Call for Applications: James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award

January 2016

The National Center for Safe Routes to School now welcomes applications for the James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award. The Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a local Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program that has greatly improved the safety or increased the number of elementary and/or middle school students who walk and bicycle to school. Particular consideration will be given to applicants who have made active transportation to/from school an integral part of school culture over time, especially in places with great need.

This year the award will be given in recognition of the 10 year anniversary of the Federal Safe Routes to School program. It will be presented in collaboration with the National Safe Routes to School Conference being held April 5-7, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio.

To submit an application, download the PDF or apply online.

About the James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award

The Award is named for James L. Oberstar, former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (2007-2011) and former U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District (1975-2011), to honor his dedication to American schoolchildren as the pioneer for the Federal Safe Routes to School Program. Mr. Oberstar sponsored the Safe Routes to School legislation in 2005 that strived to create safe settings to enable more children and parents to walk and bicycle to school. Learn more about past recipients

Application Instructions

The James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award recognizes outstanding achievement at one or a group of schools in conducting a SRTS program that has: 1) improved the safety for elementary or middle school children to walk or bicycle to school; and/or 2) increased the number of elementary or middle school students who safely walk or bicycle to school. Particular consideration will be given to applicants who have embedded active transportation in school culture over time, especially in areas of high need. The award will be presented in conjunction with the 10 year anniversary of the Safe Routes to School Program during the 2016 Safe Routes to School National Conference in Columbus, Ohio being held April 5-7, 2016.

Eligibility 

To be eligible for consideration for the Safe Routes to School Award, applicants must:

• Demonstrate success in improving the safety or increasing the number of elementary and/or middle school students walking and bicycling to school;
• Be part of a functioning Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program currently in place; and
• Have benefited from Federal transportation funds such as Safe Routes to School or Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding by receiving support for infrastructure improvements and/or non-infrastructure projects such as encouragement and education.

Applications can be submitted by representatives of organizations such as a school, multiple schools, a school district, county, local SRTS programs, community organizations, local governmental departments, state SRTS coordinators, SRTS advocates, state Departments of Transportation, Governor’s Highway Safety Offices, Tribal governments, FHWA Division representatives and NHTSA Regional Offices.

Application topics

Applications will be considered based on responses to the following topics.

1) Goals and activities of the SRTS program.

Goals must include increasing safety and/or increasing the number of walkers/bicyclists. The activities listed should highlight the specific activities that contributed to the results and successes of the SRTS program.

(a) Briefly describe the goals of the applicant’s SRTS program.

(b) Briefly describe the specific SRTS activities that have contributed to the documented results and successes. Is there anything unusual or exceptional about the school’s (or schools’) walking/bicycling situation that provides context for these activities?

Examples of activities include, but are not limited to:

• Reducing traffic congestion
• Lowering traffic speeds
• Completing infrastructure to support walking and/or bicycling
• Reducing pedestrian and/or bicyclist injuries
• Addressing neighborhood safety concerns
• Developing community support for pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities
• Creating and/or sustaining student desire to walk or bicycle to school
• Overcoming parental resistance to walking/bicycling to school
• Creating awareness regarding physical fitness, obesity, and/or diabetes
• Implementing policy change:      
     o Creating policies that support safe walking/bicycling to school
     o Overturning policies that discourage or prevent safe walking/bicycling

2) Results and successes of the SRTS program

Successes addressed in the application MUST include at least one of the following:

• Improved safety for walking and bicycling to school, or
• More children walking and bicycling to school.
Examples of additional successes may include but are not limited to:
• SRTS program sustainability, which includes making active transportation to/from school an integral part of the school’s (or schools’) culture;
• New partnerships that were created or increased participation that was generated among community stakeholders through a SRTS program or project; and/or
• Additional benefits such as improvements in:     
     o Student academic performance,
     o Student behavior (such as classroom conduct, attendance or punctuality),
     o Absenteeism or tardy rates, o Physical fitness, and/or
     o Parental participation

3) Additional Information

Did active transportation to/from school become an integral part of the school culture over time and the indications? If yes, briefly describe how and what signs could an outsider observe that show the integration into culture. 

Did the SRTS program need to address equity concerns? If yes, please explain.

Optional: Letters of Recommendation

One-page letters of recommendation from a State SRTS Coordinator or a supporting organization may be included as part of the application. All letters should be e-mailed as attachments to info@saferoutesinfo.org, with the subject line: SRTS Award Letter of Recommendation for INSERT NAME OF PROGRAM.

Application Process

The application deadline is Thursday, February 18, 2016, at midnight Eastern Time. 

Submit the application using one of the following ways:

• Online at: http://saferoutesinfo.org/srts-award-app
• E-mail to: info@saferoutesinfo.org Please use Safe Routes to School Award Application as the subject line 
• Fax to: (919) 962-8710 Please mark Attention: Safe Routes to School Award Application 
• Mail to: National Center for Safe Routes to School Attn: Safe Routes to School Award Application 730 M L King Jr Blvd Suite 300, Campus Box 3430 Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430. Received applications will be acknowledged via email the next business day.