Safe Routes to School Program
The 5 Es to Keep it Moving Resources
Whether your school’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program has been around for a few months or for several years, the following resources are for schools that are looking to strengthen their program and keep students and their families walking and biking throughout the year.
The resources here are designed to help schools take a comprehensive approach to safe routes through the Five Es – Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, and Evaluation.
Education projects target children, parents, caregivers and neighbors, teaching how to walk and bicycle safely as well as informing drivers on how to drive safely around pedestrians and bicyclists. Education programs can also incorporate health and environment messages.
- Pedestrian Safer Journey – This education resource designed by the Federal High Administration contains age-appropriate videos, handouts, and quizzes to help teach pedestrian safety to students ages 5-9, 10-14, and 15-18.
Encouragement activities promote walking and bicycling to school to students and their families. Events such as Walk to School Day, contests such as Frequent Biker Challenge, and on-going programs such as Walking School Buses and Bike Trains can promote and encourage walking and bicycling as a popular way to get to school.
- How to plan a Walk or Bike to School Event in 7 Days - Do you only have a week to pull off a walk bike to school event? Don’t panic! You can plan an event in as little time as a week. Look over this planning guide to organize your steps over the course of seven days.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! How to Organize Park and Walk Sites – Students can still participate in a walking or biking event, even if it’s not feasible to start the journey to school from home. A key strategy for many schools is to establish sites where students can be dropped off and finish the trek to school by walking or biking. Information on how to organize park and walk sites are included in this tip sheet.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Going Green with SRTS – Safe Routes to School offers students and their families a way to reduce their impact on the environment. This tip sheet provides ideas that schools can implement to combine a Safe Routes and environmental message as well as help contribute to a healthier environment.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Summertime SRTS – While school is out of session, use the summer to lay the foundation for the next academic year’s Safe Routes program. Take a look at this tip sheet to get ideas for what you can do to prepare for the fall SRTS activities.
- Walking School Bus and Bike Trains Webinar – Walking school buses and bike trains are effective ways to encourage students and parents to walk and bike to school as well as teach pedestrian and bicycling safety, and include the community in a Safe Routes program. Hear from parents and teachers that have successfully implemented walking school buses and bike trains in their communities. You can watch the webinar, or view the slide show presentation here.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! QuickStart Mini-grant Guide - QuickStart Mini-grants are $1,000 grants that schools can use to fund any SRTS activity. These grants are great for purchasing incentive items, printing marketing materials, or even purchasing bicycles or bike racks. This guide discusses the application and implementation process for QuickStart Mini-grants as well as provides examples of how a school can use a Mini-grant to initiate a Safe Routes event.
Enforcement strategies increase the safety of children bicycling and walking to school by helping change unsafe behaviors of all travelers -- drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists! A community approach to enforcement involves the school, its students, their families, and local law enforcement.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Crossing Guard Appreciation Month – In Virginia, Crossing Guard Appreciation Month takes place in February and gives schools, students, parents, and the community the opportunity to recognize their school’s crossing guard and to thank them for the service that they provide. Schools can hold events recognizing their crossing guards and parents can nominate their crossing guard as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards of the Year.
- Liability Webinar – Awareness of school’s liability during walking and biking events can be inconsistent among parents, school administrators, and Safe Routes supporters. This webinar discusses how a lack of clarity regarding a school’s liability can affect a Safe Routes event and suggests steps that Safe Routes advocates can take in order to best understand liability and how to share that information with school administrators. You can watch the webinar, or view the slideshow presentation notes, here.
Engineering improvements create safer environments for walking and bicycling to school through enhancing the infrastructure around the school. Improvements can focus on calming traffic, reducing conflicts between pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists, and establishing safer pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Conduct a Walk or Bike Audit - Before promoting an event or program that encourages students to walk and bike to school, it can be helpful to test the walking and biking routes first. Think about bringing community stakeholders along. Whether the walk audit is conducted by a team champion, walking school bus leader or a community group, this Learn it. Do it. Live it! tip sheet can help make the most of your audit.
- Observing Arrival and Dismissal Field Guide - You can learn a lot about walking and bicycling to school at your school by observing arrival or dismissal. We’ve created a Field Exercise Guide to help, based on best practices from schools across the country.
Evaluation practices can be incorporated throughout the school year to track progress and outcomes of all safe routes to school activities. Use the information gained through evaluation to determine how effective your SRTS program is and modify it as needed.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Student Travel Tally - It’s always easier to see how you’re doing if you documented your starting point, in other words – get baseline data. Each fall, we encourage schools to record how students are getting to school during Student Travel Tally Week. The tally only takes a few minutes over two days, and it’s even easier when you follow the steps in this tip sheet!
- How to make a Tally or Survey Report on the National Center’s Website – Once your school conducts student travel tallies or parent surveys, you can generate a great summary report of the data on the National Center for Safe Routes to School’s online database. These directions will help navigate through the online data base.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Parent Surveys – Parent Surveys are an effective way to reach out to parents, get them thinking about Safe Routes to School, and give them an opportunity to voice their opinions about student transportation. It’s best to conduct parent surveys in conjunction with Student Travel Tallies to get a comprehensive view of how and students travel and why they take a specific mode. This Learn it. Do it. Live it! provides ideas on how to conduct and discuss parent surveys in the community.