At a Glance
To understand the many potential benefits of a successful Safe Routes to School program, it is helpful to review the conditions that led to the program's development in the first place. Consider these facts: Within the span of a single generation, the number of children walking and bicycling to school has dramatically declined. In 1969, nearly half of all children walked or biked to school, including 87% of those living within a mile of their school. Today, fewer than 15% of children nationwide walk or bike to school. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CDCP). Rates of severe childhood obesity are three times higher than they were 30 years ago, putting children at higher risk of premature death and several chronic diseases (CDCP).
Why Safe Routes?
Converting more school trips to walking and biking is a cost-effective way to reduce peak period congestion and improve local air quality. Twenty percent to 30% of morning rush hour traffic can be attributed to parents driving their children to school. School children and employees are exposed to higher levels of pollutants associated with increased asthma rates and other respiratory problems when these vehicles sit idling during pick-up and drop-off periods.
The Safe Routes to School program provides training, resources, and customized support at no cost to participating schools, while working together with district and school administration, wellness coordinators, parents, teachers, and local community based organizations to encourage students to be active, have a healthy start to the school day, reduce traffic congestion, and improve the environmental health of our communities.
The program is based on the comprehensive 5E's model: Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement and Evaluation.
To date program dollars have been used to support over 47,000 San Mateo County children.
Click HERE to see the San Mateo County SRTS Program Guide.