Report Shows How Safe Routes to School Makes Changes in 10 Networks Through Partners and Policies
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 10, 2009
Robert Ping, State Network Director, Safe Routes to School National Partnership
Boulder, CO – On November 10, 2009 the Safe Routes to School National Partnership released a report titled -- Safe Routes to School State Network Project: Final Report, 2007-2009, Making Change Through Partners and Policies. The report was prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), a primary funder of the State Network Project.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership (the Partnership) launched the State Network Project in 2007 to influence state-level Safe Routes to School implementation and to leverage additional resources and build a supportive environment through other state-level policies. The 2007–2009 Report describes the approach and structure of the Partnership’s State Network and Local School Projects in 10 jurisdictions (CA, DC, GA, IL, KY, LA, NY, OK, TX and VA). The networks were selected primarily based on high levels of childhood obesity, diversity and low income communities. The new report highlights the progress achieved at state and local levels over three years, including major accomplishments, lessons learned and next steps.
The efforts of the 10 networks have improved opportunities for safe physical activity for children on the route to school, and have contributed to the quality and public release of $199 million in Safe Routes to School and related funds. One of the hallmarks of the project was its ability to bring together the state departments of transportation, health and education to improve programs and policies through a health lens. Based on the success of the 2007-2009 State Network Project, RWJF recently provided a two-year grant of nearly $1.5 million to expand the project to 15 states during 2010 and 2011. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is currently accepting applications from non-profit organizations in states that are interested in participating.
By making it safe, convenient, and fun for children to walk and bicycle to and from school, Safe Routes to School is helping communities find solutions to traffic concerns, poor air quality, and high rates of childhood obesity.
Congress launched the Safe Routes to School program in 2005 through the federal transportation bill and provided $612 million for state-level implementation of programs that build sidewalks, bike lanes, and pathways, while also providing funding for education, promotion and law enforcement programs. A major impetus for the creation of federal program were Congressional concerns about the rise in childhood obesity— which has more than tripled among kids ages 6 to 19 over the past 40 years—while the number of children walking and bicycling to school has plummeted. Today, more than 23 million children in the United States –nearly 33 percent -- are overweight or obese.
The Safe Routes to School State Network Project: Final Report, 2007-2009, Making Change Through Partners and Policies can be found on-line at www.saferoutespartnership.org. The report includes summaries for each of the 10 networks and local communities.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership, hosted by the non-profit Bikes Belong Foundation, is a network of more than 400 nonprofit organizations, government agencies, schools, and professionals working together to advance the SRTS movement in the United States. The Partnership focuses on building partnerships, changing policies, advancing legislation, and improving the built environment.