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Pedestrian Safety for Kids

A national movement known as Safe Routes to School is becoming increasingly popular in local US communities. The concept of this movement is to increase pedestrian safety for kids by increasing the number of children who bicycle or walk to school.

Various funding projects are being applied to remove barriers that may be preventing children from traveling safely to school. These barriers may include a lack of walking/bicycle programs, unsafe infrastructure, or lack of infrastructure.

Why Pedestrian Safety for Kids is Important
A few decades ago, 60% of children would ride a bicycle or walk to school. In 2011, this number has dropped to less than 15%. Over 25% of children commute by bus, while roughly 50% are driven by their parents or in other vehicles. A side effect of these statistics is that 20% of today’s school kids are now obese, increasing the likelihood of childhood diseases and health complications.

The Safe Routes to School program is attempting to reverse this growing trend by providing funds to improve safety enhancements for walking or taking a bicycle. This movement is achieved through the efforts of both schools and parents. The project should also receive support from law enforcement, health and engineering personnel, as well as transportation professionals.

School Programs
SR2S is the state-legislated project, while SRTS represents the project on a Federal level. Both of these programs are designed to achieve the same goal, although they use different methods. SRTS is generally used for larger projects, while SR2S is popular for local municipalities and smaller communities.

Getting Started
Each community is unique, but the same steps can be used before submitting an application for SR2S or SRTS. Communities should create a plan for their project and identify primary stakeholders. A multi-skilled team will need to work in unison for the development and implementation of the project. Specialists may also be required to identify safety hazards around schools and propose precautionary measures.