A Safe Routes to School program in Springfield, Mass., submitted the one millionth Safe Routes to School (SRTS) questionnaire from a local SRTS program to the National Center for Safe Routes to School – representing 1 million pieces of information being used to identify local SRTS issues, build programs and understand what makes a SRTS program succeed. The Student Travel Tally and the Parent Survey questionnaires yield information about students’ school travel patterns and parents’ perceptions of walking and bicycling to school. Local programs at 6,350 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have used these resources to gather and study information about student travel modes.
Since 2006, the National Center has helped local SRTS program coordinators collect, enter and analyze their data through a straightforward online Data System. The system, which is free to use, offers communities Parent Surveys in multiple languages as well as user access to their Travel Tally data and summary reports of those data.
There are many benefits to collecting data related to Safe Routes to School. At the local level, it can help guide the planning process and give information on how the program is working. At the state level, participation in the national data collection effort is often required in order to apply for and receive SRTS funds. At the national level, researchers can analyze the data compiled by the National Center to identify and understand national trends and effective SRTS program strategies.
“These questionnaires, and the large-scale analysis provided by the Data System, have resulted in a wealth of information on how many students walk and bike to school—which previously wasn’t collected by schools,” Marchetti said. “It provides an understanding about what goes into a parent’s decision to allow a child to walk or bike to school, and what can make a Safe Routes to School program successful and long-lasting. This understanding was made possible by the commitment of thousands of local programs across the country – we provide the infrastructure, but they have dedicated their time and efforts to providing the data.”
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 information clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts for Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day in the U.S.A. and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation in International Walk to School Day. 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.
# # #