Walk to School Day 2009: Local organizers say…

"We had a great event with awesome participation. At 7:50, there is usually a huge amount of cars in the parking lot. [At Walk to School Day this year] there were maybe three at the most."

"Inspired by international walk to school day, we started a monthly walk n' roll Wednesdays a year ago. We formed a new PTA committee to promote safe biking and walking to school. We've presented at workshops and to our city council as well as received grant awards. We've increased our daily bike rider participation by 50%. We've been supported by our 2 cities' public works and police departments, FDOT SRTS, a local health foundation, and county sheriff's department."

Each year the National Center asks Walk to School Day organizers to complete a post-event survey. This year 797 event organizers completed the survey, representing 24 percent of events registered on the Walk to School Day Website. Here is what we learned in 2009 and a glimpse of what Walk to School Day events look like across the country

  • For the second year in a row, the two primary motivating factors for holding a Walk to School Day event are physical activity/obesity prevention and support for a Safe Routes to School program. Forty-two percent of survey respondents named physical activity/obesity prevention as the primary motivator for their event, up from 35 percent in 2008. Nineteen percent of respondents indicated that support for a Safe Routes to School program motivated their event, the same proportion as in 2009.
     
  • Walk to School Day serves as a great catalyst for making changes that affect walking and bicycling to school. Over 70 percent of respondents indicated that their school made an environment or policy change to encourage and increase the safety of walking and bicycling to school. One quarter of respondents said their schools had added signs, 35 percent said they have added the promotion of walking and bicycling to existing policies, and one third responded that their school had added sidewalks, paths, crosswalks, or crossing guards.
     
  • Schools that host Walk to School Day events are increasingly participating in Safe Routes to School programs. In 2009, 42 percent of survey respondents indicated that their school is currently implementing a Safe Routes to School program, up form 35 percent in 2008.

Thanks to all who participated in this year's post-event survey. Save the date for Walk to School Day 2010: Wednesday, Oct. 6!