In May 2003, Michigan’s Department of Transportation (DOT), in partnership with other organizations, convened a mini-conference with the theme of Designing Healthy Communities to discuss the relationship between the built environment and the ability of community residents to embrace and engage in exercise. As a result of these discussions, the Safe Routes to School movement was identified as having the potential to improve this relationship.
Falmouth, ME, is a suburban town with a low population density, no town center and limited infrastructure for walking to school. In this town, the majority of students ride the bus to school. The elementary school complex in Falmouth is home to two schools — the Lunt School, which serves kindergarten through second grade, and the Plummer Motz School, which serves the third and fourth grade.
Maine initiated its Safe Routes to School (ME-SRTS) programming after the development of the national program in 2005. Housed within Maine’s Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), ME-SRTS is an established program, which has thrived amid tight financial restraints. Despite these restraints, MaineDOT successfully secured a $200,000 state bond to supplement the national Safe Routes to School funding.
For several years the City of Rockville has coordinated Safe Routes to School programs in Rockville schools with an emphasis on education, enforcement, encouragement programs, and transportation improvements. The goal of the programs is to improve the safety of children walking and bicycling to school. In April 2007 the City’s Department of Public Works received $435,500 in federal grant funds to initiate a more comprehensive Safe Routes to School program, which the City will use to target six schools with speeding and pedestrian safety issues.
In Maryland, the state Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is administered by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) through the Regional and Intermodal Planning Division (RIPD). The Maryland Safe Routes to School (SRTS), since inception, has funded 76 awards throughout the state totaling $14,921,843. In May 2013, the program transitioned under the Transportation Alternatives (TA) program and to the SHA Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering (OPPE) and funded an additional 15 awards totaling $3,840,035 million dollars.
Northeast Elementary School began a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program five years ago that utilizes the generosity of the community — and the creativity of the school staff — to provide incentives to encourage students to walk to school.
In 2001, Arlington, Massachusetts, was selected to be one of two cities in the country to participate in a Safe Routes to School pilot program. Arlington began working with the National Park Service Rivers and Tails program and the MassHighway department to start a SRTS program in two elementary schools and one middle school.