Safe Routes to School (SRTS) – is an international movement to make it safe, convenient and fun for children to walk and bike to school
SRTS programs combine the efforts of parents, schools, community leaders and local, state and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children. SRTS enables and encourages children to walk and bicycle to school by using a variety of education, encouragement, engineering and enforcement strategies to help make routes safer for children to walk and bicycle to school.
Michigan has a Safe Routes to School Program that is managed by the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Fitness Foundation. This program provides training, administrative and technical support.
It may take time to get started with the trainings, surveys and assessments, and gathering the right community leaders necessary for a new SRTS program. In the meantime, schools can focus on initiating the following programs to begin to create a safe environment that encourages children to walk and bike to school.
- Provide information on how to safely walk and bike to school on the school’s website. Learn more here.
- Look at your schools existing policies and begin to identify and address policies that hinder walking and biking to school, and implement new policies that support it. Learn more here.
- Participate in a Walk to School Day or Bike to School Day.
- Initiate an informal Walking School Bus or Bike Train.
- Develop a Student Bicycle Academy for 3rd Graders.
- Track Walking and Bicycling Mileage.
- Launch a No Idling Campaign.
- Implement Remote Student Drop-off Areas.
- Establish a High School Bike Club.
Developing a SRTS Program:
The goal of a SRTS program is to develop a school-based plan that will increase the safety and number of students walking and bicycling to school. Schools collect data from students and parents through surveys and assess the build environment near the school through walking and biking safety assessments and use this information to help guide the development of their plan.
- Register the School with Michigan Fitness Foundation – Currently Ferndale Middle School, Roosevelt Primary School and Coolidge Intermediate School are registered.
- Designate a SR2S Coordinator – Each participating school should select someone as a central point of contact for the program, who has the time and enthusiasm to provide leadership and keep things moving along.
- Participate in a free SR2S training session – Nicholas Zajas with Ferndale Public School administration, has currently participated in this training. It is recommended that all SR2S Coordinators and representatives from the City of Ferndale also participate in the training.
- Establish a SR2S Team – It is recommended that the steering committee for Ferndale Moves! becomes the starting point for building a SR2S Team.
- Conduct Surveys to assess attitudes and behaviors – Surveys are given to both parents and students to assess attitudes and behaviors. The surveys are already created and there are detailed descriptions on how to administer them.
- Assess the safety of walking and biking routes – Conduct a walking audit and bicycle audit to identify safety hazards, increase community awareness, and identify possible solutions.
- Develop a SR2S Action Plan – Review findings from the surveys and walking and biking audits to develop recommendations to encourage and enable students to walk to school on safe routes.