Principals are often responsive to requests from parents with children attending the school, parent groups like the PTA and from the larger community. Consider approaching the principal early in the SRTS planning process so he or she feels included. If a principal isn't interested, it is usually a good idea to keep this person in the loop as the program progresses. This not only shows your desire to work cooperatively, it also makes it easier if and when the principal wants to lend support.
The Federal Highway Administration's Office of Policy has published Travel to School: The Distance Factor. The independent research using data from the National Household Travel Survey explores how children's mode of travel to school has changed over time. Highlights include:
The National Center for Safe Routes to School offers this collection of original 1-2 page case studies on SRTS programs and activities from across the United States. The case studies, also referred to as success stories, appear on www.saferoutesinfo.org and are seen by numerous SRTS implementers and others involved in SRTS.
The resource section of the National Center for Safe Routes to School website offers a variety of resources to help build and sustain your program.
The short answer is we believe an SRTS Program can help. However, please keep in mind that an SRTS program is more than a sidewalk and infrastructure program. For SRTS programs to be most effective they should be comprehensive and include most if not all of the 5 E's (engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation). Visit our comprehensive SRTS Guide online for more on each of the E's and to see how they work together.
There is no federal law setting a legal age minimum before children can walk to school alone. For a law specific to your state, contact the Safe Routes to School Coordinator local with in your state's Department of Transportation. You may also want to contact the school district or school where the child attends to determine if they have a policy that prohibits children under a certain age from walking to school alone.
The brochure describes statistics for making the case for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and discusses the goals and benefits of Massachusetts SRTS program and lists several state-wide resources available.