The successes of the Federal Safe Routes to School Program are featured in a new report published by the National Center for Safe Routes, Creating Healthier Generations: A Look at 10 Years of the Federal Safe Routes to School Program.
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, established by Congress in 2005, has involved nearly 18,000 schools in all fifty states and Washington, D.C. The program has reached more than 6.8 million K-8 students nationwide, with low-resourced schools well-represented, and has demonstrated the safety as well as health benefits of active travel to school.
The report demonstrates the power of data-based decision-making and features numerous anecdotes on the widespread positive impacts SRTS projects have on communities nationwide. For example, Auburn School District in Auburn, Washington increased walking and bicycling to school and saved the district over $220,000 a year in transportation costs. In Springfield, Massachusetts, a Walking School Bus Program at Brightwood Elementary has helped to reduce crime rates, improve student attendance, and increase community engagement among local businesses, teachers, and parents.
SRTS programs have had far-reaching benefits beyond improving safety and encouraging active transportation. Schools with SRTS program across the country have gained increased connectivity within communities, reduced transportation costs and air pollution, enhanced community life, and much more.
Communities continue to find ways to include safe walking and bicycling infrastructure into transportation planning. The success of the program is due in large part to the work of SRTS State and Regional Coordinators. Their presence has been a major strength in the implementation of SRTS in communities and schools across the country!
View the full report here and share with your communities and schools! SRTS has the power to change the habits of an entire generation into more active kids who will become healthy adults.