What is Safe Routes to School (SRTS)?
SRTS is a rising international effort to increase safety and promote walking and bicycling to school through the “6Es: engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, evaluation, and equity.” The 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) federal transportation bill included a new SRTS federal funding source of $612 million over five years for both infrastructure and noninfrastructure reimbursement grants. SRTS projects continue to be eligible for funding through MAP-21’s Transportation Alternatives Program.
Reasons for the program
During the past two to three decades, there has been an incredible rise in obesity and physical inactivity in children and adults. The impact on health and health-care costs is high and will continue to rise dramatically. In 1969, roughly half of all children walked or biked to school. Now, it is about 15 percent. For school trips less than 1 mile, 29 percent walk or bike.
There is a strong correlation between communities with good bicycle and pedestrian environments, and having more active residents. Air quality and traffic congestion around schools has also become an issue.
Iowa Safe Routes to School is here for YOUR school and community
The Iowa Safe Routes to School program is one of the most important programs a school can develop for its community. Our non-infrastructure program provides ways for children to get more physical activity thus generating better health, increased safety for children, less traffic, and a greater sense of community. The mission of the Iowa Safe Routes to School program is to increase the number of children walking and biking to school. Our initiative builds a larger focus on health, safety, traffic relief, and environmental awareness. We’re given the opportunity to work closely with schools, communities, and local officials to promote healthy lifestyles for children. Our program consists of five focus areas:
Evaluation- Monitoring and documenting data around schools and within communities
Engineering- Discussing ways to create operational and physical improvement to infrastructure surrounding the school. The goal for changing infrastructure is to establish a safer walking environment for students traveling to school by establishing safer crossings and walk/ bike ways for travel.
Education- Teaching children about the broad range of transportation choices, instilling lifelong bicycling and walking safety skills.
Encouragement- Using events and activities to promote walking and biking and to generate enthusiasm for program with students, parents, staff, and community.
Enforcement- Partnering with local law enforcement to ensure traffic laws are obeyed and initiating community enforcement such as crossing guard programs.
Equity- Work to support safe, active, and healthy opportunities for children and adults in low-income communities, communities of color, and beyond.
For more information on building programs in your community please contact Troy at Troy@Iowabicyclecoalition.org.
Iowa Bicycle Coalition
P.O. Box 5562