The Safe Routes to School program, an initiative that began in 1997, is a movement aimed at promoting walking and bicycling as means for children to travel to school. “Safe Routes to School (SRTS) encourages children to walk and bicycle to school, helping to reverse an alarming decrease in students’ physical activity and an associated increase in childhood obesity. By getting more children to walk and bicycle to school, communities are also reducing fuel consumption, alleviating traffic congestion, and improving air quality,” explains the Pennsylvania chapter of the SRTS.
Congress officially established a National Safe Routes to School program in 2005, and now all 50 states are implementing it.
Promoting Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety: The 5 Es of SRTS
SRTS takes a comprehensive approach to improving pedestrian and bicycling safety for kids and seek to get everyone involved, including schools, teachers, parenting, children, police, motorists, and the community as a whole.
The program focuses on the “Five Es of Safe Routes to School.”
- Education: The program teaches children about the benefits of walking and bicycling for their health, for fun, and for sustainability. It also informs motorists about road safety around pedestrians and cyclists and the rules of the road they should follow.
- Encouragement: The program involves the use of events, activities, and lessons to promote and encourage walking and bicycling.
- Enforcement: The program partners with local police departments to assist in enforcing the rules of the road and road safety measures.
- Evaluation: The program collects data and evaluates the progression of students’ and parents’ attitudes toward walking and bicycling, and how effective the program’s measures are. Program evaluation also involves reviewing PennDOT crash data to pinpoint risky traffic areas that need improvement.
- Engineering: Lastly, the program audits towns’ walkability and engineers improvements to infrastructure. This involves making recommendations such as painting crosswalks, installing sidewalks, altering traffic light timing, and reconstructing intersections.
Getting Involved in the SRTS
According to Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Pennsylvania has already funded more than 100 local Safe Routes to School projects that have totaled $21 million in projects. There are several ways that you can get involved with the SRTS. You can start by visiting the Pennsylvania Safe Routes to School Program website and use their list of helpful resources including lesson plans, guides, videos, and evaluation materials. You can also learn more on the site about how to start an SRTS in your community and how to best to sustain the program.
Cordisco & Saile LLC has spent years upholding pedestrian rights. Concerned parents know they can call with any questions related to child injury while walking, such as, is are the damages different if a car hits a child? If you or your child suffered harm as a result of a careless driver then the place to turn is our pedestrian accident lawyer, call (215) 642-2335.