National Learning Network Library on Physical Activity, Health and the Built Environment
Safe Routes to School is a comprehensive program that is supported by good policies. We believe that advocates and decision makers can benefit from resources that will continue the success of the Safe Routes to School movement. Therefore, we have created this Library of Resources for physical activity, health and the built environment.
All of the documents in this library have been screened by our staff for their relevance to the Safe Routes to School field. If you would like to suggest a document for us to add, please email Dave Cowan.
VI. Research (You will be taken out of the Library)
The federal funds for Safe Routes to School flow from the Federal Highway Administration to the State Department of Transportation (DOT). How the state DOTs set up their programs have a profound impacts on the quality of local Safe Routes to School programs and the overall number of students that are being served within the state. Learn More
State policies have a profound impact on the safety, convenience, and ability of children to be able to walk and bicycle to schools. Our detailed briefs will help you assess how these important policies might be improved within your state as they relate to Safe Routes to School issues. Learn More
State Network Project Reports (Safe Routes to School National Partnership)
Effective policies that are vigorously championed and implemented can ensure the long-term viability of Safe Routes to School programs. Sustaining these programs requires working hand-in-hand with local school districts, cities, counties, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, non-profits, parents and students to create local policy changes that encourage physical activity and active community environments. Learn More
School districts that adopt school bicycling or walking policies ensure that transportation safety rules for the district are consistent and standardized. Policies developed at this jurisdictional level can also help lay the groundwork for better and safer behaviors.
Currently, throughout the United States, there are an emerging number of communities and schools that are invested in Safe Routes to School, and have already taken the leap by deciding to devote their energies to policy, systems and environmental changes. Because Safe Routes to School is relatively new to many areas of the United States, communities have approached policy solutions with ingenuity, inventiveness and creativity.
Regional policy initiatives can ensure that the federal dollars that flow through a Regional Transportaion Plan are spent on projects that improve walking and bicycling, which can therefore have a major, impactful effect on regional spending that promotes more healthy, physically active communities.
Health, bicycle, pedestrian, and school advocates (as well as other interested parties, including local government) can work with their state DOT to establish a successful and community-oriented state SRTS program. Help ensure that the state program will be set up in a way to maximize community benefits, promote a participatory process, and help guide long-term strategies to integrate the program with state health and wellness programs and other bicycle and pedestrian programs. Learn More
The most successful Safe Routes to School programs incorporate the "Five E’s": evaluation, education, encouragement, engineering, and enforcement. The goal of Safe Routes to School is to get more children bicycling and walking to schools safely on an everyday basis. Learn More
The most successful way to increase bicycling and walking is through a comprehensive approach that includes the "5 Es" of Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Encouragement and Evaluation. Learn More
The planning, design, construction, and maintenance of all roadway and transit facilities, as well as developments and new schools, should consider and include the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians from the inception of the project. Learn More
MAP-21 provides that 2 percent of state apportionments be set aside for a new program called Transportation Alternatives, which consolidates the former Transportation Enhancements program with the now-eliminated Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails programs. Some project types (e.g. transportation museums) are no longer eligible for funding. The Transportation Alternatives program is funded at $809 million in FY 2013, 34 percent less than the combined funding of the equivalent predecessor programs in FY 2011 ($1.2 billion). Learn More
Each state DOT is required to develop a data-driven Strategic Highway Safety Plan for programming their Highway Safety Improvement fund. Some of this funding can be spent on bicycle and pedestrian safety for school children. Learn More
As a strategy for addressing childhood obesity and physical inactivity, school districts can share their recreational facilities after school hours through shared use agreements with their local governments. Learn More
Only about 35% of students in the United States live within two miles of their school. Statewide policies on school siting, acreage requirements, shared-use, and renovations can profoundly impact the percentage of students who live within walking or bicycling distance of their school. Learn More
LEED-ND communities harness existing resources, like transit, public infrastructure, and historic buildings, and build upon them with pedestrian-friendly streets, lots of amenities, and green building techniques. The ultimate goal of LEED-ND is to create healthy places where we should all be able to live and work. Learn More (You will be taken out of the Library)
Millions of low-income people live in communities where quality transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable or nonexistent. Resources listed in this section of the Library can help advocates promote healthy, safe and inclusive communities, and allow them to work toward policies that ensure equitable investment in transportation options for all people.
Our one-page best practices fact sheet will help state advocates to better work with their State DOTs to develop proactive policies that will assist the most vulnerable communities in planning for, applying for, and implementing Safe Routes to School grants. Learn More
Research that codifies the financial benefits of Safe Routes to School is greatly needed in the US and would be valuable for advocates as they make their case before policy makers to increase funding. The resources we have compiled for this section of the Library include reports and analyses conducted by other national groups, and which serve as a starting point for learning more about the economic benefits of Safe Routes to School. View our Economic Benefits Webinar (recorded August 9, 2012)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) can be used to objectively evaluate the potential health effects of a project or policy before it is built or implemented. Conducting an HIA can enable communities to understand public health issues and health outcomes such as obesity, physical inactivity, and social equity, as well as transportation impacts and land use choices. The HIA process can provide recommendations to increase positive health outcomes and minimize adverse ones.
Click here to go to the National Partnership's research section.