National Center Announces Three New Tools for Safe Routes to School

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (May 6, 2010) – In its continuous effort to equip communities with resources and technical information to support Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs, the National Center for Safe Routes to School has unveiled three new web-based SRTS tools ─ a reorganized, redesigned website, an interactive map of federally funded SRTS programs, and searchable success stories from SRTS programs across the country. These improvements – which are all integrated into the National Center’s website, www.saferoutesinfo.org ─ will help program coordinators, transportation and public health professionals, parents and others more easily locate SRTS information and resources, and get a better sense of the reach and progress of the federal program.

“These new tools and website improvements were designed to support the ever-growing enthusiasm and commitment of communities to make a difference in how their children get to school,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

Comprehensive improvements to the website make it easier to search and browse the information that is available through the National Center’s website. The website has been reorganized into five main sections, based on what information and resources visitors use most: Program Tools, Funding Portal, Events & Training, Data Central and About Us. The site-wide keyword search function has been improved to help visitors more quickly find specific tools and resources. The site is also now equipped with an RSS feed, which allows frequent visitors to more easily stay informed of new information and updates to the National Center’s website.

To quickly view what’s happening with SRTS in any area of the country, the interactive map depicts federally funded SRTS projects and their locations. Searches can be based on several criteria including the location of the school or school district, the amount of funding awarded, and congressional district. The interactive map is based on data included in the National SRTS Project List, a resource developed and maintained by the National Center.

Newly searchable success stories will make it easier to search and find examples of SRTS program stories. The National Center has developed more than 160 detailed descriptions of the activities and lessons learned from local SRTS programs across the United States. From Walking Wednesdays and bicycle rodeos, to new crosswalks and sidewalks with curb cuts, communities across the country are building SRTS programs tailored to their unique needs. These success stories - or case studies - provide examples of how to set and meet goals, how to gauge success and how to regroup, if necessary, to make a program more effective.

The National Center's contract with the Federal Highway Administration to serve as the information clearinghouse for the federal SRTS program has been extended 18 months, until November 2012. In this role, the Center will continue to develop SRTS resources and training, provide technical assistance, and disseminate successful techniques and strategies for SRTS programs.

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About The National Center for Safe Routes to School

Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts and provides technical support and resources for U.S. Walk to School Day and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation. The National Center is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.