From 2005-2012, each state received federal funding specifically for Safe Routes to School projects via the federal transportation legislation SAFETEA-LU. Many states still have funds remaining from the Safe Routes to School program; see our State of the States quarterly tracking report to see whether this funding is still available in Colorado. To learn more about federal funding for Safe Routes to School, read through the Five Steps to Federal Funding: A Brief Explanation of the Safe Routes to School Program Process. You can find additional resources in our national learning network too.
In July 2012, Congress passed a new transportation bill, MAP-21, which consolidated several bicycling and walking programs, including Safe Routes to School, into a new program called Transportation Alternatives. Starting in 2013, states have the option to continue running standalone Safe Routes to School programs or to have Safe Routes to School projects contend with other types of projects in a Transportation Alternatives competition.
Additional information on how Transportation Alternatives works is available in our National Policy section.
Since 2005, 691 local Safe Routes to School projects totaling $12.3 million have been selected for funding in Colorado. In 2012, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) awarded $2.5 million in federal Safe Routes to School funds, providing grants for projects in 26 cities. CDOT funded 11 infrastructure projects and 15 non-infrastructure projects in 2012.
School districts and local governments are eligible to apply for Safe Routes to School infrastructure and non-infrastructure funds. Now, with MAP-21, the new transportation bill, Safe Routes to School projects require a 20 percent funding match. Minimum funding for infrastructure projects is set at $50,000 with maximum funding at $250,000. Minimum funding for non-infrastructure projects is set at $3500. View funded Colorado projects.
Visit the Colorado Safe Routes to School program website for more information.
For more information on the steps you need to take to get started, read through the Five Steps to Federal Funding: A Brief Explanation of the Safe Routes to School Program Process. You can find additional resources in our national learning network too.
State Outreach Programs
The Spin: A statewide Safe Routes to School eNews
The Spin is a monthly e-newsletter designated to facilitate information sharing and connections among communities and organizations interested in increasing the number of Colorado students walking and biking safely to and from school every day. The Colorado Safe Routes to School State Network encourages you to subscribe and share with your respected networks. View the September issueand subscribe to future issues of The Spin here.
Crossing Guard Trainings
The Colorado Department of Transportation developed a standards based training course for crossing guards that is now available for use on their website including a training manual, video, supporting presentations and materials. Additionally, the state officially trained crossing guard trainers that are now available in Colorado.
K-8 Standards Based Safe Routes to School Curriculum
The Colorado Department of Transportation, through their Safe Routes to School program, developed K-8 bicycle and pedestrian safety and core subject lesson plans that align with the Colorado state standards for education. Recommended by the Colorado Department of Education, these fully-developed lesson plans are easy to integrate into any classroom setting and are proven effective and fun learning materials for students.
Both the Crossing Guard Trainings and the K-8 Standards Based Safe Routes to School Curriculum are available for download on CDOT's website.
State Advisory Committee
Colorado has a state advisory committee.
If you would like to submit a success story for consideration, please email it to Margaux Mennesson.
Littleton Schools Roll Out of Bed for Walk to School Day
Over 5,000 students in 10 Littleton Public Schools (LPS) joined in an effort around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Dayon October 3, 2012. Children across the globe ditched other modes of transport in favor of strutting to school. South Suburban Parks and Recreation supported LPS by creating safe routes maps and donating a free pass for their ice arena to each student who participated in the event.
Schools organized walking school buses and bike trains that promote and facilitate walking and bicycling to school. Highland, Centennial and Sandburg Elementary schools had just completed their bicycle educational program with Bicycle Colorado as part of the Safe Routes to School Grant they received, and not only walked, but also filled the bike racks at their schools. At Sandburg Elementary close to 90 percent of the students participated. The buses stopped about a 1/4 mile from the school so students could walk. Additionally, the before-school childcare program went out early and walked a designated route, families took to the streets in huge numbers enjoying the beautiful weather, and teachers got into step by greeting students as they arrived with fun stickers and healthy snacks donated by Cliff Bar.
Principal McDonald at Sandburg Elementary School said, "Walk (or Bike) to School Day is a special event at our school and one our students look forward to. This year it was also ‘Wear Your Pajamas to School’ day and a chilly morning, which brought out the flannels! Walk to school day supports our health and wellness goals and encourages families to leave the car in the garage more often.”
Laurel Elementary Remote Drop-offs
International Walk to School Day 2012 at Laurel Elementary School in Fort Collins was extremely festive and successful! 150 bused students walked from a remote drop-off location, led by 20 members of the Colorado State University (CSU) marching band. The Fort Collins High School cheerleading squad and City Councilmember Ben Manvel were also on hand to encourage the kids. Families that normally drive were encouraged to park at a remote location as well, where there was free coffee and a "walking school bus" (complete with a cardboard bus) to accompany kids to school. Once they arrived at their school, kids enjoyed a free breakfast, music and a dance with the "Walk to School Day" mascot. "With the remote drop-offs, it was exciting to be able to include nearly all 415 students in our event," said Bevin Barber-Campbell, parent champion of the Bike/Walk to School Program at Laurel.
$270,000 in Safe Routes to School funding helped fund encouragement and education programs at several elementary schools in Longmont and Boulder, CO areas. Before the program began at one of the elementary schools, only about a dozen children were bicycling to school regularly. By the end of the school year, the program averaged 60 participants per day, a five-fold increase.
Boulder’s High-Tech Solution: Boltage Encourages and Measures Bicycle Riders and Walkers
Boltage is a non-profit organization that uses incentives and innovative technology to encourage children to ride and walk to school. Kids earn prizes based on the number of days they ride or walk. The ZAP, a solar-powered, eco-friendly radio frequency ID (RFID) tag reader registers RFID tags attached to the kids’ backpacks or helmets. The ZAP counts the number of times a child rides or walks to school, and then wirelessly uploads the data to the Boltage website so children can see how close they are to earning a prize. Moreover, the ZAP automatically measures participation every day, rain or shine. Prizes are determined by the participating school.
To date, Boltage has been implemented at 5 schools in the Boulder Valley, Saint Vrain Valley, and Calhan School Districts in Colorado - Crest View Elementary, Foothill Elementary, Casey Middle, Burlington Elementary, and Calhan School – as well as 31 other schools nationwide. The ZAP located at Crest View Elementary in Boulder has been in place since 2005. Since its installation, the number of bicycle trips has doubled from 10,000 to 20,000 per year. On any given day, 25% of the students may ride their bikes to school. Ned Levine, Crest View’s principal, raves about the program: "Our bike racks are overflowing. Everybody here loves the program and the extra encouragement it provides to students to bike to school."
As of January 2008, Boltage has received approximately $16,000 in federal Safe Routes to School funds from the Boulder Valley School District for the 2006-08 school years. Starting in 2010, the Calhan School received Safe Routes to School funding to implement the Boltage program at their school. The majority of funding for Boltage has come from monetary and in-kind donations and sponsorships from individuals and businesses. As of the 2010-11 school year, Boltage has expanded and now supports a total of 35 schools nationwide. Boltage also hopes to build additional functions into its technology before the next school year, including the ability to calculate calories burned, emissions saved, and other indicators of success.
Longmont, Colorado: School Plan with 5Es
Five Longmont, Colorado schools are part of a community that has built its Safe Routes to School program on all 5 Es and boasts participation rates as high as 96 percent. Evaluation methods include student and parent surveys by the schools and traffic counts by the City of Longmont Traffic Engineers.
Education efforts include an annual “Parent Night” information booth and safety instruction by League Cycling Instructors while encouragement activities include Walk or Wheel (WOW) Thursdays and a regular incentive program with raffle tickets for participation. Engineering and enforcement involve the City, which provides route maps, infrastructure improvements, and police assistance.
The results? At one elementary school, Columbine Elementary School, the total number of cars doing drop-offs has been reduced to fewer than 15 daily where once 189 children (out of a total enrollment of 401) were being driven to school.
High Gear Cyclery, Inc.
Find out which organizations in your state have pledged their support for the Safe Routes to School movement. If your organization isn't yet a partner affilate, we would love for you to join us; it's free! Find more info on joining here.
Colorado state law (HB 1309 (.pdf download) officially established and outlined a state Safe Routes to School program to distribute federal funds received by the state to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists in school areas.
Colorado also passed a new state law in 2011, Safe Streets for Children HB 1147, which supports safe streets for children by making a state bicycle and pedestrian policy a statute and providing a children's traffic safety curriculum for school district use.