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.
In 2013, the state legislature allocated $250,000 per year for Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure programs. In 2014, the state legislature allocated $1 million per year to the SRTS infrastructure grant program and increased the non-infrastructure funds to $500,000 per year.
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 travel plans
SRTS plans evaluate existing schools conditions and create an action plan with recommendations for all 5e’s (education, enforcement, encouragement, engineering, and evaluation)
As of 2014, more than 100 communities have completed SRTS travel plans. During the 2014-2015 school year, more than 100 additional schools will begin planning
SRTS comprehensive planning and technical assistance
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
Walk! Bike! Fun! Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Curriculum
The new Minnesota Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Curriculum (PDF, 7 MB) is a two-part curriculum designed specifically for Minnesota’s schools and is structured to meet Minnesota education standards. It helps children ages five to thirteen learn traffic rules and regulations, the potential hazards to traveling, and handling skills needed to bike and walk effectively, appropriately and safely through their community.
The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota offers teacher trainings and technical assistance to schools. Sign up for fall teacher trainings, apply to host a teacher training, or request technical assistance at http://www.bikemn.org/education.
Minnesota Safe Routes to School Network
The monthly MN SRTS Network calls incorporate updates for state agencies supporting SRTS initiatives (MnDOT and MN Department of Health) and successes and challenges from local SRTS initiatives. Participants working at the local level are able to solicit input from colleagues from across the state and share lessons learned. Visit the MnDOT SRTS Resources page for details.
Coming soon! Statewide Strategic Implementation Plan
The SRTS Steering Committee began strategic planning in June 2013. The program has been transitioning from federal to state funds and the reach of the program is expanding. This statewide implementation plan will expand on the strategic planning work started in 2013 and develop a 5-year action plan for MnDOT and partners working on SRTS around the state. Look for engagement opportunities in late fall 2014.
Coming soon! SRTS Brand and Statewide Resource Center
The 2013 strategic planning efforts identified a need for a centralized location to share success stories, technical resources, upcoming events, provide specialized trainings and other tools for Minnesota SRTS programs. The implementation plan will assist with developing a new SRTS brand, campaign materials, and the Minnesota SRTS Statewide Resource Center that will be launched in 2015.