The Safe Routes To Schools (SRTS) program is highlighted in the current edition of the Federal Highway Administration’s on-line publication Public Roads. The article “Safe Routes To School – Making a Big Difference Via Small Steps,” by Rebecca Crowe, Raquel G. Rivas, and Kathy Norcross Watts, describes in detail the many communities across the country that have successfully implemented SRTS projects. As a result of the program, many communities have seen a significant increase in the number of children walking or bicycling to school, thereby leading to less traffic congestion, less carbon emissions from vehicles, cost savings for families, and healthier lifestyles for children.
The Safe Routes To Schools program was established in 2005 as part of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The law authorized $612 million in federal transportation funds for state department of transportations (DOT) to administer their own programs. SRTS funding could be used for constructing pathways, trails, sidewalks, bike lanes and other safe right-of-ways, as well as for education and awareness of the program. The article reports that “As of April 1, 2009, all 50 states and the District of Columbia are participating in SRTS, with 5,200 schools participating.”
As a member of the National Safe Routes To Schools Coalition, ASLA is working with other partners to urge Congress to reauthorize and enhance the SRTS program in any upcoming omnibus surface transportation legislation. ASLA is a supporter of S.1156, legislation introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (IA) to reauthorize the SRTS program and expand its eligibility to include high schools.