New Jersey Safe Routes to School State Network
New Jersey is one of seven jurisdictions participating in the Safe Routes to School state network project (network project), funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. New Jersey has been a network state since 2012. The network project's goal is to advance state-level policy reform, resulting in the award and obligation of federal transportation funds, street-scale improvements and joint-use agreements.
The New Jersey network's preliminary action plan can be viewed here. You can follow activities of the New Jersey Safe Routes to School state network in our blog section and on the state-specific website; this site features meeting announcements and local success stories.
Funding for Safe Routes to School
In January, 2013, the Christie Administration announced the most recent package of Safe Routes to School Grants totaling $5.7 million for sidewalk, intersection, crosswalk and other improvements to help children remain safe as they walk or ride bicycles to and from school. The Safe Routes to School grants are awarded on a competitive basis. The 25 grants will be provided to the recipients as their projects advance.
Managed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), New Jersey's federally-funded Safe Routes to School program is the source for state and district contact details, federal Safe Routes to School funding amounts, Safe Routes to School applications and guidelines, and state Safe Routes to School program information.
Visit the New Jersey Safe Routes to School program website for more information about New Jersey Safe Routes to School program, the NJ Safe Routes to School Resource Center and the NJ Safe Routes to School Program's monthly news blog, The Safe Routes Scoop.
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.
State Advisory Committee
NJDOT’s Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs convened a Technical Advisory Committee in 2001 to investigate ways to implement SRTS and utilized consultant resources to help develop a statewide program. A Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan was prepared by the NJDOT with assistance from The National Center for Bicycling and Walking, The RBA Group, and The Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University. The NJDOT completed a NJ Safe Routes to School Program Strategic Plan Update in 2012 with assistance from RBA Group, Michael Baker Associates, Susan Blickstein and The Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University.
The New Jersey SRTS Coalition was formed with the official launch of the SRTS program in 2006, made up of members of the former Technical Advisory Committee as well as representatives from various state and county agencies, local advocacy groups, and non-profits. The Coalition, which meets twice a year, serves as an advisory group to the NJDOT SRTS program and provides input on the statewide program, shares resources, and assesses statewide SRTS needs.
In partnership with New Jersey's Safe Routes to School Resource Center, Regional Safe Routes to School Coordinators at the state's eight Transportation Management Associations (TMA) provide advice, encouragement and technical assistance in getting Safe Routes to School programs off the ground in communities in all 21 counties.
State Outreach Programs
The NJ State SRTS Coordinator and representatives from the NJ SRTS Resource Center, the NJDOT Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs, and professional on-call consultants continue to collaborate and speak about Safe Routes to School and Complete Streets initiatives at local, state and national conferences and workshops.
New Jersey's Outreach Timeline
In 2005, a SRTS Demonstration Program was conducted in three towns. In the fall of 2006, a series of open houses was held to promote the overall program and explain the grant application process. These open houses were run again in early 2008 with the help of New Jersey’s eight Transportation Management Associations (TMAs).
New Jersey piloted the level two training from the National Center for SRTS in 2007 to local program coordinators and their partners. Local Leadership Workshops were held again in 2008 and a Federal-Aid Workshop for Grant Recipients was offered in May of 2009. Walking School Bus Training has taken place in three towns to date and plans for Walk to School Day Training are in the works.
The New Jersey Urban SRTS Demonstration Program, for which customized workshops and travel plans for 8 schools in Trenton, Newark, and Camden were developed, won awards from the American Planning Association - NJ Chapter and the NJ American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Today, the NJ SRTS Program has been revised to include an updated Strategic Plan, an expanded Resource Center and rigorous community outreach and assistance from 8 regional SRTS Coordinators.
The NJ SRTS Resource Center is run through the Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers University. Staff work with NJDOT to evaluate the success of reaching those most in need of SRTS funds. As part of the SRTS Resource Center, VTC also runs a SRTS list-serve and a help desk, produces a Who’s Who Guide for SRTS in New Jersey and a monthly news blog, the Safe Routes Scoop, twice a year.
Applicants who are awarded NJDOT SRTS project and program funding are required to submit pre- and post-implementation data on their projects. Travel behavior data is gathered using the National Center for Safe Routes to School Student Arrival and Departure Tally Sheet. A Parent Survey has been modified from the National Center’s original and is available in the Resources section of the NJDOT SRTS web site. VTC staff continue to tabulate survey results for NJDOT.
In addition, the updated SRTS Strategic Plan include performance measures that are simple, measurable and easily trackable over time.
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.
Complete Streets - The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has been recognized as a national leader for advancing Complete Streets policies, which promote safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and other users of New Jersey roadways.
NJDOT's Policy received the highest ranking among the more than 210 communities and states that have adopted formal Complete Streets policies, according to a new report (pdf 2.5m) released by the National Complete Streets Coalition. New Jersey was one of the first ten states in the nation to make Complete Streets an official internal policy.
NJDOT finalized a Complete Streets policy in December 2009. The policy requires that future roadway improvement projects include safe accommodations for all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders and the mobility-impaired.
This policy is implemented through the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of new or rehabilitated transportation facilities within public rights of way that are federally or state funded, including projects processed or administered by the Department. The NJDOT Complete Streets Implementation Plan and Checklist covers the full Capital Project Delivery Process.
More info coming soon.
If you would like to submit a success story for consideration, please email it to Laura Torchio.
Schools, municipalities and organizations throughout NJ continue to develop customized programs that are reflective of culture and customs of their communities and implement elements of a Safe Routes to School Program.
Recent Success Stories:
- NJ BIKESCHOOL is a comprehensive, on-bike, on-road bicycle pilot safety program targeted to New Jersey’s youth in grades 4-6.
- Borough of Netcong, NJ - Reversal of Bike Ban - July 2009
- Wharton, New Jersey: Innovative Student Involvement
Early Success Stories include:
- Burlington County - Burlington County Engineers work with local schools to make County road crossings safer.
- Keep Middlesex Moving (KMM) - KMM provides safety material to help encourage students to walk to school.
- Maplewood - The Jefferson School promotes Walk to School Day to advocate walking and biking.
- Montclair - The Rand School builds strong partnerships to form a committed SRTS Team.
- Newark - The City of Newark implements a successful School Zone Safety Program.
- Somerville - Ridewise TMA and VanDerveer Elementary School establish a Walking School Bus Program.
- Westfield - Westfield develops a priority list of roadway improvements to increase school safety.
- Wharton - Active community participation leads to the development of Wharton School District’s SRTS Travel Plan.