From all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 4,281 schools registered Walk to School Day events, setting a new Walk to School Day record.
“Credit for the success of Walk to School Day 2012 is shared widely,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which serves as the coordinating agency for the event.
“Much of the credit has to go to the parents, school administrators and local officials who have brought Safe Routes to School programs to their communities,” Marchetti continued. “Credit also belongs to the state Safe Routes to School coordinators, who work hard to improve safety and promote students getting to school by foot and bicycle.”
Other success factors in 2012 include:
- support of organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Safe Kids USA;
- establishment of Bike to School Day in May 2012, which created year-round awareness and energy for walking and biking to school; and
- easier access to more resources for event organizers through the new look and navigation of the Walk and Bike to School Day website, walkbiketoschool.org.
“Walk to School Day continues to build momentum here in the U.S. and around the world,” Marchetti said, “and continues to bring visibility to the benefits of walking and bicycling to school for children, families, schools and communities.”
Walk to School Day began in the US in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. In 2000, the event became International Walk to School Day when the UK, Canada and US joined together for the first time. To accommodate growing interest around the world, organizers began promoting International Walk to School Month for the entire month of October.
Today, thousands of schools across America and in more than 40 countries worldwide celebrate walking to school every October. The officially promoted Walk to School Day this year was Wednesday, October 3, but Walk to School Day events take place throughout the month, even spilling into September and November.
This year’s registration topped 2011’s record total of 4,175. Many more communities celebrated Walk to School Day, but didn’t register their event. Walk to School Day registration has grown every year since the National Center for Safe Routes to School began coordinating the event in 2006.
Other interesting registration facts:
- 35 percent of participating schools (1,529) celebrated Walk to School Day for the first time in 2012;
- 45 percent of participating schools (1,941) are part of an ongoing Safe Routes to School program;
- One of every 21 elementary and middle schools in the country registered a Walk to School Day event; and
- The three states with the highest registration rates (event registrations per total number of elementary and middle schools in the state) were South Carolina, Oregon and Mississippi, each registering at least 1 of 6 elementary and middle schools.