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About Minnesota Safe Routes to School

Minnesota Safe Routes to School logoWelcome to the Minnesota Safe Routes to School Online Resource Center!

Minnesota Safe Routes to School is an effort to improve walking and bicycling conditions for youth and to encourage more active lifestyles. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is working with partners across the state to help schools and communities develop Safe Routes to School plans and programs.

This Online Resource Center provides tools and information needed by parents, teachers, students, schools, school districts, communities and others involved in youth walking and biking programs. The Resource Center contains:

MnSRTS Vision and Strategic Priorities

The MnSRTS Vision and Strategic Plan below were developed in collaboration with statewide partners during a 2020 strategic planning process.

MnSRTS Vision

Youth in Minnesota can safely, confidently, and conveniently walk, bike, and roll to school and in daily life.

MnSRTS Strategic Plan

Cover of Five-year Strategic Plan document from 2020The original Minnesota Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan was completed in 2015. In 2020, it was updated with a five-year roadmap for statewide Safe Routes to School efforts and initiatives in Minnesota. MnDOT convened a diverse group of stakeholders from agencies and organizations around the state to develop the plan. Participants included representatives from Minnesota departments of health, transportation, and education; local and regional government; public safety; traffic safety; schools and school districts; nonprofits; and health organizations.

The stakeholder engagement process for Strategic Plan development consisted of a survey, which received 282 responses; 38 follow-up phone interviews; and three listening sessions with state agencies, including MnDOT, Minnesota Department of Health, and Minnesota Department of Education. The participants developed a vision statement for the MnSRTS program, as well as five-year goals, strategies, and action steps. The plan included approaches for public outreach, marketing, education and implementation of Safe Routes to School initiatives, plans and programs.

History of MnSRTS

Cover of Minnesota Walk! Bike! Fun! documentMinnesota has a healthy and growing Safe Routes to School movement. Since the first federal funds were allocated to MnSRTS initiatives in 2005, programs across the state have made a profound impact on a student’s ability to walk and bike to school. In 2009, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota's Center for Prevention started a monthly Safe Routes to School Network call and began providing technical assistance to schools and communities.

Since 2012, MnDOT has worked to develop statewide programs to support Safe Routes to School across the state. In 2012, MnDOT contracted with the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and the BCBS MN Center for Prevention to develop the Walk! Bike! Fun! bicycle and pedestrian safety curriculum and provide technical assistance to schools. Work on this Resource Center and the Strategic Plan began in 2014.

Nearly 500 schools have been awarded funding through MnDOT planning, infrastructure or non-infrastructure grants. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health supports local public health agencies and their partners throughout the state in initiating and implementing Safe Routes to School work. Much of this support is a result of the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, which funds work to increase access to physical activity opportunities. Currently, half of grantees are working to advance Safe Routes to School efforts in their schools or communities, reaching more than 225 schools throughout the state and potentially more than 110,000 students in two years. As a result of MnDOT and MDH efforts and funding opportunities, many schools and school districts throughout Minnesota are participating in Safe Routes to School initiatives on some level. There are countless champions who are making the Safe Routes to School movement a reality at the ground level, including parents, teachers, school administrators, local public health staff, community members, state and local advocates, and public safety officials.