Safe Routes to School San Mateo County is modeled after the National Safe Routes to School Program and includes the 5 E approach of Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, and Evaluation. The program includes many features to allow it to be implemented in any school setting.
5 E's: Objectives & Priorities
The 5 E’s of Safe Routes to School (education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and engineering) provide a framework that San Mateo County Safe Routes to School practitioners can use to make sure that they are effective in covering all the bases necessary to encourage children and parents to take an active mode of transportation to school.
In recent years, the National Safe Routes to School movement has recognized that in order to successfully achieve the program’s core goal of making biking and walking to school a reality for all children, special consideration must be given to addressing the needs of children from low-?income communities. With this in mind, objectives and priorities are organized within the 5 traditional E’s of Safe Routes to School and a 6th E, equity, embedded in each of the 5 E’s.
According to the 2014 National Safe Routes to School Annual Report, children from low-income families are more likely to walk to school and often face busy streets, poor infrastructure, and more crime or violence than their wealthier counterparts. Low-income communities often do not have strong policies or staffing to ensure that community streets are safe for walking and biking. The most recent data available from kidsdata.org indicates that 9.5% of children in San Mateo County live in poverty. San Mateo County Safe Routes to School aims to make walking and biking safe for all children. With this in mind, equity will be taken into consideration during the grant application process with special attention given to assisting districts/schools/organizations in low-?income communities with applying for funding and program planning.
The education component of Safe Routes to School includes raising student and parent awareness about how choosing an active mode of transportation can reduce traffic congestion around schools, improve air quality and increase physical activity. San Mateo County Safe Routes to School practitioners ensure that their students have the necessary skills to be safe while walking, biking or using public transportation.
Priority: Increase number of students and parents who receive pedestrian and bicycle education and walk/bike maps specific to their schools.
Equity: Consideration of the community the grantee serves by ensuring pedestrian and bicycle education is available to non-English language speakers. Consideration of special needs of students and parents with disabilities in educating them on taking an active mode of transportation to school.
Encouragement strategies, such as International Walk to School Day, generate excitement and interest in active modes of transportation and help parents and children discover that walking and biking are do-?able. Encouragement strategies and education strategies go hand in hand as children are rewarded for participating in an active mode of transportation and educated about the benefits of walking and bicycling.
Priority: Increase participation in and parental awareness of Safe Routes to School walk and bike days.
Equity: Consideration of the community grantee serves by ensuring information on walk/bike days is available in languages spoken by community members.
Enforcement strategies deter unsafe behavior of drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists and encourage all road users to obey traffic laws and share the road safely.
Priority: Currently 39% of all injuries and fatalities in SMC take place within a ¼ mile of schools. Align Safe Routes to School in San Mateo County with Vision Zero campaign, which recognizes that every traffic collision is preventable through engineering, education, or enforcement.
Equity: Safe Routes to School will assist grantees in developing partnerships with law enforcement so that all students and community residents have the opportunity to develop trusting relationships with law enforcement.
Engineering is a broad concept used to describe the design, implementation, operation, and maintenance of traffic control devices or physical measures and infrastructure.
Priority: Provide safe and accessible routes within a one-mile radius of schools that enable all children to take an active mode of transportation to school.
Equity: Safe Routes to School will advocate for infrastructure that addresses street safety around grantee schools in low-income communities and communities of color, where sidewalks, bike lanes, lighting, and other safety features are often absent.
Evaluation is used to determine if the goals and objectives of SRTS are being met and helps identify changes that will improve the program.
Priority: Influence future funding of program through evaluation data that shows an increase in walking and biking to school and a change in parental attitude toward walking/biking to school.
Equity: Consideration of the community grantee serves by providing measurement tool in languages spoken by community members and paper evaluations to those who do not have internet access.