Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #105: November 2014
Safe Routes to School E-News is a monthly email newsletter published by the Safe Routes Partnership (Safe Routes Partnership), which is leading the national movement for Safe Routes to School by coordinating and energizing more than 650 organizations, government agencies, schools and professional groups. Our mission is to advance safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, and in daily life, to improve the health and well-being of America’s children and to foster the creation of livable, sustainable communities.
In this issue:
- It’s Official: Safe Routes to School Increases Walking and Bicycling
- The Latest from Capitol Hill
- Report Finds Link Between Transportation and Chronic Absenteeism
- Join Our Next Webinar: Safe Routes to School as a Tool to Address Chronic Absenteeism
- Knoxville, TN Passes Complete Streets Policy
- Apply to Host the Next Safe Routes to School National Conference
- Integrating Safe Walking and Bicycling to School Into Comprehensive Planning
- Pedestrian Safety Efforts in San Francisco Touted During Walk to School Day
- News From the Field
- Highlighted Blogs
1. It’s Official: Safe Routes to School Increases Walking and Bicycling
This month, a new study published in the Journal of the American Planning Association confirms what those of us in the field have long known: Safe Routes to School programs are effective at increasing rates of walking and bicycling to and from school. The study analyzed travel data from 801 schools in DC, Florida, Oregon and Texas collected between 2007 and 2012, and found that each year of Safe Routes to School education and encouragement programming resulted in a five percent increase in walking and bicycling rates—adding up to 25 percent after five years. Click here for an in-depth analysis of the new research on the Safe Routes Partnership blog.
2. The Latest from Capitol Hill
Two new Safe Routes Partnership publications highlight federal Safe Routes to School policy
This week, the Safe Routes Partnership published a new policy report with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, entitled Safe Routes to School: How States are Adapting to a New Legislative Framework. Additionally, we updated our Snapshot of State Implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Program. While both provide a still-incomplete picture of how Safe Routes to School is faring under the now two-year-old Transportation Alternatives Program, the report in particular gives some reason for optimism. Read more about both on this month's federal policy blog.
3. Report Finds Link Between Transportation and Chronic Absenteeism
Schools across the country have found that starting a walking school bus program can make a real impact on improving student attendance and reducing chronic absenteeism – but does that show a larger connection between transportation and student attendance? A new report from Upstream Public Health examines the link between student health and chronic absenteeism in Oregon and the role of factors such as transportation, physical activity and obesity on student attendance. The report finds that as communities have become increasingly dependent on the family vehicle to transport children to school, a lack of reliable transportation is a primary factor in chronic absenteeism for students, and can be a particular barrier for low-income students, with long term repercussions for academic achievement and career success. These findings highlight the importance of programs like Safe Routes to School and walking school buses in offering safe and reliable transportation options for students.
Join us the Safe Routes Partnership and Attendance Works for our upcoming webinar on December 15 for an opportunity to advance the conversation around the role of Safe Routes to School in addressing chronic absenteeism. See details in the following article.
4. Join Our Next Webinar: Safe Routes to School as a Tool to Address Chronic Absenteeism
December 15, 2014, 2:30 to 4:00 Eastern
What is the relationship between student transportation and attendance? The Safe Routes Partnership is teaming up with Attendance Works to explore how we can help students get to school every day.This webinar will discuss how transportation can be a barrier to school attendance and highlight Safe Routes to School as a resource to help communities address chronic absenteeism. Panelists will share community based solutions, best practices, and opportunities to partner with organizations and groups that can be allies in ensuring students have access to safe and reliable transportation to school.
5. Knoxville, TN Passes Complete Streets Policy
Plus: New Southern Forum aims to foster ongoing collaboration among Southern States partners
This October, in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Safe Routes Partnership had the honor of providing technical assistance resources, guidance and review to the great team at Bike Walk Knoxville as they built coalitions and advocated for the passage of a Complete Streets Ordinance. The City of Knoxville passed a Complete Street Ordinance on October 28th and is poised to get moving on the next step: implementation.
Going forward, Safe Routes Partnership staff in the southern states of Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee will continue to work together to spread the word about the importance of Complete Streets. To foster ongoing collaboration among Southern States partners, the Safe Routes Partnership has formed the Southern Forum, and invite you to join if you are interested. The Forum will develop resources and foster conversations for advancing active transportation. The Southern Forum is planning a webinar focused on Complete Streets policies in the South for December. If you'd like to join the Safe Routes Partnership's Southern Forum please contact Carrie Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Apply to Host the Next Safe Routes to School National Conference
The Safe Routes Partnership is still accepting applications to host the 2015-16 Safe Routes to School National Conference. Join past host cities like Sacramento, Minneapolis, Portland and Dearborn in showing off your city and state’s Safe Routes to School programs, bicycling and walking infrastructure, and healthy community design initiatives to conference attendees. Learn more by reading our Requests for Proposals. Applications are due by November 12, 2014.
7. Integrating Safe Walking and Bicycling to School Into Comprehensive Planning
Many roads, schools, and neighborhoods in communities across the country have developed in ways that make it difficult or unsafe for children to get to school by foot or bicycle. One key way that communities go about determining how they want to change and develop in the future is through a process known as comprehensive planning. In a new informational brief, the Safe Routes Partnership and National Center for Safe Routes to School discuss how integrating Safe Routes to School considerations into comprehensive planning can help define the local government’s role in supporting safe walking and bicycling to school. By including considerations and action steps on walking and bicycling to school in comprehensive plans, decisions about the future of our communities can include safe and active travel to school.
8. Pedestrian Safety Efforts in San Francisco Touted During Walk to School Day
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee joined in on the International Walk to School Day celebration at Bessie Carmichael Elementary School (BCES) and touted the city’s efforts to complete four school area safety projects to increase pedestrian safety citywide in an effort to reach its Vision Zero goals. BCES was one of nearly 90 schools and 14,000 children across San Francisco participating in the record-breaking event. Read more about the efforts in San Francisco here.
9. News From the Field
22 Underserved Communities Will Receive Technical Assistance in Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets and Shared Use
The Safe Routes Partnership is pleased to recognize the organizations and communities that will receive technical assistance for their efforts to advance Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets and shared use strategies in underserved communities this year. These organizations and communities represent the successful applicants for the second round of technical assistance provided by the Safe Routes Partnership through the Voices for Healthy Kids: Active Places initiative. View a map of organizations and communities here.
10. Highlighted Blogs
National Active Transportation Diversity Task Force Releases Equity Asset Map (Keith Benjamin)
Advocacy Tour: A New Model for Advancing Healthy Active Places? (Jeanie Ward-Waller)
For more information, contact: