In 1995, the Auburn School District linked concerns about the high cost of transportation and increased childhood obesity to create cooperation that has led to 20 percent of its district’s students walking to school.
“The key to our program is the partnership,” said Jim Denton, Director of Transportation for the Auburn School District in Auburn, WA, for 12 years.
Plain City, UT, is a small town of about 5,000 citizens. On June 27, 2006, the Weber County School District passed a bond to build a new elementary school in Plain City. The new school’s location is near three large subdivisions, which increased the number of students who walk to school from 270 students at the school’s old location to 420 students at the new location. Although the school is within walking distance, the narrow access road that leads to it poses access and safety issues for both pedestrians and motor vehicles.
Alpine Elementary School, a K–6th grade school with 780 students, is part of Utah’s Alpine School District, the lowest funded school district in the nation. The primary barrier to walking to school had been traffic congestion, but that changed in 2008 when a man attempted to abduct a 6th-grade student on her way to school. The student successfully escaped and told an adult crossing guard what happened, but the fear from that incident created another hurdle to creating a Safe Routes to School program.
Neighborhoods and schools in Taylor will be connected with a 2.4-mile pedestrian and bike path to make the way to school safer for elementary, middle and high school students.
Taylor has a growing population of approximately 18,000, and it is part of the Austin metropolitan area. Its economy is based on both agriculture and manufacturing. The community within Williamson County takes pride in its ethnic diversity.
Abernathy Elementary, Abernathy Middle and Abernathy High School are on the same campus along a busy road in Abernathy, TX. At least half of the students live within walking distance of the schools, but there are no sidewalks to help them reach the school safely.
Johnson City, Tenn., is an urban community with more than 65,000 residents. Along with Bristol and Kingsport, Tenn., Johnson City forms the tri-cities metro area, home to more than one million people.
In March 2006, Safe Routes Chattanooga, a program of the Regional Planning Agency in Chattanooga, TN, was awarded $364,000 in Safe Routes to School (SRTS) federal funds through the Tennessee Department of Transportation to be distributed to seven schools in Hamilton County. Of this funding, $334,000 is for infrastructure improvements, and $30,000 is for the development of a pedestrian and bicycle safety educational program for the school district.