What is Safe Routes to School?
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) helps children walk and bike to school safely and more often through infrastructure improvements, education and promotional activities. SRTS is more than just a program, it is a comprehensive strategy to instill life-long habits that support physical activity and health. The focus of SRTS is to teach children pedestrian and bicycle safety, make the environment safer for children to walk and bicycle to school and around the community, and promote a healthy lifestyle. SRTS programs encourage children and the community as a whole to walk, bike, and be more physically active. By promoting a more active lifestyle, there are a number of positive results, including: reduced traffic congestion near schools and in the community, better air quality around schools and in the community, and an overall healthier community.
As of June 2020, nearly 500 schools have received funding through Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) planning, infrastructure, or program grants, and more than 4.5 million people across Minnesota have been impacted by SHIP active living efforts.
Visit MnDOT Safe Routes to School Website for more information and to view SRTS grants and funding opportunities. Visit the Safe Routes to School Partnerships 2020 State Report Card for a snapshot of each state’s efforts.
SRTS planning is important for communities who wish to seek project/infrastructure resources. As a regional development organization, we are here to support communities with applications, planning and SRTS efforts.
Who is Involved in SRTS Planning?
SRTS planning begins with task-force of local stakeholders partners to create a SRTS plan. Task force members could include: Schools and School Personnel, County Staff, City Staff, Community Education, Local Public Health, Law Enforcement, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Southwest Regional Development Commission, Parents, Community Groups, and Engaged Community Members.
What is the Planning Process?
SRDC is contracted to provide technical assistance in creating SRTS plans. The first step is the development of a vision statement and a discussion of concerns and barriers for walking and biking to school. After the initial meeting, the planning process is conducted in three phases.
Complete a community assessment of the current conditions of walking and biking to school. This includes parent surveys and observations of arrival and dismissals at the schools.
Compile strategies and recommendations based on the results of the community assessment.
Compile and adapt the Safe Routes to School Plan. Once adopted, the implementation of the strategies and recommendations identified in the plan can begin.
- Luverne (2019)
- Fulda (2018)
- Heron Lake-Okabena (2016)
- Hills-Beaver Creek (2017)
- Ivanhoe (2017)
- Marshall (2017)
- Murray County Central (2017)
- Pipestone Area Schools (2017)
- Redwood Falls (2017)
- Windom Area Schools (2014)
- Worthington (2015)