Task Force will review the issues, and include a combination of education, encouragement, engineering, and enforcement strategies to help resolve the issues of why children are not walking or biking to school.
Make a plan. The SRTS plan does not need to be lengthy but should include education, encouragement, engineering, and enforcement strategies, a time schedule, a map of the area covered by the plan, and an explanation of how the program will be evaluated.
Get the plan and people moving. There are strategies that can be done right away without major funding, while waiting on other parts.
Evaluate, adjust, and keep going. After the program begins, carefully monitor which strategies are working well and which are not going as planned.
A Safe Routes To School (SRTS) Task Force consists of administrators or teachers from each of the elementary and middle schools, parents, police, health department, recreation department, local businesses, and interested residents.
Contact NCWRPC as soon as you have interest in SRTS for more assistance.
After a SRTS Task Force is formed, then NCWRPC will schedule when to assist the SRTS Task Force with the remaining tasks listed below.
Education—includes teaching pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers about traffic safety and creating awareness of the benefits and goals of SRTS.
Encouragement—strategies are about having fun; they generate excitement and interest in walking and bicycling.
Engineering—focuses on tools that work to create safe routes by improving paths, creating safer crossings, and slowing down traffic. At the same time, it recognizes the importance of a balanced roadway environment that can accommodate the needs of all modes of transportation, be it foot, bicycle, or motor vehicle.
Enforcement—strategies are used to deter unsafe behaviors of drivers, pedestrians, & bicyclists, and to encourage all road users to obey traffic laws and share the road safely.
Other information on SRTS is available on the DOT website at: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/localgov/aid/saferoutes.htm