Minnesota Safe Routes to School Program Evaluation
MnDOT and Minnesota Department of Health are working together to evaluate schools with SRTS activities across Minnesota. The purpose of SRTS evaluation is to track walking and bicycling travel behavior in Minnesota youth over time. MnDOT and MDH support the use of Safe Routes to School Classroom Tallies and Parent Surveys in SRTS schools and Statewide Health Improvement communities across Minnesota. Classroom tallies and parent surveys are practices that help MDH and MnDOT better understand critical school and community attributes that allow increased physical activity behaviors to occur.
Evaluation is also helpful for schools and communities when developing local SRTS programs. Evaluating your local program allows you to see the changes over time, reflect on your successes and challenges, identify changes or improvements as the program grows, and can help your community make the case for SRTS grants or other funding opportunities.
MnDOT has been requiring some evaluation with SRTS grants since 2011. MnDOT and MDH are working to increase the number of schools evaluating their work.
MnDOT recommends that all schools with a SRTS program evaluate their SRTS activities. MnDOT requires evaluation during the SRTS planning process and when a community receives a SRTS grant.
MDH and the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) is seeking to work with schools and communities to implement classroom tallies and parent surveys that have at least three of the following attributes:
- Implementation of SRTS in SHIP 1, 2, and/or 3
- Recipient of MnDOT funding
- Demonstration of the 5Es (e.g. education and encouragement activities for SRTS – e.g., bike – walk to school day or bike ped curriculum, bike rodeo, school patrol, etc.)
- Implementation of infrastructure to increase biking and walking (e.g., sidewalks, safe crossing, etc.)
- Documented SRTS travel plan
- Statewide geographic distribution
- Other: Please identify any other attributes that support the goal of increasing biking and walking through your SHIP efforts
- Follow National Center for Safe Routes to Schools best practice methodology - http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/data-central
- Complete parent surveys and hand tallies in all classrooms working on SRTS activities
- Report tally and survey data into the National Center for Safe Routes to School website database no later than one month after collection: October 7, 2014.
2014 Evaluation Dates
- Participate in classroom tallies and parent surveys during September 9-11, 2014 for at least one day, and enter data in National Center for Safe Routes Data Central.
Required Evaluation for Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Grants
MnDOT requires Safe Routes to Schools plans or a planning process, as well as evaluation data to apply for SRTS infrastructure funds. Schools are required to provide baseline data to apply. The data must be current (within the last two school years and/or after significant infrastructure improvements) and can be part of the planning process or collected for this project.
If awarded funding, schools are required to complete post-project evaluation. This includes parent surveys and hand tallies during the September evaluation week.
Safe Routes to School Non-Infrastructure Grants
MnDOT recommends that all schools with non-infrastructure grants complete the recommended hand tallies and parent surveys in September. We will no longer ask for twice a year hand tallies and parent surveys, those will be optional.
- National Center for Safe Routes to School Webinar
- National Center for Safe Routes to School Evaluation Guide
- Parent Survey Information
- Student Hand Tallies Information
Safe Routes planning process
SRTS plans are comprehensive school travel plans created for schools to evaluate existing conditions and make an action plan for future work. Some plans focus on one school, while others focus on a school district.
The planning process begins by working with the local SRTS team to evaluate conditions through walking audits, parent surveys and hand tallies. At the end of the planning process an action plan is developed to guide the SRTS work at the school. The action plan includes long and short term goals, and includes implementation goals of infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects.
Another key piece of the planning process is outreach to stakeholders throughout the school year; including parents, students, teachers and other local partners.
MnDOT funds planning work at schools across Minnesota. These plans are completed by Regional Development Commissions or in areas without an RDC, by a planning consultant hired by MnDOT. Many communities have also done variations of this planning work or worked with other funding sources to do this work.
Examples of SRTS plans completed by Regional Development Commissions can be found online:
Region Nine Development Commission- Mankato Area Public Schools
Arrowhead Regional Development Commission- SRTS plans on right side of page
More updates to come!