About Safe Routes to School
In order to increase opportunities for children to walk and bicycle to school safely, the 2005 federal transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, provided funding for Safe Routes to School in all 50 states. The federal Legislature created SRTS, in part, to help reverse the alarming nationwide increase in childhood obesity and inactivity. The program has numerous benefits to local communities including reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and helping kids arrive to school focused and ready to learn.
Since 2005, MnDOT has awarded over $15 million to Minnesota communities to support SRTS projects that will reach more than 313 schools statewide. As of August 2013, we’ve received funding requests for over $100 million in SRTS projects since the program began in 2006.
Elevating SRTS through partnerships
- SRTS Steering Committee includes 27 active members representing cities and counties, regional planning organizations, non-profit organizations, educators and health professionals
- Partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health and local agencies maximizes program reach and leverages resources
SRTS comprehensive planning and technical assistance
- MnDOT developed a new SRTS Evaluation Tool to collect statewide data on school travel patterns, barriers and opportunities
- In 2012-2013, SRTS planning began at 70 elementary schools in Minnesota, in partnership with nine Regional Development Commissions in rural areas
- An additional 34 schools will begin SRTS plans during the 2013-2014 school year
- MnDOT offers statewide technical assistance through partners Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
Supporting SRTS through education
- In 2012, MnDOT and MDH trained 35 educators and 20 regional trainers in bicycle and pedestrian safety curriculum from Florida
- Pilot implementation is underway in eight communities. A curriculum advisory committee is overseeing development of Minnesota lesson plans based on feedback from pilot community educators, students and teachers.
- Through partnership with MDH, Minnesota Department of Education, and the Bicycle Alliance of MN, MnDOT will disseminate lesson plans and train more teachers beginning fall 2013
What’s next: Development of the state program
- The federal SRTS program ended dedicated funding for
- Minnesota is continuing to offer a SRTS program through using state and federal funds through MnDOT and MDH
- In 2013, the state legislature provided $250,000 per year to the new state SRTS program created in 2012.