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Interactive driver feedback signs alert drivers to school zones and pedestrian crossings. Safe Routes to School funds also can help with crossing guard programs.
What Qualifies?

Infrastructure projects are the engineering components: planning, design, and construction that improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle to school. Eligible infrastructure projects include:

  • Sidewalks
  • Traffic calming and reductions
  • Pedestrian and bicycle crossings
  • On-street bike facilities
  • Off-street bike and pedestrian facilities
  • Secure bike parking facilities
  • School zone traffic diversion improvements.

Common projects include signing, pavement marking, and signal upgrades to provide motorists with better advance notice of approaching school zones and pedestrians.

Between 10% and 30% of the available funds must be spent on non-infrastructure activities. Non-infrastructure projects are the remaining four E's and include:

  • Public awareness efforts focusing on press and community leaders
  • School vicinity traffic education and enforcement
  • Student sessions on bicycle and pedestrian safety, health, and environment
  • Training and funding for volunteers and STRS managers.

Qualified projects include promotional and education materials, trainers, school and communication workshops, data gathering and analysis, and additional law enforcement costs.

Results Measured

Because so few programs have been fully implemented, measured results are in the early stage. Many non-infrastructure curriculum programs will begin next school year and the early infrastructure projects in the coming construction season. But the National Center for Safe Routes to School has developed evaluation tools to measure behaviors and attitudes toward walking and bicycling to school. “We are encouraging all states to use these national tools to assess the impact of SRTS on student travel and habits,” says Hecox.

Find out more

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferoutes/index.htm.

National Center for Safe Routes to School:
www.saferoutesinfo.org

Your state's SRTS coordinator:
www.saferoutesinfo.org/contacts/index.cfm

Read Rep. James L. Oberstar's (D-Minn.) piece
on the inspiration for the program.

— Thomas McGlynn is director of highway safety business for 3M's Traffic Safety Systems Division.