A Safe Routes to School state network can unite stakeholders to help make your state Safe Routes to School program successful, provide for an educational forum and contribute to a national learning network. The network can also play a leading role in removing barriers to walking and bicycling to schools by improving Safe Routes to School-related state and regional policies and practices.
Almost anyone can convene a Safe Routes to School state network, although leadership is best suited to organizations, agencies and individuals with experience and credibility in Safe Routes to School-related policies and programs in the state. Funding for a state network could come from a variety of sources, including agencies, but most likely will come from foundations with an interest in the success of Safe Routes to School programs.
What follows are resources that can be used to create and manage a Safe Routes to School state network in your state.
Ten Steps to Starting a Network Project
This guide provides a how-to list on starting a network project in your state.
Although the National Partnership is currently only working in seven states, every state could benefit from a Safe Routes to School state network. Networks can unite stakeholders to help make the state Safe Routes to School program successful, provide for an educational forum and contribute to a national learning network. A state network can also play a leading role in moving barriers to walking and bicycling to schools by improving Safe Routes to School-related state and regional policies and practices.
Network Stakeholder's List
This list gives examples of potential network partners. This list may not be comprehensive for your state as you may have additional groups or initiatives in your state. Doing research such as phone interviews with stakeholders that you already know may lead to discoveries of new ones.
An effective Safe Routes to School state network is made up of leaders from many diverse agencies and organizations. At a minimum, the State Departments of Transportation, Education and Health should be recruited to participate. In addition, bicycle, pedestrian, health and school advocacy groups should serve on the network through the participation of high level staffers or board members. There may be other potential stakeholders in your state such as environmental and smart growth groups, elected officials, regional and local agencies, and individuals that you should seek to include in the network.
Policy Research Template
This template is used for collecting information on a policy or program.
Once you have assembled a Safe Routes to School state network, the next step is to research existing policies in your state that affect the ability of children and adults to walk and bicycle to school safely. Your network should create a list of policies, laws and practices of interest. Network partners can be tasked with completing brief written research on particular policies.
Policy Prioritization Template
This template will help you to organize policy ratings.
Once policy research is completed, present the information on each of the policies to your network partners. The network can then begin to prioritize which issues should be primary and which should be secondary for group action. This rating process would include considerations for timelines, opportunities and importance. We recommend that network partners rate policies for both the importance to their organization and the importance to the network.
Action Plan Template
This template will help you to organize policies by leadership, objectives, tasks and timelines.
Work with your network partners to complete an Action Plan, which would list the prioritized policies your network chose to work on. The Action Plan will show who the appropriate leaders are for implementing each prioritized policy and which partners will assist. The Action Plan should be reviewed periodically, and should be considered a ‘living’ document, subject to change as policies are added or removed from the Plan.