Thursday, May 7, 2015

Data Shows the Impact From the Safe Routes to School Program

Think about it- how do your kids get to school? Most school children in the U.S. get there by bus or car, with a small percentage walking or biking. In 2005, Congress created the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program to improve safety and increase the number of children walking and biking to and from school through educational efforts, encouragement programs, and road improvements at or near schools. 

Ten years later, research studies indicate that SRTS has increased rates of walking and biking and improved safety. Studies also show the program is an economically sound investment that can decrease health costs and school transport costs.

The data shows that:

·         Actively commuting to and from school could improve mental and physical health.
·         SRTS has increased the number of students who walk or bike to and from school.
·         Unsafe routes make it harder for students to walk or bike to and from school. SRTS has made it safer for students to walk or bike to or from school.
·         SRTS can lower health care and transportation costs for school districts and families.
·         Communities can take action on SRTS through subdivision regulations that require sidewalks, education facility plans that ensure access to school by foot and bicycle, school wellness policies that include Safe Routes to School, and capital improvement plans that prioritize engineering improvements near schools.

Want more info on how SRTS is helping, including in our community? Get it here.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.