2015 - Research

Impact of Safe Routes to School Programs on Walking and Biking

Key takeaway: SRTS has increased walking and biking and improved safety and can decrease health and school transport costs.

Results:

  • Active transportation to school could improve mental and physical health.
    • Walking and biking to school can be estimated to provide 16 out of the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended for children.
    • In a study in Denmark, biking to school was associated with lower BMI and odds of being overweight or obese compared to driving or using transit, and walking was associated with lower odds of being overweight.
  • SRTS has increased the number of students using active transport to school.
    • After implementation of SRTS, schools saw an increase in walking from 9.8% to 14.2% and biking from 2.5% to 3% in a study in Florida, Mississippi, Washington and Wisconsin.
  • Safety can be a barrier to active walking and biking, and SRTS has improved safety for active transportation.
    • Parents and guardians have identified safety concerns like traffic speed and volume and lack of sidewalks as barriers to active transportation to school.
    • In New York City, areas with SRTS interventions found a 44% reduction in child pedestrian injury rates during school travel hours, while other areas had no change.
  • SRTS can lower health care and transportation costs.
    • The cost of implementing SRTS in New York City was $10 million but was estimated to reduce health costs for injury, disability, and death by $221 million.

Methods:

  • This research review examined studies on child health, walking and biking, safety, and economic factors related to SRTS.

Active Living Research. (2015). Impact of Safe Routes to School programs on walking and biking. [Research review.] 1-5. Retrieved fromhttp://activelivingresearch.org/sites/default/files/ALR_Review_SRTS_May2015.pdf

Authored by: 
Active Living Research