Academic Research Related to Safe Routes to School

Updated every two months

The mission of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is to serve a diverse national community of organizations that advocate for and promote the practice of safe bicycling and walking to and from schools throughout the United States.

As the Safe Routes to School movement continues to expand, the body of empirical data is also growing. Research can help make the case for Safe Routes to School to legislators, funders, school officials, city officials, and parents. The research also enumerates the relationship and linkages between Safe Routes to School programs and larger societal issues like childhood obesity, physical activity, academic achievement, traffic congestion, and the built environment.

This research compilation includes a representative review of academic research exploring many of the issues addressed by Safe Routes to School programs. Research topics highlighted in this section investigate relationships between:

  • Physical activity, academic achievement, and obesity;
  • The impact of the built environment on active travel;
  • The effects of active transport on air quality and the environment; and
  • Issues related to pedestrian and bicycle safety, traffic congestion, and transportation.

A practitioner information section provides Safe Routes to School practitioners with valuable insights into Safe Routes to School programs, including implications for policy, issues to consider when implementing new programs, and evaluation results from current programs.

To review the research findings in any of these areas, please use the links on the left-hand side. Articles are posted in chronological order, with the most recent articles cited first. Article titles link to the article—either a free version for download, if available, or a source where the article can be purchased for further review.

In addition to the academic research cited in this section, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership has identified several areas for which additional research is needed. Continuing to expand the research base for Safe Routes to School will allow for more robust and scholarly analysis of promising trends and best practices.

If you have academic studies to share for consideration of inclusion in this research compilation, please send the article or a link to the article to