It is at the local level that the feet and tires of walkers and cyclists actually hit the pavement to make Safe Routes to School a healthy reality. Local Safe Routes to School efforts can start small with one individual or a small group of concerned parents who just want to offer their children healthy transportation alternatives. Or programs can involve entire school districts, city planners and health officials united by the goals of the Safe Routes to School movement: improved health and reduced childhood obesity, decreased traffic congestion, better air quality and enhanced neighborhood safety.
Your Safe Routes to School program may initially require more manpower than funding. But as your effort grows, you should look to your state Department of Transportation to apply for a grant to secure federal funding. In 2005, Congress approved $612 million to establish federal Safe Routes to School funding for Safe Routes to School programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each State Department of Transportation (DOT) received a minimum of $1 million per fiscal year through 2009 to fund local Safe Routes to School efforts. Congress has extended the program at $183 million per year starting in FY2010 until a long-term transportation reauthorization is complete.
Who to Contact
Find out if your community already has a Safe Routes to School program in place by contacting your local school, or your city or county government.
You should also contact your state’s Safe Routes to School program to find out where your state DOT stands in implementing the federal Safe Routes to School program, and to see if s/he has been contacted by anyone else in your community.
If your community or school does not have a Safe Routes to School program, please see our Getting Started page that includes helpful links, a PowerPoint presentation and specifics on how to use the Five E's of Safe Routes to School to build your program. You can also view this resource – Simple Steps to Get Started with Safe Routes to School Resources and Information for Schools – for more information on starting your Safe Routes to School program.