There is growing movement in this nation to improve opportunities for youth to travel to school by bike or on foot called Safe Routes to School (SR2S).
MARC assists with local SR2S efforts by providing training and technical assistances for communities.
An SR2S program can be small in scope — such as organizing a Walk and Bike to School Day — or larger, involving education, encouragement, engineering and enforcement measures while including local government officials, media and local law enforcement. Organizing a Walk to School Day is a great place to start.
Interest in this program has grown as a result of issues such as childhood obesity, an increase in type two diabetes, dwindling budgets to transport students by bus, rising fuel prices, concern about traffic safety for children, security concerns and concern for air quality. These issues impact every community in the Kansas City region.
The four approaches
SR2S provides four proven approaches for communities to take back their neighborhood creating a safe and welcoming environment for children to walk or bicycle to school:
Encouragement — uses events and contests to persuade students to try walking and biking.
Education — incorporates a curriculum that teaches students about the benefits of walking and biking for their personal health and the well-being of the environment. Important safety skills are also covered.
Engineering — focuses on making changes to the walking and biking environment surrounding schools and neighborhoods. This focuses on reducing speeds and creating safe crossings and facilities for walking or biking.
Enforcement — uses laws to educate and ensure the safety of children.
Each of these approaches can be advanced individually but are more successful when combined.
For a more in-depth understanding of the program, view the SR2S guide from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For more information, contact Aaron Bartlett.