Safe Routes to School Programs
Quick Links to:
What is Safe Routes to School?
Safe Routes to School is an international movement that has taken hold in communities throughout the United States. The concept is to increase the number of children who walk or bicycle to school by funding projects that remove the barriers that currently prevent them from doing so. Those barriers include lack of infrastructure, unsafe infrastructure, lack of programs that promote walking and bicycling through education/encouragement programs aimed at children, parents, and the community.
Why is Safe Routes to School important?
Thirty years ago, 60% of children living within a 2-mile radius of a school
walked or bicycled to school. Today, that number has dropped to less than
15%. Roughly 25% commute by school bus, and well over half are driven to
or from school in vehicles. And back then, 5% of children between the
ages of 6 and 11 were considered to be overweight or obese. Today, that
number has climbed to 20%. These statistics point to a rise in
preventable childhood diseases, worsening air quality and congestion around
schools, and missed opportunities for children to grow into self reliant,
Safe Routes to School Programs are intended to reverse these trends by funding projects that improve safety and efforts that promote walking and bicycling within a collaborative community framework. It is through local champions working with a coalition of parents, schools, professionals in transportation, engineering, health, and law enforcement, that the most sustainable projects are expected to emerge.
State and Federal Safe Routes to School Programs
There are two separate Safe Routes to School Programs administered by Caltrans.
While both programs are intended to achieve the same basic goal of increasing the number of children walking and bicycling to school by making it safer for them to do so, they differ in the following respects.
|Program Features||State-Legislated Program - SR2S||Federal Program - SRTS (SAFETEA-LU)||Federal Program – SRTS (MAP-21)|
|Legislative Authority||Streets & Highways Code Section 2330-2334||Section 1404 in SAFETEA-LU||
Section 1122 in MAP-21;Eligible in Section 1112; or Section 1108
|Expires||AB 57 extended program indefinitely||Pending SAFETEA-LU reauthorization. Extensions have been granted through September 30, 2011.||MAP-21 expires September 30, 2014|
|Eligible Applicants||Cities and counties||State, local, and regional agencies and Native American Tribes experienced in meeting federal transportation requirements. Non-profit organizations, school districts, and public health departments must partner with a city, county, MPO, or RTPA to serve as the responsible agency for their project.||
Same as defined in SAFETEA-LU
|Eligible Projects||Infrastructure projects||Stand-alone infrastructure or non-infrastructure projects||Same as defined in SAFETEA-LU|
|Local Match||10% minimum required||None||TBD|
|Project Completion Deadline||Within 4 ½ years after project funds are allocated to the agency||Within 4 ½ years after project is amended into FTIP||Within 4 ½ years after project is amended into FTIP|
|Restriction on Infrastructure Projects||Must be located in the vicinity of a school||Infrastructure projects must be within 2 miles of a grade school or middle school||Same as defined in SAFETEA-LU|
|Targeted Beneficiaries||Children in grades K-12||Children in grades K-8||Same as defined in SAFETEA-LU|
|Cycles Completed||10 cycles||3 cycles||NONE|
|Current Status||Cycle 10 Final Project List dated 06/29/2012||Cycle 3 Final Project List dated 10/11/2011||TBD|
|Funding||$24.25M annual funding||$21-25M annual funding||TBD|
How to get started
While every community is unique, the basic steps to consider prior to submitting an application for Safe Routes to School funds are:
- Identify community stakeholders and form a multidisciplinary team of partners committed to working together in developing a community vision, developing project applications, and implementing those projects if selected for funding.
- Inventory and identify safety needs/hazards around schools; get information and seek out resources; and propose alternatives that would correct those needs/hazards.
- Prioritize alternatives and select the best alternative that proposes short-term and long-term safety solutions in the form of projects.
- Develop a plan for the project.
- Submit an application to compete for funding for the project when a call for projects cycle is underway.
If you have any problems downloading files or other questions, please e-mail Local.Programs@dot.ca.gov or see the Local Programs Help Page.
Continue to check this site periodically for any program updates.
This page last updated on April 17, 2013.