Multistate Evaluation of Safe Routes to School Programs

State Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs provide competitive grants to local projects that support safe walking, bicycling, and other modes of active school travel (AST). This study assessed changes in rates of AST after implementation of SRTS projects at multiple sites across four states (Florida, Mississippi, Washington and Wisconsin).

  • Measures:  AST was measured as the percentage of students walking, bicycling, or using any AST mode. SRTS project characteristics were measured at the project, school, and school neighborhood levels in 53 schools affected by 48 completed Safe Routes to School projects.
  • Results:  Statistically significant increases in AST were observed across projects in all four states. All AST modes increased from 12.9% to 17.6%; walking from 9.8% to 14.2%; and bicycling from 2.5% to 3.0%. Increases in rates of bicycling were negatively correlated with baseline rates of bicycling.
  • Conclusion: State-funded SRTS projects are achieving one of the primary program goals of increasing rates of AST. They may be particularly effective at introducing bicycling to communities where it is rare. The evaluation framework introduced in this study can be used to continue tracking the effect of state SRTS programs as more projects are completed.

Orion Stewart, Anne Vernez Moudon, and Charlotte Claybrooke (2014). Multistate Evaluation of Safe Routes to School Programs. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28(sp3), S89-S96.

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