Chairman Jim Oberstar's leadership and legacy has been lauded by many in the wake of the recent elections. He truly is a tremendous public servant and has positively impacted the lives and "livability" of all Americans — especially our nation's school children through the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.
Communities initiate Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs for a variety of reasons. In an attempt to reduce the barriers for students to walk and bicycle to school, some programs focus on reducing traffic congestion and the number of cars around schools.
The Child Pedestrian Safety Curriculum, developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teaches and encourages pedestrian safety for students grades Kindergarten through 5th Grade. It is organized into five lessons: walking near traffic, crossing streets, crossing intersections, parking lot safety, and school bus safety. Each lesson builds upon previous set of skills learned.
Walking and biking are two of the easiest ways to be active. The National Center has prepared a new research-based resource that specifically looks at the potential physical activity benefits of a SRTS program and describes strategies for measuring those benefits.
In 2005, the United States Congress established the national Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program in Section 1404 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Through a combination of engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation strategies, the program was developed to address traffic safety, traffic congestion and air quality issues around schools, while also acknowledging the health benefits of active school travel.
Pierre, S.D., is a rural town with approximately 13,000 residents. One of its local elementary schools, Jefferson Elementary School, has more than 400 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. In 2003, the Jefferson Elementary Parent and Teachers Association (PTA) wanted to implement a program designed to encourage healthy behavior in the students. The PTA decided that yearly Walk to School Day events would be the best encouragement program for the students.
Children deserve a safe route to school and Tribal communities are making it happen.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs use a comprehensive approach to make the route between home and school safer for children to walk and bicycle. Tribal leaders, community organizations, parents and schools are using these programs to better the lives of their children one step at a time.
The following flier is available for download and can be used without restriction.