Hats Off to SRTS Programs for Excellent Accomplishments in Reaching the Underserved

Low-Income communities are well-represented in Safe Routes to School programs nationwide. A recent analysis by the National Center revealed that nearly 70 percent of schools benefitting from SRTS funding are classified as Title 1 schools, which is significantly more than the 57 percent share that Title 1 schools nationally represent.

Much of the credit for this belongs to the State SRTS Coordinators.  Many State SRTS programs have accommodated the needs of these low income communities using such strategies as: developing an income-based assessment of the state’s low-income schools; conducting outreach in lower-income communities to increase awareness of the federal SRTS program and help develop successful funding applications; and assigning extra points to funding applications that promise to benefit traditionally underserved school communities.

We're seeing that activities like walking school buses increase active school transport among low-income students. It seems that comprehensive walking and bicycling campaigns that empower school administration, conduct regular promotional activities, establish policies that support walk and bicycling and – perhaps most important among low-income schools – engage parents, are the most likely to inspire significant change in walking and bicycling to school .

Want to read more about this? Below are the studies that support these findings:

McDonald, N.C., et al. (2013). Impact of the Safe Routes to School program on walking and biking: Eugene, Oregon study. Transport Policy, 29, 243-248.

Mendoza, J.A., Levinger, D.D. & Johnston, B.D. (2009). Pilot evaluation of a walking school bus program in a low-income, urban community. BMC Public Health, 9(122), 1-7.

National Center. (2012, January). Shifting modes: A comparative analysis of Safe Routes to School program elements and travel mode outcomes.