Safe Routes to School

NCTCOG hosted a webinar titled Connected Street Network and Subdivision Design on January 28. This webinar discussed the benefits of more connected street networks for walkability, increased safety, and more direct routes, and designing street networks to enable students to safely walk or bike to school. The webinar featured an academic perspective on the history of street design, mode shifts between different network types, and crash reduction benefits from more connected street networks. The webinar also introduced local examples from two municipalities of their strategies to encourage connected street grids and increase active transportation trips to schools.

Recording 
Presentation
Agenda

 
Safe Routes to School logo with pictures of kids walking and riding a bike.NCTCOG's Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is focused on encouraging and enabling more children to safely walk and bicycle to school, thereby improving student health, traffic congestion, safety, and air quality around schools. NCTCOG supports SRTS with funding, encouragement, education, and planning.  Check out our brochure for more information (also available in Spanish).

For information about school siting in the region, see School Site Planning & Access web page. 

Quick Facts:
  • The percentage of students that walk or bicycle to school has dropped from a national average of 48 percent in 1969 to just 13 percent in 2009, and to 10 percent in 2017.1,2
  • Vehicle trips to K-12 schools account for 10 to 14 percent of traffic during the morning commute.1
  • SRTS engineering, education, and encouragement interventions have been shown to decrease pedestrian injury rates by 44 percent, and increase walking and biking rates by 25 percent.3, 4
  • If 100 children at one school walked or bicycled instead of being driven every day for one school year, they would keep nearly 35,000 pounds of pollutants out of the air.5
 

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NCTCOG periodically funds SRTS infrastructure projects, such as sidewalks and crosswalks, through  Transportation Alternatives calls for projects.
Under the 2020 call for projects, nearly $7 million was awarded to 7 SRTS projects.
Under the 2017 call for projects, $12.2 million was awarded to 22 SRTS projects.
Under the 2014 call for projects, $5.7 million was awarded to 13 SRTS projects.

These improvements will provide better access to 42 elementary and middle schools across the region.  Visit the Bicycle-Pedestrian Funding Opportunities web page for more information.

2019 Safe Routes to School Regional Training

More than 60 engineers, planners, local government and school district officials attended the SRTS Regional Training hosted by NCTCOG in May 2019, led by instructors from Toole Design. The presentations and handouts from the training can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Presentations:

Handouts:
 

Walk to School Day is an annual event that brings together schools and communities to raise awareness about the importance of traffic safety, and the fun and health benefits of walking. It has become a global event that occurs yearly on the first Wednesday in October.
 
In 2019, NCTCOG promoted Walk to School Day by providing planning resources and free prizes to participating schools. More than 95 schools in North Texas held events.  Check out the resources below to help keep you walking and rolling all year long.

Keep Walking!
Make every day Walk to School Day! Examples of ongoing activities include Walking School Buses (check out this one in Fort Worth!), and Golden Sneaker Programs.

Organizer Resources

 

The National Walk and Bike to School Day website offers great resources that are free to download.

NCTCOG Policy Bundle Program: The policy bundle program rewards cities, counties, ISDs, and transit agencies for adopting policies that support the Mobility 2045 plan. When policies are adopted and approved by NCTCOG through this process, Transportation Development Credits (TDCs) are awarded which can be used in place of the required local match for federal funding. Previous rounds of policy bundle awards have included polices on school siting coordination between cities/counties and ISDs. More information on the program, as well as a form to request an application after the next round opens, is available here.

Joint-Use Agreements: Joint Use Agreements are formal agreements usually between two separate government entities, such as a school and city to share public property or facilities. These agreements can save money for each entity and ensure that existing facilities and property are used to their fullest extent by the communities they serve. For more information and examples of Joint-Use Agreements, visit the Joint-Use Agreements webpage.

School District-Transit Report: School District - Public Transit Coordination in the Dallas-Fort Worth Region Report (2020)
This report investigates current partnerships and future coordination opportunities between public transportation agencies and ISDs. Joint coordination with transit agencies can save ISDs money on transportation costs and optimize the efficiency of transit routes to serve the most people possible.

School Curriculum (free)
Go to LookOutTexans.org to download a free School Kit for teaching 3rd - 8th grades about pedestrian and bicycle safety. The School Kits were created with input from North Texas educators, and were designed to support the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards for physical and health education.

Additional parent and teacher resources are available for download:

Tips for Safe Bicycling & Walking Behavior

Tips for modeling safe bicycling, walking & driving behavior
School Zone Safety Tips (Spanish)

School Zone safety tips.  Also available in Spanish.

 

Staff Contact: Erin Curry 
1. National Center for Safe Routes to School. (2011). How children get to school: School travel patterns from 1969 to 2009.
2. Federal Highway Administration. (2019). Children's Travel to School: 2017 National Household Travel Survey
3. Di Maggio & Guohua. (2013). Effectiveness of a safe routes to school program in preventing school-aged pedestrian injury. Pediatrics. 131(2), 290-296.
4.  McDonald et. al. (2014). Impact of the safe routes to school program on walking and bicycling. Journal of the American Planning Association, 80(2), 153-167.
5. National Center for Safe Routes to School Task Force. (2008). Safe Routes to School: A Transportation Legacy - A National Strategy to Increase Safety and Physical Activity among American Youth.