League of American Bicyclists Rolls out Program to Promote "Safe Routes to School" Nationally
The League of American Bicyclists (incorporated as the League of American Wheelmen) organized a national meeting, conducted a training session and produced a video to influence the scope, uptake and effectiveness of the national Safe Routes to School Program.
- The League of American Bicyclists helped launch The Safe Routes to School National Partnership at a meeting organized under this grant. The partnership is a collaboration of bicycling and walking groups, health advocates, schools, government agencies and businesses, which works to advance the Safe Routes to School Program.
- The league produced Safe Routes to School, a four-minute video to promote the program.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $50,000 to support this unsolicited project from 2005 to 2006.
In 2005, Congress authorized a $612 million Safe Routes to School Program to encourage children to walk and bike to school (for more information, see Appendix 1). Congress directed that each state Department of Transportation implement the program, though many had no experience in this area.
The League of American Bicyclists worked to influence the scope, uptake and effectiveness of the Safe Routes to School Program by:
- Organizing a national meeting to set priorities for implementing the program.
- Producing a video to promote the program.
- Training state Safe Routes to School coordinators.
The League of American Bicyclists promoted bicycling and encouraged bike-friendly communities under two previous RWJF grants. For more information, see the Grant Results on ID#s 043606 and 050074.
Project staff reported the following results to RWJF:
- Helped launch the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a collaboration of more than 250 bicycling and walking groups, health advocates, schools, government agencies and businesses, which works to advance the Safe Routes to School Program. The launch took place at a national meeting sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists that drew some 50 leaders from the Federal Highway Administration, Bikes Belong Coalition, the RWJF national program Active Living by Design and other organizations to work on a national agenda to implement the Safe Routes to School Program (October 24, 2005, Washington). Representatives from the league serve on the partnership's steering committee. For more information on the partnership, see Appendix 2.
- Conducted training for 13 Safe Routes to School state coordinators and some federal transportation program representatives. The League of American Bicyclists offered a one-day orientation program during its National Bike Summit on March 2, 2006, in Washington. The 13 state coordinators, who had been hired by that time, and representatives of the Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attended.
- Produced a four-minute video, Safe Routes to School, to promote the program. The video introduces the program to parents, educators, school administrators, school boards, city councils and public safety officers. People can view it online on the Safe Routes to School section of the League of American Bicyclists Web site or request a free DVD from the league.
AFTER THE GRANT
The League of American Bicyclists has continued its Safe Routes to School work, including through the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
In 2007, the league created a middle-school curriculum to teach students how to bike and walk to school safely and promoted Safe Routes to School in workshops and demonstrations at its Bicycle Education Conference (June 2007, Austin, Texas).
GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION
Planning for a National Initiative on Providing Safe Bike Routes to Schools
League of American Wheelmen, dba League of American Bicyclists (Washington, DC)
Dates: October 2005 to September 2006
The Safe Routes to School Program
The federal Safe Routes to School Program is a national movement to create safe, convenient and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to school. It is designed to address the decline in the number of children walking or bicycling to school, from about 50 percent in 1969 to fewer than 15 percent in 2001, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Highway Administration.
In response to this trend, Congress established the Safe Routes to School Program on July 29, 2005, when it approved the $286.5 billion federal transportation bill known as SAFETEA-LU; this bill includes $612 million for the new federal Safe Routes to School Program. Under the new program, each state receives a minimum of $1 million per fiscal year from 2006 to 2009 for Safe Routes to School Programs, administered through individual state Departments of Transportation.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership works to advance the Safe Routes to School Program. A key goal is to ensure that the Safe Routes to School funding is put to the best use. The Bikes Belong Coalition funds and manages the partnership.
In October 2005, attendees at the League of American Bicyclists' Safe Routes to School leadership meeting launched the partnership and developed a consensus statement that included these key objectives for each Safe Routes to School Program:
- Encourage students, families and school staff to be physically active by walking and bicycling more often.
- Make streets, sidewalks, pathways, trails and crosswalks safe, convenient and attractive for walking and bicycling to school.
- Ensure that streets around schools have an adequate number of safe places to cross and that there is safe and convenient access into the school building from adjacent sidewalks.
- Keep driving speeds slow near schools, on school routes and at school crossings.
- Enforce all traffic laws near schools, on school routes and in other areas of high pedestrian and bicycle activity.
- Locate schools within walking and bicycling distance of as many students as possible, not along busy streets on the edges of neighborhoods.
- Reduce the amount of traffic around schools.
- Use trails, pathways and nonmotorized corridors as travel routes to schools.
- Provide secure bicycle parking at schools.
- Teach traffic safety skills routinely in school.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership's Web site has information about the partnership's strategic plan for 2007 to 2010.
(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)
Audio-Visuals and Computer Software
Safe Routes to School, a four-minute video. Available as a DVD or as a download online. Washington: The League of American Bicyclists, 2006.
World Wide Web Sites
www.bikeleague.org/programs/saferoutes/video.php. Web site includes the Safe Routes to School video, information on the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and a link to information on how to start a Safe Routes to School Program. Washington: The League of American Bicyclists, July 2006.
Report prepared by: Margaret O. Kirk
Reviewed by: Lori De Milto
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: David C. Colby