Streetsblog reports on a new study that found schools with Safe Routes to School programs could boost the number of children walking and bicycling to school by 31% over a five-year period. The researchers looked at 801 schools in the District of Columbia, Florida, Oregon and Texas, and studied the difference in the rates of walking and bicycling between schools with and without Safe Routes to School programs between 2007-2012. They found that infrastructure improvements led to an 18% increase in walking and bicycling at schools with SRTS programs, while education and encouragement programs had a cumulative effect and produced significant increases over time, above 25% over five years.
The results of the study are impressive and demonstrate the value of Safe Routes to School programs and infrastructure investments. The study is the largest to date and the first to compare data on schools with and without SRTS programs. Over time, as more data on SRTS programs becomes available, we hope to see more positive results like this.
The study is authored by Noreen C. MacDonald, Ruth L. Steiner, Chanam Lee, Tori Rhoulac Smith, Xuemei Zhu and Yizhao Yang, is published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association. The full journal
article is available here.