Safe Routes to School Program
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Welcome to Virginia Safe Routes to School!
If you’re new to Safe Routes to School, click here for an introduction letter to the program from Virginia’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator Rob Williams. And be sure to check out this program brochure for some quick facts about Virginia Safe Routes to School.
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program has been active in Virginia since 2007 and helps schools and communities across the state make walking and biking to school a safe, convenient, natural activity.
October 8, 2014 – International Walk to School Day! A recording breaking 220 schools in Virginia participated in International Walk to School Day (iWalk) this year! 42 more schools participated compared to last year, the highest level of participation in the state since the start of Walk to School Day.
Students, parents, teachers, and communities across the state took time in October to get outside and celebrate safe walking and biking to school. Celebrating iWalk is a valuable way for schools to teach the importance of pedestrian and bicycle safety, share the benefits of an active lifestyle, and to have fun with friends and family. Check out the photos below to see how schools celebrated iWalk this year.
September 15 – Student Travel Tally Week extended through October! While schools in Virginia have been taking tallies as part of Student Travel Tally Week, September 15-19, we're extending the tally collection effort for all of September and October in order to provide more time to participate. Travel tallies are valuable for the schools in the community, at the division level, and even statewide. Tallies not only help inform schools about their current student transportation trends, but also can be used to set base line data and measure progress of a Safe Routes to School program. We want as many schools as possible to conduct student travel tallies, so we've extended Student Travel Tally Week to the end of October. The more schools that conduct travel tallies the better sense you'll have of student transportation trends in your community, school division, and across the state.
September 1 – Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grants due November 1. TAP grants are designed specifically to help fund non-motorized transportation projects and are an excellent way to fund Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects, such as extending sidewalks or installing high-visibility crosswalks. These infrastructure projects can be a valuable component to improving the walking and bicycling safety in the area surrounding a school and Safe Routes to School projects are able to receive additional qualification points for TAP grants. In the last round of TAP grants, ten of the approved projects were Safe Routes to School projects. You can find the TAP grant application on the VDOT Local Assistance Division website. TAP grant applications are due Nov. 1.
Shrevewood Elementary School’s Healthy Living Festival, Falls Church VA
The Safe Routes to School Program is a federally-funded program created under Section 1404 of the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
As written in SAFETEA-LU, the purpose of the SRTS program is to:
- Enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school
- Make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age
- Facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools
In July 2013, MAP-21 – the new federal transportation bill -- became law, folding SRTS into a new Transportation Alternatives program. SRTS projects are now eligible to compete for funding alongside other programs, including the Transportation Enhancements program and Recreational Trails program. VDOT’s Local Assistance Division is managing the Transportation Alternatives program. Click here for more information.
Non-infrastructure funding from SAFETEA-LU is still available through the Virginia Safe Routes to School Program. More information is available on the Travel Plans and Grants landing page.
Virginia SRTS Program Strategic Plan
The VDOT Safe Routes to School Program completed a Strategic Plan to guide our work through 2017. The Plan is available for download by clicking on the cover.
Robert J. Williams
Safe Routes to Schools Program coordinator
Transportation and Mobility Planning Division
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219