Safe Routes to School Launch Program

family walking

The Safe Routes to School Launch Program is designed to help start strong and sustainable Safe Routes to School programs in California communities

Why this approach?

  • Safe Routes to School programs are uniquely effective, one of a handful of community interventions that rapidly produce public health results in a cost effective manner, per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 
  • Yet Safe Routes to School initiatives are only present and vigorous in a small percentage of California communities. 
  • The goal of this program is to provide communities with the tools, trainings, and assistance they need to develop effective, comprehensive Safe Routes to School programs.

The Safe Routes to School Launch Program, a joint project of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC), will assist communities in creating strong Safe Routes to School initiatives that include the six E’s that make up a comprehensive approach to Safe Routes to School – engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, and equity. With broad engagement of community members, school staff, and agency personnel, these assessments, trainings, and technical assistance will increase the safety and health of students in selected communities in California.

Safe Routes to School Outcomes

How can Safe Routes to School benefit your community?

  • Safety: Improved traffic and infrastructure safety helps students and community members. One study showed a 44% annual decrease in child pedestrian injuries during school travel hours due to Safe Routes to School.
  • Health: When students and community members feel safer and get encouragement to walk and bike in their neighborhoods, they get more physical activity, which helps to reduce the risk of obesity and other chronic conditions. Minutes spent walking to and from destinations add up quickly over the week and assist individuals to meet recommended amounts of physical activity. Healthier people miss fewer days of school and work which contributes to increased productivity. 
  • Academic performance & focus: Physical activity before school expends excited energy and gets the brain going. Students arrive alert and focused, which can contribute to improved academic performance. Safe Routes to School also helps to address absenteeism.
  • Community connections: By walking or bicycling to/from school, children boost their social connection by encountering each other and neighbors. Additionally, Safe Routes to School relies on family and community engagement, providing positive social opportunities for students, families, school staff, and community stakeholders. The result is a sense of community and improving neighborhood connections. 
  • Cost savings: Walking and biking saves on gas, personal vehicle use, and public transportation fares. 
  • Cleaner air and fewer asthma attacks: Walking, biking or rolling to school eases traffic congestion and car use which means a reduction in air pollution contributing to a healthier planet and cleaner air to breathe.

What to Expect

Phase I: Getting to Know Your Community. Our expert staff will review your community's policies and data and speak with community stakeholders. Our goal is to understand where your community is with regard to students’ ability to safely walk and bicycle to school and existing Safe Routes to School efforts. 

Phase II: Workshop. Our half day training in your community is aimed at elected officials, agency and school staff, families, and community members. Participants will learn about the importance and benefits of Safe Routes to School, strategies to improve walking and bicycling to school, and how to start and sustain a local Safe Routes to School program. The workshop will include interactive exercises, a walking assessment, and group action planning that will identify future steps for your community. 

Phase III: Safe Routes to School Initial Action Plan & Follow Up Assistance. Following the workshop, our team will develop a tailored Safe Routes to School Initial Action Plan for your community based upon the workshop planning efforts. Additional technical assistance, such as webinars, research, or consultation, may be provided to help with further planning and implementation of Safe Routes to School efforts.

Bring Safe Routes Launch to Your Community!

Interested in applying for the Safe Routes to School Launch Program for your community? Complete the interest form and submit your completed form to Michelle Lieberman at michelle@saferoutespartnership.org.

About Us

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a nonprofit organization that improves quality of life for kids and communities by promoting healthy living, safe infrastructure, and physical activity, starting with bicycling and walking to school. The National Partnership acts as a catalyst for the creation of safe, active, equitable and healthy communities—urban, suburban and rural— throughout the United States by advancing policy change; activating our network of more than 750 partner organizations; and sharing our deep expertise.