Safe Routes To School

Safe Routes To School

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Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are an opportunity to make walking and bicycling to school safer for children in grades K-8, and to increase the number of families who encourage their children to walk and bike. On a broader level, SRTS programs can enhance children’s health and well-being, ease traffic congestion near the school, and improve community members’ overall quality of life.

Why promote walking and bicycling?

9:48 minute video


Walk To School - 20 years

   Next National Event:
 May 9th, 2018 - Bike To School Day
  Walk & Bike To School website - Materials to start a local progam, register your program, and keep your program going all year long.
 First Time Tips
 Getting Started Guide
 Plan an Event in 7 Days
 Safety First
 Access for All Students - Including Children with Disabilities



Why Walk or Bike?

Communities are using the walk or bike to school as the first step to change community culture and create environments that are more inviting for everyone, young and old. Here are some reasons to support walking and biking to school:

It's Fun
Walking and bicycling bring a sense of joy and independence.

Healthier Habits
The trip to school is a chance for children (and adults!) to get the physical activity they need.

Cleaner Environment
Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can reduce congestion and air-polluting emissions.

Promoting Safety
Building sidewalks, providing education programs and adding traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve safety. Encouraging walking and bicycling to school   can help build support for infrastructure improvements in the broader community.

Community Benefits
Reducing traffic congestion, boosting a sense of community, and improving neighborhood connections benefit the community.


WisDOT SRTS Funding

The SRTS 2015-2016 application cycle closed on Jan. 29, 2016.

NCWRPC submitted a regional application for schools that registered with us as being interested in planning for Safe Routes To School.

NCWRPC received the Regional SRTS planning grant!!!

Work with registered school districts may begin July 2018.


The goals of SRTS are:

  1. To enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bike to school;
  3. To make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and
  5. To facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.
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Links to SRTS surveys:


Getting Started Guide

The following 8 steps will get you from ideas to reality. This guide is intended for event organizers who like having a to-do list so that they know everything is covered. Seasoned event organizers or those who feel comfortable with a more relaxed approach may want to simply skim this information.

  1. Envision the event
  2. Get buy-in from the school
  3. Register your event
  4. Approach partners and recruit volunteers
  5. Finalize event plans
  6. Promote the Event
  7. Celebrate
  8. Follow up

In addition to the guide, take a look at these first time event tips to help you plot out planning tasks for the event.


Keep Going! Walk & Bike Year-Round

Here is additional advice on how to sustain enthusiasm from walk-bike events to create year-round walking and biking to school.



SRTS Planning Process

While every community is unique, the basic steps to starting a Safe Routes to School program include:

  1. Bring together the right people who want to make walking and bicycling to school safe and appealing for children.
  2. A Safe Routes To School (SRTS) Task Force consists of administrators or teachers from each of the elementary and middle schools, parents, police, health department, recreation department, local businesses, and interested residents.

    Contact NCWRPC as soon as you have interest in SRTS for more assistance.

    After a SRTS Task Force is formed, then NCWRPC will schedule when to assist the SRTS Task Force with the remaining tasks listed below.

  3. Hold a Community SRTS Task Force kick-off meeting to create a vision and generate next steps.

  4. Gather information and identify issues. Collecting information can help to identify needed program elements and provide a means to measure the impact of the program later.

  5. Identify solutions. The Task Force will review the issues, and include a combination of education, encouragement, engineering, and enforcement strategies to help resolve the issues of why children are not walking or biking to school.
  6. Education—includes teaching pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers about traffic safety and creating awareness of the benefits and goals of SRTS.

    Encouragement—strategies are about having fun; they generate excitement and interest in walking and bicycling.

    Engineering—focuses on tools that work to create safe routes by improving paths, creating safer crossings, and slowing down traffic. At the same time, it recognizes the importance of a balanced roadway environment that can accommodate the needs of all modes of transportation, be it foot, bicycle, or motor vehicle.

    Enforcement—strategies are used to deter unsafe behaviors of drivers, pedestrians, & bicyclists, and to encourage all road users to obey traffic laws and share the road safely.

  7. Make a plan. The SRTS plan does not need to be lengthy but should include education, encouragement, engineering, and enforcement strategies, a time schedule, a map of the area covered by the plan, and an explanation of how the program will be evaluated.

  8. Get the plan and people moving. There are strategies that can be done right away without major funding, while waiting on other parts.
  10. Evaluate, adjust, and keep going. After the program begins, carefully monitor which strategies are working well and which are not going as planned.


Other information on SRTS is available on the DOT website at:


  North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission