Safe Routes to School
Welcome to Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS). Click here to read a welcome letter from Virginia's Safe Routes to School Coordinator.
The SRTS program has been active in Virginia since 2007 and helps schools and communities make walking and biking to school a safe, convenient, natural activity.
If you’re new to SRTS, be sure to check out this program brochure for some quick facts about Virginia Safe Routes to School.
September 16 - Get Ready for Walk to School Day
It’s almost time for our biggest fall event, Walk to School Day! This year Walk to School Day falls on Wednesday, October 6, and schools, community groups, and families can register a Walk to School Day event on any day in October.
Participating in Walk to School Day and hosting an event is a great way to encourage walking to school, teach safe pedestrian skills, reduce congestion at school arrival and dismissal, and kick off a Safe Routes to School program for the school year. Most importantly, it’s fun for everyone! Be sure to register your event on walkbiketoschool.org and check out the Walk to School Day page for event ideas and resources.
September 1 - Take Student Travel Tallies in September and October!
With students back on school campuses this fall, it's a great time to check in on how they get to school. The Virginia SRTS Program encourages schools to take Student Travel Tallies during one week in either September or October. Schools that participate for the first time can earn a Safe Routes to School banner! See the Student Travel Tally Week page for more information or contact your LTAC.
Program Purpose and Goals
Shrevewood Elementary School’s Healthy Living Festival, Falls Church VA
The SRTS Program is federally funded, created under Section 1404 of the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
The purpose of SRTS is to:
- Enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school
- Make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age
- Facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution near schools
In July 2013, MAP-21 (the new federal transportation bill) became law, folding SRTS into a new Transportation Alternatives program. SRTS projects are now eligible to compete for funding alongside other programs, including the Transportation Enhancements program and Recreational Trails program. VDOT’s Local Assistance Division manages the Transportation Alternatives program. More information >>
SRTS Building Blocks
Virginia SRTS has a new framework to guide local programs. Like you, it's goal-oriented, with the ultimate goal of helping more students to safely walk and bicycle to school. The framework has five building blocks:
- Equitable and Sustainable Program
- Safe Streets
- Welcoming Campuses
- Safe Behaviors
- Supportive Culture
Equitable and Sustainable Program is the most important of these building blocks, and the foundation for your program. It helps you evaluate and build support for your program so it can continue from year to year. It also ensures that the program is equitable and takes proactive steps to reach out to and benefit students who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), students with disabilities, students from low-income households, and other disadvantaged groups. Learn more about the building blocks and example activities in this document.
In 2020, the Virginia SRTS team wrote the Virginia Safe Routes to School Success Book, which documents the program’s history and accomplishments from 2005 to 2020. Click here to read the Success Book.
The first 2012-2017 Five-Year Strategic Plan guided the program through some major changes, creating the program structure and elements that exist today. Over the years the program has been fortunate to have consistent funding, but the funding situation has changed.
In spring 2021, VDOT convened stakeholders to develop a new strategic plan that can be used to secure dedicated funding and increase the effectiveness and reach of the program over the next five years. Click here to read the 2021-2026 Virginia SRTS Strategic Plan.
Transportation and Mobility Planning Division
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, Virginia 23219