National Reports

The reports below describe the patterns and trends related to the implementation of Safe Routes to School using Federal funds. 

Integrating Safe Routes to School into the Transportation Alternatives Program: Reducing Barriers for Disadvantaged Communitites

In 2012, the MAP-21 transportation legislation made changes to the Federal Safe Routes to School program that added a required state or local match of up to 20 percent of project costs. These changes introduced new challenges in funding Safe Routes to School projects, and could be particularly hard for many small, rural, and urban low-income communities.  This informational brief examines the changes in law, the need for Safe Routes to School projects in disadvantaged communities, and how some states are using creative approaches to supply the match.

Download a copy of the brief (2014)

Peer-to-Peer Pilot Program Report

With a goal of developing a peer-to-peer model that would fit the needs of SRTS Coordinators, the National Center solicited input from SRTS Coordinators through discussions at the 2011 annual meeting, direct email, and listserv correspondence. Based on this input, the National Center proposed to develop a P2P program that is on the less formal end of FHWA’s P2P spectrum, and uses National Center staff as the P2P program coordinator.

Download a copy of the Peer-to-Peer Pilot Program Report (2014)

Advancing Transportation and Health

Approaches from the Federal Safe Routes to School Program that offer broad application

This report  highlights a variety of approaches that were successfully used by the U.S. Federal Safe Routes to School Program for integrating transportation and health and offer broad application. The SRTS Program established by Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) - while small compared to other transportation programs - had resources to use innovative approaches to advance health and transportation goals and establish a system that encouraged using data to inform decision-making at the local, state, and national levels.  This report documents what was examined by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, combined with input from State SRTS Coordinators and participants in the SRTS Roundtable on Transportation and Health, convened by the National Center in March 2013.  Nine specific strategies are identified.

Download a copy of the Advancing Transportation and Health Report (2013)

Trends in Walking and Bicycling to School Report

This report is based on parent survey data collected by nearly 4,700 U.S. schools from 2007 to 2012 and shows that more K-8 students are walking to and from school across the country. According to the data, the percentage of K-8 children who walked to school in the morning increased from 12.4 percent to 15.7 percent (representing a 27 percent increase). Similarly, the percentage of K-8 children who walked from school in the afternoon increased from 15.8 percent to 19.7 percent (representing a 24 percent increase). Another significant finding of this research was that the percentage of parents who reported that their child’s school supporting walking and bicycling for the school commute rose from 24.9 percent to 33 percent.

Download a copy of the Trends in Walking and Bicyling to School Report (2013)

Download a copy of the companion piece for practicioners (2013)


Shifting Modes: A Comparative Analysis of SRTS Program Elements and Travel Mode Outcomes

This study explores how school-level dynamics that underlie the planning and implementation of SRTS programs relate to the percentage of students who walk and bicycle between home and school. This study identifies the following four key factors that successful SRTS programs share: (1) Identifying an in-school leader, often the principal, to champion SRTS, (2) Conducting activities that reinforce walking and bicycling, such as frequent walker/biker programs and Walk to School Day events, (3)Generating parent support for SRTS, and (4) Establishing policies that support SRTS, such as early dismissal for students who walk or bicycle home from school.


How Children Get to School: School Travel Patterns from 1969 to 2009

This report describes how student school travel in the U.S. changed from 1969 through 2009 using information from the 2001 and 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) and the 1969 and 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Surveys (NPTS). The travel information presented in this report can be used as national benchmarks by communities, schools and Safe Routes to School programs to better interpret their results.

Download a copy of the School Travel report (November 2011)

Federal Safe Routes to School Program Evaluation Plan

This plan lays out a course to understand the progress of SRTS that recognizes data needs and realities of data collection capabilities at the local level. To start, background on the Federal SRTS program and the genesis of the outcome evaluation plan are summarized. Next, evaluation components and the necessary data to conduct the evaluations are described. Building capacity for evaluation is discussed and then the plan concludes with a timeline that illustrates how the major tasks of the evaluation plan ft together. Throughout the document, specifc recommendations are included to distill the key actions required to enact the plan.

The implementation of this plan would require involvement from SRTS funding recipients, related professionals, State SRTS Coordinators and Federal Highway Administration, which administers the program. At the same time it would serve to inform both practitioners and policymakers at many levels of the results of SRTS.

Download a copy of the National Evaluation Plan (August 2011)

Federal Safe Routes to School Program Progress Report

This report aims to describe how federal and state agencies met the requirements of the legislation; the program’s reach and types of projects funded; and an overview of how state programs are administered.

To further explore issues related to funding and project delivery, the report examines obligation rates of SRTS funds and the practices perceived as supports and hindrances to obligation. The time frame for this report spans the passage of the legislation in August 2005 to December 31, 2010, at which point the legislation had been extended as new transportation legislation had not been passed.

The report’s aim is to inform policy and program decisions for FHWA, State SRTS Coordinators, and policymakers and stakeholders at the federal, state and local levels.

Download a copy of the Progress Report (August 2011)

Safe Routes to School Travel Data: A Look at Baseline Results

The SRTS Travel Data reports are national level reports based on Parent Survey questionnaires and Student Travel Tally forms submitted to the National Center by local SRTS programs throughout the country. These reports highlight key findings and provide information about student travel to/from school and parent attitudes about the school trip among elementary and middle schools that provided data.

Download a copy of the baseline report (January 2010)

United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL: Progress in Implementing the Program, but a Comprehensive Plan to Evaluate Program Outcomes Is Needed

Report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. Senate

In August 2005, Congress established the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program primarily to encourage children to walk and bicycle to school. GAO was asked to determine:

  1. The steps the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and states have taken to implement the program
  2. The extent to which FHWA and states have evaluated the results of the program, and
  3. How the program is related to other surface transportation programs and some considerations for future reauthorization.

GAO reviewed statutes, regulations, and guidance; analyzed program obligation data and funds awarded by states; and interviewed officials with FHWA, state departments of transportation, and local grant recipients.

Download a copy of the GAO Report (July 2008)