Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. For more information on this program, visit the State or the National Safe Routes to School Websites.

 

SRTS programs examine conditions around schools and conduct projects and activities that improve safety and reduce traffic and air pollution in the vicinity of schools. As a result, these programs make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation choice thus encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age.

While we do not know the exact number of kids that walk and bike to school, what we do know is that fewer children walk or bike to school than did so a generation ago.

  • Currently, just 13 percent of students between the ages of 5 and 14 walk or bike to or from school. 
  • In 1969, nearly 50 percent of students walked or biked to school.[i]

This is an opportunity lost. Walking or biking to school gives children time for physical activity and a sense of responsibility and independence; allows them to enjoy being outside; and provides them with time to socialize with their parents and friends and to get to know their neighborhoods.

A summary handout of the SRTS program shows that it makes sense on many different levels, even from a financial standpoint.



[i] McDonald, Noreen, Austin Brown, Lauren Marchetti, and Margo Pedroso. "U.S. School Travel 2009: An Assessment of Trends." American Journal of Preventative Medicine 41 (August 2011); 2, 146-151.