The Impact of Safe Routes to School

At HASTe, we’ve always known that Active and Safe Routes to School programs like School Travel Planning work to increase rates of walking and cycling to school. And now, we have proof!

A recently-released US study looked at 801 schools in four states to “assess how the proportion of students walking and cycling to school changed after the introduction of SRTS programs”. Find out what they discovered after the break.

The study, Impact of Safe Routes to School Program on Walking and Bicycle was published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Planning Association earlier this year. It is the first large-scale study of Active and Safe Routes to School programming conducted in North America

The authors collected data at schools with and without programs, in an effort to isolate the impact of Active and Safe Routes to School programs from unrelated factors and trends. They found that engineering improvements were vital to increasing rates of walking and cycling – and that education and encouragement programs effectively complement infrastructure changes, leading to a 25% relative increase in walking and cycling to school.

One of the great things about the study is that it includes a concrete takeaway for transportation professionals and practitioners: Planners should work to prioritize capital improvements that improve non-motorized access to school and revise comprehensive plans and subdivision regulations to ensure new development supports access to school. Amen!

To read the full version of the study, download a copy here.

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