Virginia Student Travel Tally Week

Introduction

The Virginia Safe Routes to School Program sponsors Student Travel Week every fall and uses various strategies to encourage Student Travel Tally collection, which has increased dramatically since the first year. The goal of this statewide event is for schools to collect Student Travel Tallies consistently at the same time of year, which helps both local and state SRTS programs track progress toward encouraging more walking and bicycling to school. Schools participate by collecting Student Travel Tallies during any week in September or October and submitting the results to the National Center for Safe Routes to School data system, either directly or through a VDOT-funded Local SRTS Coordinator.

Activities

The Virginia Safe Routes to School Program offers a variety of resources to support Student Travel Tally Week, including:

  • A dedicated page on the Virginia Safe Routes to School website that provides basic information on Student Travel Tally Week, makes the case for why schools should collect Student Travel Tallies, displays Student Travel Tally summary results for the state, and includes links to a host of additional resources.
  •  A FAQ that answers basic questions about Student Travel Tally Week.
  • A tip sheet with step-by-step advice for conducting the tallies and includes a sample letter from principals to teachers, scripts for daily PA announcements, and strategies teachers can use to explain teach travel mode choice to students.
  • A tip sheet with ideas for making tally collection more enriching for students and integrating it into other classroom activities.
  • Two flyer options to advertise Student Travel Tally week.
  • Directions for using the National Center for SRTS Data System.
  • And a recorded webinar that covers the benefits of collecting Student Travel Tallies, how to prepare for Student Travel Tally Week, how to conduct the tallies, and how to upload the data to the National Center for SRTS Data System.

The Virginia SRTS Program incentivizes school participation in Student Travel Tally Week by giving schools that participate for the first time a copy of the Virginia SRTS banner and sending Student Tally Week decals to both new and return participants. Schools add the decals to their banner alongside others they earn for participating in Virginia SRTS Program activities.

The Virginia Safe Routes to School Program also requires Local SRTS Coordinators who are funded by VDOT through an SRTS Non-Infrastructure grant to collect student tallies as part of their grant agreements.

Milestones

Prior to 2012, fewer than 30 Virginia schools had ever collected Student Travel Tallies. Since then, the number of participants has jumped to 187 schools in 2013, 252 schools in 2014, and 266 schools in 2015, giving Virginia the highest Student Travel Tally participation rate in the county in 2015. Many schools have now collected Student Travel Tallies multiple times. Between 2013 and 2015, 124 schools collected Student Travel Tallies all three years, while 217 schools collected Student Travel Tallies in at least 2 of the 3 years. Repeat participation in Student Travel Tally Week is helping both local programs and the state quantify the impacts of their SRTS efforts.

Contact

Robert J. Williams
Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator
VDOT Central Office
804.371.4868
robertj.williams@vdot.virginia.gov
www.virginiadot.org/saferoutes