Blog Topic: Research

Bridging the Distance: Supporting Physical Activity and Active Transportation in Rural Communities

The majority of Americans live in urban or suburban areas, though around 15 percent of Americans live in nonmetropolitan regions, which make up 72 percent of US land. Although the proportion of Americans who are rural residents has recently declined, these communities still comprise 46.1 million Americans (USDA, 2015). When it comes to health outcomes, researchers have identified inequities in rural areas, including higher rates of obesity compared with urban residents and differing levels of physical activity by geographic region (Yousefian et al., 2009; Hansen and Harley, 2015).

Why is “Safety” So Complex?

Look both ways. Wear your helmet. We’ve all heard these maxims about safety, and probably shared them a time or two.

Aside from distance to school, safety is a leading factor for both adults and children in the decision to participate in physical activity and walk or bike to school (Nasar, 2015; Zhou et al., 2009). However, adopting those individual protective behaviors will not provide an easy solution. This blog post will unpack three reasons why the concept of safety, particularly in the context of safe travel to school, can be challenging to conceptualize and achieve.

The Wheels on the Bus: Gathering the Evidence for Walking School Buses

This blog post was written by our research advisor, Christina Galardi.

As Safe Routes to School practitioners, schools, parents, and community partners work together to make it easier and safer for kids to walk to school, it is important to understand barriers to participation and how we can effectively address them. In this research beat, we’ve gathered the academic literature on Walking School Buses to share evidence and key takeaways.

Write This Way: School Policy Supporting Active Transportation and Physical Activity


To increase physical activity opportunities available through schools over the long term, we need to put it in writing – through policy.

Using the Research to Make a Strong Case for Safe Routes to School

This guest blog post was written by our research advisor, Christina Galardi.

In advocating for Safe Routes to School programs in your area, you might face two major questions from school administrators, local planners, or political leaders:

  1. Will Safe Routes to School really increase students’ rates of walking and biking to school?
  2. Is Safe Routes to School worth the investment?

Two rigorous research studies published in the past year provide evidence for the health and economic benefits of Safe Routes to School to support your response.

A Brief History Lesson: Academic Performance and Physical Activity

This guest blog post was written by our research adviser, Christina Galardi.

academic girls

First, let’s start with a pop quiz to get your brain working - I’ll give the answers at the end.