Starting your SRTS Program

The SRTS Program is unique in its overriding emphasis on community participation in the development and implementation of projects and programs. Community participation involves the public, schools, parents, teachers, children, local agencies, the businesses community, key professionals, and others in the development of proposals. The resulting safety solutions are comprehensive, integrated and sustainable.

The basic steps to follow when starting a local SRTS program are as follows:

Bring the right people together. Identify people who want to make walking and biking to school a safe and appealing alternative. Ideally, representatives from the 5 E’s will be included.

Engineering – Local county or city engineer - Creating operational and physical improvements to the infrastructure surrounding schools that reduce speeds and potential conflicts with motor vehicle traffic, and establish safer and fully accessible crossings, walkways, trails and bikeways.

Education – Teachers - Teaching children about the broad range of transportation choices, instructing them in important lifelong bicycling and walking safety skills, and launching driver safety campaigns in the vicinity of schools.

Encouragement – PTA or School Staff - Using events and activities to promote walking and bicycling.

Enforcement – Local Law Enforcement - Partnering with Local Law Enforcement to ensure traffic laws are obeyed in the vicinity of schools (this includes enforcement of speeds, yielding to pedestrians in crossings, and proper walking and bicycling behaviors), and initiating community enforcement such as crossing guard programs.

Evaluation – Designated person - Monitoring and documenting outcomes and trends through the collection of data, including the collection of data before and after the intervention(s).

Hold a kick-off meeting to explain the Safe Routes to School Program, create a positive vision for your program and secure buy-in. This meeting should create a vision and generate next steps.

Gather information and identify issues. This will be used for mapping out how to improve pedestrian and bicycle travel to and from school, increase the number of students walking and biking to school, and to improve safety.Boy riding bike with helmet.

Identify solutions. Each issue identified will have a unique solution to address it made up of the 5 E’s.

Create a Student Travel Plan that will identify short term solutions for immediate action and implementation as well as long term ones that may require further planning.

  • Where students currently walk and bike?
  • Where students would walk and bike if they could?
  • What changes need to be made so that students can and will walk and bike to school?

Get the plan and people moving. Take advantage of opportunities that can be implemented with little or no cost while waiting for other parts and keep the big picture in mind.

Evaluate, adjust and keep going. As the program is implemented, monitor the impact it is making and the effectiveness of each strategy. Keep on with ones that are working well and modify those that are not providing satisfactory outcomes.