Funding for Safe Routes to School
Illinois has funded more than 43 million in local Safe Routes to School projects. All applications require an approved Illinois School Travel Plan. Illinois has a state advisory committee.
There are two pots of federal dollars currently available for Safe Routes to School programs and projects. The first pot is from the old transportation law (SAFETEA-LU), and does not require matching funds. This pot is still available in many states, find out about Illinois here. The second pot of money is from the Transportation Alternatives Program, in the current transportation bill (MAP-21), and it requires local matching funds. Find out how the Illinois Department of Transportation is handling this transition here.
Find out more information on federal funding by exploring our MAP-21 Resource Center, reviewing the most current State of the States funding report and reading the most recent national news on Safe Routes to School.
Visit the Illinois Safe Routes to School program website for more information.
State Outreach Programs
From January 30, 2007 through July 30, 2008, the Illinois Department of Transportation held more than twenty Safe Routes to School training sessions across the state, focusing on the essential elements of a Safe Routes to School program and explaining the School Travel Plan and application processes. These free sessions attracted hundreds of attendees. IDOT contracted with the Active Transportation Alliance (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) to hold a statewide Safe Routes to School conference at Illinois State University in the summer of 2008. The keynote speaker was Mark Fenton.
The Illinois Department of Transportation produces two booklets: Kids on Bikes in Illinois for younger children, and Safe Bicycling in Illinois for older children and adults. These materials may also be ordered from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Traffic Safety office.
The Illinois Secretary of State’s office also produces free bicycle safety materials, including a bicycle safety course instruction manual.
Find out which organizations in your state have pledged their support for the Safe Routes to School movement. If your organization isn't yet a partner affilate, we would love for you to join us; it's free! Find more info on joining here.
Public Act 096-0130
This bill was passed on August 6, 2009 and went into effect on January 1, 2010. The law bans motorists from sending or receiving texts or email while driving. The law makes exceptions for emergency situations, drivers who are operating a hands-free device, drivers who are stopped and commercial vehicles using dashboard-mounted devices.
Public Act 96-0052 (formerly SB 75)
This bill was signed into law on July 23, 2009, effective immediately. This bill provides school districts with flexibility in their use of school zone safety violations fines. The bill authorizes use of the funds for any Safe Routes to School or School Safety and Educational Improvement Block Grant program. This will provide a stable funding source for Safe Routes to School. The funding will supplement the school safety block grant funds.
This bill creates a School Transportation Task Force to review school busing policy in Illinois.
Public Act 96-0131 (formerly HB 72)
This bill was signed into law August 6, 2009 and is effective January 1, 2010. This bill bans the use of cell phones by drivers while traveling on a roadway through a marked highway construction or school zone. The law contains an exemption for people using voice-activated mobile phones.
Illinois Complete Streets: Public Act 95-0665 (formerly SB 314)
This bill was signed into law October 17, 2007, effective immediately. The Illinois House’s vote on October 11, 2007 to override Governor Blagojevich’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 314 marks the final chapter of efforts to enact this important legislation that protects pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users. While the legislation passed through the House and Senate, Governor Blagojevich effectively vetoed the SB314 August 30 by changing its meaning. During this month’s veto session, the Senate voted to override the veto October 3 and the House did the same October 9.
This was the fourth successful piece of bicycling- and pedestrian-related legislation to become law during the 95th General Assembly - Senate Bill 80 (Public Act 95-0231), which requires motorists to give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist; Senate Bill 639 (Public Act 95-0028), which identifies police on bicycles as emergency vehicles; and House Bill 508 (Public Act 95-0467), which increases the penalty for hitting a crossing guard near a school.
The Complete Streets law requires that bicycle and pedestrian ways be established in or near urban areas in all state transportation projects. It is effective immediately for project planning and required in construction beginning August 2008. The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation worked with the Healthy Streets Campaign, the League of Illinois Bicyclists and the bill’s co-sponsors Senators Edward Maloney and Joseph M. Lyons to gain support for the legislation.
This is the fourth successful piece of bicycling- and pedestrian-related legislation to become law this session - Senate Bill 80, which requires motorists to give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist; Senate Bill 639, which identifies police on bicycles as emergency vehicles; and House Bill 508, which increases the penalty for hitting a crossing guard near a school.
Illinois Safe Routes to School Construction Program – PA 94-493
Passed in August 2005, the Illinois Safe Routes to School Construction Program sets forth criteria by which applications under the federal Safe Routes to School program will be scored. One unique criteria is the proximity of parks to a school location. This acknowledges the dynamic relationship between schools and the places where children play. The law also requires that IDOT study the effectiveness of Safe Routes to School programs on reducing crashes.
If you would like to submit a success story for consideration, please email it to Margaux Mennesson.
The Success Stories page of the Illinois Safe Routes to School website is continually being updated. Please visit to view the most recent Illinois Safe Routes to School success stories.
Complete Streets Ordinance Adopted in Blue Island, Illinois (2011)
Blue Island, Illinois has a nearly completed sidewalk network and access to transit, and the city has had a long history of providing accommodations for bicyclists in their municipal code. Blue Island has also worked to encourage more students to walk and bike to school and has received Safe Routes to School grants to create better connections. On a sunny summer evening in July of 2011, city council members got on their bicycles and rode to their monthly council meeting; the main agenda item of the evening was to adopt a proposed complete streets ordinance. The vote was nearly unanimous and Blue Island became the first community in Illinois to enact Complete Streets as an ordinance as opposed to an executive order, resolution, or part of a plan. The ordinance will help Blue Island support work they are already doing, like Safe Routes to School. It will also help them work with state and county transportation departments to encourage connectivity and create a network of truly complete streets.