Federal Funding for States

There are several important resources to assist in the process of program implementation and planning at the state level.

State Guiding Principles

These guiding principles highlight the important aspects of a successful Safe Routes to School program and are divided into four sections:

  • Goals
  • Program Administration
  • Planning and Evaluation
  • Infrastructure and Non-Infrastructure Programs

Take Action Statewide

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.

Five Steps to Federal Funding

Federal funding comes with a lot of ‘red tape’, and the Safe Routes to School program is no exception. Thus, the SRTS National Partnership has created a Five Steps to Federal Funding fact sheet to help explain the basic process that states and local communities go through to spend the federal SRTS funds.

State Policies

Different state policies influence how safe it is for children to walk and bicycle to schools.

Addressing the Needs of Low-Income Communities

States are utilizing different approaches to address the special needs and challenges of low-income communities, either in the application process or the implementation phase. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership surveyed State SRTS Coordinators to identify best practices for serving low-income communities through the SRTS application and project delivery process.

Leadership for Healthy Communities Action Strategies Toolkit

Working in close collaboration with 11 influential policy-maker organizations, Leadership for Healthy Communities developed the Action Strategies toolkit to equip state, municipal, county, and school leaders with promising and evidence-based policy approaches designed to improve children’s health and reduce childhood obesity. This comprehensive resource includes strategies in 10 policy areas, lists of key stakeholders, tips on how to start programs, and examples of policies that states and communities have implemented successfully.

Making the Most of Non-Infrastructure Safe Routes to School Funds Policy Paper

The Partnership finalized a non-infrastructure white paper in November 2009 - Making the Most of Non-Infrastructure Safe Routes to School Funds. In many states, applications for non-infrastructure funding have been low or of poor quality, but non-infrastructure programs are a critical element of making SRTS succeed. The federally-funded SRTS program requires that at least 10% of a state’s SRTS funding and at most 30% of the funding be spent on non-infrastructure activities throughout the state. With additional statewide leadership to provide outreach, training, and material resources related to education, encouragement, and enforcement, more local communities will apply for funding for comprehensive programs. This paper includes examples of various programs and approaches states are using to help increase the number and quality of non-infrastructure programs, which will also lead toward more walking and bicycling to school in a safe manner, goals of the federal program.

Non-infrastructure elements of SRTS programs are cost-effective and important for achieving the goals of the program. There is a great need to have states and practitioners share more information about successful SRTS non-infrastructure strategies that are already in place.