Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School logo with pictures of kids walking and riding a bike.NCTCOG's Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is focused on encouraging and enabling more children to safely walk and bicycle to school, thereby improving student health, traffic congestion, safety, and air quality around schools. NCTCOG supports SRTS with funding, encouragement, education, and planning.  Check out our brochure for more information (also available in Spanish).

For information about school siting in the region, see School Site Planning & Access webpage. 

Quick Facts:
  • The percentage of students that walk or bicycle to school has dropped from a national average of 48 percent in 1969 to just 13 percent in 2009.1
  • Vehicle trips to K-12 schools account for 10 to 14 percent of traffic during the morning commute.1
  • SRTS engineering, education, and encouragement interventions have been shown to decrease pedestrian injury rates by 44 percent, and increase walking and biking rates by 25 percent.3, 4
  • If 100 children at one school walked or bicycled instead of being driven every day for one school year, they would keep nearly 35,000 pounds of pollutants out of the air.5
 

(Click on the blue panels below to expand)

NCTCOG periodically funds SRTS infrastructure projects, such as sidewalks and crosswalks, through  Transportation Alternatives calls for projects. Under the 2020 call for projects, $10.8 million was awarded to seven SRTS projects (click for a list of funded 2020 SRTS projects).  Under the 2017 call for projects, $12.2 million was awarded to 22 SRTS projects (click for a list of funded 2017 SRTS projects ). The 2017 and 2020 improvements will provide better access to 28 elementary and middle schools across the region.  Visit the Bicycle-Pedestrian Funding Opportunities web page for more information.

 

Walk to School Day is an annual event that brings together schools and communities to raise awareness about the importance of traffic safety, and the fun and health benefits of walking. It has become a global event that occurs yearly on the first Wednesday in October.
 
In 2019, NCTCOG promoted Walk to School Day by providing planning resources and free prizes to participating schools. More than 95 schools in North Texas held events.  Check out the resources below to help keep you walking and rolling all year long.

Keep Walking!
Make every day Walk to School Day! Examples of ongoing activities include Walking School Buses (check out this one in Fort Worth!), and Golden Sneaker Programs.

Organizer Resources

 

The National Walk and Bike to School Day website offers great resources that are free to download.

School Curriculum (free)
Go to LookOutTexans.org to download a free School Kit for teaching 3rd - 8th grades about pedestrian and bicycle safety. The School Kits were created with input from North Texas educators, and were designed to support the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards for physical and health education.

Additional parent and teacher resources are available for download:

Tips for Safe Bicycling & Walking Behavior

School Zone Safety Tips (Spanish)

Staff Contact: Erin Curry 
1. National Center for Safe Routes to School. (2011). How children get to school: School travel patterns from 1969 to 2009.
2. Di Maggio & Guohua. (2013). Effectiveness of a safe routes to school program in preventing school-aged pedestrian injury. Pediatrics. 131(2), 290-296.
3. McDonald et. al. (2014). Impact of the safe routes to school program on walking and bicycling. Journal of the American Planning Association, 80(2), 153-167.
4. National Center for Safe Routes to School Task Force. (2008). Safe Routes to School: A Transportation Legacy - A National Strategy to Increase Safety and Physical Activity among American Youth.