State of the States: Safe Routes to School

Each State Department of Transportation (DOT) is charged with implementing the federal Safe Routes to School program in their state. There are variations in how DOTs have chosen to set up and administer the program, and these differing approaches have varied impacts on SRTS funding.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership works to monitor the progress of State DOTs in administering SRTS—such as whether they have a full-time, permanent State SRTS Coordinator in place and whether they are awarding and obligating available funds at a reasonable rate. We do this through our quarterly "State of the States" tracking reports.

Latest News and Information:

State Spending on Safe Routes Slows

March 24, 2014: The final quarterly State of the States report for 2013 shows insignificant changes both in funding announced and funding obligated for Safe Routes to School projects across the nation.  While this is certainly disappointing, it is also not surprising, as it is consistent with annual trends we have observed at the beginning of each fiscal year.  For example: in September 2012, an additional $62,818,641 was obligated over the prior quarter.  However, the final quarterly report in December showed only $14,480,154 in additional dollars obligated.  This marked year-end slowdown has repeated itself in prior years.  With 35% of total funds still unobligated, it will continue to be important that we focus on obligations so that awards result in projects being built and implemented. 

States start to max out available Safe Routes to School funds

November 7, 2013: The lastest quarterly State of the States report shows that awarded funds are slowing, with just $13 million in new awards made, as more than one-third of the states have spend more than 90 percent of available Safe Routes to School funds and are shifting to the Transportation Alternatives program. On the other end of the scale, nine states have used less than 60 percent of their available funds, meaning there are still areas of the country in which new Safe Routes to School funds could be awarded.   However, it's important to continue to focus on obligation so that awards result in projects being built and implemented. In the last quarter, states obligated $26 million.

States continue to use remaining Safe Routes to School funds

August 19, 2013: In our latest quarterly State of the States report, we are pleased to note that states continue to award and obligate their remaining Safe Routes to School funds. Over the past quarter, states allocated $24 million in new awards, leaving $206 million yet to award, and states obligated $50 million.  We encourage you to review the State of the States, and then look at your state's plans for how they will implement Transportation Alternatives specific to Safe Routes to School.

States award and obligate remaining Safe Routes to School funds at a brisk clip

May 29, 2013: Our latest State of the States quarterly report shows that states did a good job in the last quarter of awarding and obligating their remaining Safe Routes to School funds. States awarded $43 million in funds, leaving approximately $230 million left nationwide of Safe Routes to School funds, and obligated nearly $34 million.

State obligations slow for the first quarter of FY13

February 15, 2013
Award and obligations for Safe Routes to School followed a common trend, in which the first quarter of a fiscal year shows a slowdown.  For the first quarter of FY2013, states awarded $12.7 million in Safe Routes to School funding and obligated $14.5 million.  While the numbers were low, two-thirds of states did obligate funds, showing continued progress.

Final quarter of FY12 shows continued investments in Safe Routes to School

November 2, 2012
During the fourth quarter of FY2012, states announced $32.3 million in funding for Safe Routes to School, leaving approximately $270 million yet to be spent by states.  States also had a record showing in obligations, with $62.8 million obligated, or 54% of available funds.

State obligations at record levels for third quarter of FY12

July 30, 2012
During the third quarter of FY2012, states obligated $52.1 million in Safe Routes to School funding, bringing obligations to a total of $551 million, or 50% of available funds.  This is the strongest quarter for obligations since we began tracking through our quarterly State of the States reports.  States also awarded $31.2 million in funding.  Once all funds for FY2012 are awarded, states will have approximately $300 million in Safe Routes to School funds remaining to award.

State spending rebounds for second quarter of FY12

May 1, 2012
The State of the States for the second quarter of FY2012 shows a total of $812 million announced by state Departments of Transportation on Safe Routes to School, and have obligated $499 million in funding.  While last quarter was slow, in this quarter funding announced and obligated picked up significantly.  A total of 22 states had an increase in their amount announced, and all but 9 states had an increase in their obligation figure.

First quarter of FY12 shows states still moving on spending, slow on obligations

February 19, 2012
The new State of the States for the first quarter of FY2012 shows that the states have now announced $764 million in spending, and have obligated $470 million in funding.  This is one of the slower quarters for obligation in some time, demonstrating the need to continue to work with state departments of transportation on obligation, even while Congress debates the transportation bill.  

States close out FY11 with strong showing on SRTS spending

November 1, 2011
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership uses the “State of the States” to track each state’s implementation of federal Safe Routes to School funds. We look at how much funding states have announced for local communities and statewide spending, plus how much has been obligated—which measures funding the state has actually spent or has contracted to spend. The newly available FY2011 quarter 3 and FY2011 quarter 4 reports show the progress states have made over the past six months. As of the close of fiscal year 2011, of the $978 million made available to states:

  • States have announced $727.6 million in awards to local communities and statewide spending—74% of available funds.
  • Over the past six months, states have announced $151 million in funding for local communities and statewide spending—a very impressive number given the overall uncertainty with federal transportation spending.
  • Eleven states have allocated more than 90% of their available funding.
  • Obligation figures also increased steadily, with states obligating nearly $80 million over the past six months.

States moving forward on utilizing SRTS funds

May 17, 2011
The new State of the States for the second quarter of FY2011 shows that states are keeping pace with newly available funding—states awarded another $36 million and obligated $40 million in funding in the last quarter.

States continue to award available Safe Routes to School funds

February 10, 2011
Each quarter, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership issues a “State of the States” to track state-by-state implementation of federal Safe Routes to School funds. The newly available first quarter FY2011 report shows that states have announced a total of $582 million in funding. During this quarter, states announced $30 million in new awards to local communities, double the rate in the prior quarter. While the piecemeal flow of FY2011 funding has made it difficult for many states to hold new application cycles, it is important that states use as much of available funds as possible, and continue to focus on obligating funds so that projects can be built and implemented promptly. Information for each state is included in the report, so take a look and see how your state DOT is doing.

States on a roll in obligating Safe Routes to School funds

November 10, 2010
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s new "State of the States" shows that in the fourth quarter of FY2010, state Departments of Transportation (DOT) awarded $15 million in funds and obligated nearly $41 million. This quarter had the most funds obligated since we have been tracking the program. The amount of funds obligated each quarter has been increasing steadily all year, demonstrating that states are focusing on getting projects built and implemented. Take a look at the chart and see how your state DOT is doing. If your state is below the national average, we encourage you to contact your state DOT to ask about a plan for increasing obligation rates for SRTS.

States show momentum in spending SRTS funds in second quarter

August 11, 2010
In the third quarter of FY2010, states announced another $48 million in Safe Routes to School funds - bringing this to a total of $544 million. That is nearly all of the funds originally authorized for Safe Routes to School for FY2005-2009 ($597 million). On the obligation front, states obligated $31 million in funds in the second quarter of 2010; obligation is a good measure of when a project is close to being built or implemented. This $31 million is 50% greater than last quarter, showing that states are building momentum around obligation. All but 11 states obligated funds during this quarter. States have obligated $293 million, about half of the FY2005-2009 funds and 38% of all currently available funds (through FY2010).

New “State of the States” shows state DOTs award nearly $50 million in new SRTS projects

May 13, 2010
Each quarter, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership issues a “state of the states” report to show how much progress states are making in using their Safe Routes to School funds. Our most recent report covers the second quarter of FY2010. The report shows that states have awarded 74% of their available Safe Routes to School funds, meaning that the states have announced more than $466 million in projects for local communities. However, the average obligation rate is just 42%. Obligation means that the state has either spent Safe Routes to School funds or contracted to spend them – it’s a good measure of when the projects are close to being built or implemented. We encourage you to take a look and see how your state is doing compared with the national average.

New “State of the States” Shows Slowdown in SRTS Award and Obligation Rates

February 3, 2010
The Partnership strongly encourages state Departments of Transportation (DOT) to keep moving forward on awarding any remaining Safe Routes to School funds, and to get the funds obligated as quickly as possible. Our February 2010 quarterly update shows that both award and obligation rates slowed in the first quarter of FY2010. The Partnership will continue to work with our state networks and other advocates to emphasize the importance of getting these federal funds spent in local communities.

New State of the States Report Tracks Award and Obligation Rates

November 20, 2009
Each quarter, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership issues a “State of the States” to track the movement of each state Department of Transportation (DOT) in awarding and obligating federal Safe Routes to School funds. The November 2009 State of the States Chart reveals that over the last quarter (July through September 2009), DOTs have awarded close to $23 million in Safe Routes to School awards and have obligated more than $34 million to allow already-awarded projects to move forward. Many states made big strides in obligating funding, with almost all states obligating funding this past quarter. Overall, approximately 73% of the overall funds have been awarded and 39% have been obligated. The Partnership urges SRTS advocates to continue to work with state leaders to get 100% of the funding awarded and obligated.

Partnership Issues July 2009 State of the States

August 11, 2009
Each quarter, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership issues a “State of the States” to track the movement of each state Department of Transportation (DOT) in awarding and obligating federal Safe Routes to School funds. The July 2009 State of the States Chart reveals that over the last quarter (April to June 2009), DOTs have awarded close to$40 million in Safe Routes to School awards and have obligated more than $40 million to allow already-awarded projects to move forward. This shows a great deal of momentum—states awarded nearly double and obligated nearly quadruple the funds awarded and obligated during the prior quarter. Overall, approximately 66% of the overall funds have been awarded and 32% have been obligated.

Partnership Issues April 2009 State of the States

May 12, 2009
Each quarter, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership issues a “State of the States” to track the movement of each state Department of Transportation (DOT) in awarding and obligating federal Safe Routes to School funds. The April 2009 State of the States chart reveals that over the last quarter (January to March 2009), DOTs have awarded $23 million in Safe Routes to School awards and have obligated $11 million to allow already-awarded projects to move forward. Overall, now that DOTs have the FY2009 funds available to them, approximately 60% of the overall funds have been awarded and 25% obligated. While many states have moved forward expeditiously to ensure that SRTS funds are benefiting local communities, a total of 21 states have more than half of their funds to award out. Take a look at our chart to see how your state is progressing.

State of the States Quarterly Update

January 31, 2009
Quarterly, the Partnership provides an updated look at each state’s progress on awarding and obligating its available share of Safe Routes to School funding. The quarterly update provides an important benchmark in each state’s progress in implementation SRTS. Take a look at the January 2009 chart to see where your state stands. Past updates are available for November 2008 and March 2008.