Frequently Asked Questions
According to a study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), most of today’s parents walked or biked to elementary school when they were young. They explored their neighborhoods regularly on bike or on foot that offered them independence and resulted in self-assurance.
By contrast, children today are driven to nearly all of their activities and only 10 percent walk to school every day. There are several reasons for this sharp decline. The journey between home and school has become longer and more treacherous because of decades of auto-oriented suburbanization. This pattern has been compounded by the trend towards building new schools at a distance from residential areas.
In addition, parents fear exposing their children to threats from strangers and motor vehicles. And finally, in many communities, sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, and trails are either missing or inadequate.
SRTS Programs attempt to address these issues.
Walk to School Day, like SRTS, is a school-based initiative to encourage physical activity among children. However, it is a one-day event and not a continuing program like SRTS.
Walk to School Day has become the kick-off event for Safe Routes to School and is usually held the first week in October. It is a way for parents, students, school personnel and other community members to directly experience the trip to school on foot as they walk and bike with students on the day of the event. Many schools incorporate bicycling initiatives into their Walk (and Bike) to School Day Events.
It often generates discussions on the importance of physical activity, awareness of the fun of walking and biking, and early identification of safety concerns.
The SRTS Program is organized around five complimentary strategies known as the “5 E’s”. They are:
- Engineering: Making the environment safer for walking and bicycling
- Encouragement: Encouraging kids to walk and bike to school more often
- Education: Teaching kids and parents safe ways to walk and bike
- Evaluation: Checking to see how many kids are walking and biking as a result of the program or how conditions have improved
- Enforcement: Changing driver, walker and bicyclist behavior as they travel together along the road
Projects that incorporate all five E’s are likely to be more effective and sustainable.
Check out the Education section of this website for grades K-8 lesson plans, school assemblies and other information for schools can use to incorporate walking and biking within their curriculum.
Multiple organizations have compiled links to a variety of SRTS resources for the classroom including:
The New Jersey Safe Routes to School Toolbox provides information and materials on launching a Safe Routes to School Program.
The New Jersey SRTS Resource Center assists schools and communities with education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, planning and other non-construction related SRTS activities. The Resource Center can put you in contact with your regional coordinator at your Transportation Management Association (TMA).
The eight TMAs in New Jersey work directly with communities to implement SRTS programs. Common services include: walking school bus set up and training, International Walk to School month planning and participation, youth bicycle education, marketing, recruitment and promotion of SRTS programs and events within their region and evaluation and feedback on local programs. TMAs also assist communities that have completed School Travel Plans with implementing findings and applying for funding.
The TMAs operate within specific regions. They are:
- Cross County Connection
(Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties)
- Greater Mercer TMA
(Mercer County, Montgomery Township in Somerset County and Ocean County)
- Hudson TMA
- Keep Middlesex Moving
- Meadowlink Commuter Services
(Bergen and western portions of Hudson counties, eastern portions of Passaic, Union and Essex counties)
(Somerset County, except for Montgomery Township)
(Morris, Sussex, Warren, and western portions of Passaic and Essex counties)
There are several sources. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) offers free bicycle and pedestrian safety information. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center web site has links to several educational publications.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is an information clearinghouse about health and safety, engineering, advocacy, education and enforcement.
Funding is periodically made available for infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects. Infrastructure projects include the planning, design and construction or installation of sidewalks, crosswalks, signals, traffic-calming and bicycle facilities.
Non-infrastructure projects include activities such as public awareness campaigns, walk and bike to school events and training, traffic education and enforcement and student lessons on bicycle and pedestrian safety, health and the environment.
NJDOT has design guidelines for bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) of the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Accommodating Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel: A Recommended Approach are helpful.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is a clearinghouse for information about health and safety, engineering, advocacy, education, enforcement and access and mobility.
The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities and Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan are also recommended.
Extracted from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Safe Routes to School FAQs.