Safe Routes to School
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Learn it. Do it. Live it! resources are designed to help you develop your SRTS program. The tips and guides provided here come from the best practices of other schools and the collective SRTS experience in Virginia. If you’ve created or have any resources of your own, please feel free to share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org; we’re always working to improve Virginia’s Safe Routes to School program!
Assessing Existing Conditions
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Conduct a Walk or Bike Audit - Before promoting an event or program that encourages students to walk and bike to school, it can be helpful to test the walking and biking routes first. Think about bringing community stakeholders along. Whether the walk audit is conducted by a team champion, walking school bus leader or a community group, this Learn it. Do it. Live it! tip sheet can help make the most of your audit.
- Zone In, Not Out: Arrival and Dismissal in the Zone - Could the arrival and dismissal process at your school benefit from some changes? Use this resource to help achieve the best results!
- Zone In, Not Out: Arrival and Dismissal Toolkit - The arrival/dismissal toolkit includes a series of worksheets to help you complete a simple, three-step process for observing arrival or dismissal.
- Zone In, Not Out: Mapping in the Zone - Maps can provide a clear and compelling picture of important SRTS considerations such as where students live, walking and bicycling routes, and opportunities and barriers. This guide explains the basics of making maps, lists some popular map making tools, and showcases a few good map examples.
- Zone In, Not Out: Speed Reduction in the Zone - Speeding is a serious issue that plays a major role in the risk of serious injury and pedestrian fatality in a crash and prevents more students from walking and bicycling to school. The speed reduction strategies this guide are organized around the 5 E’s to complement, support and reinforce each other for best results.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Getting Started Guide - Walk and Bike to School Day Events are great ways to kick-off a program. These events can be as big or small, simple or complex as you like! Whatever the flavor of your event, this is a good resource to turn to for planning a successful event.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Event Ideas – Walk or bike to school events can be as simple as encouraging kids to walk or bike to school on a particular day. This tip sheet describes several effective ways other local SRTS programs have used successfully.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! First Time Tips for Planning a SRTS Event – This tip sheet offers advice from seasoned event organizers. If this is your first event (or if you’re looking for ways to plan a smooth event), review this short tip sheet.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Equitable and Inclusive SRTS Events - This resource provides tips to help you make Safe Routes to School events equitable and inclusive. Although it focuses on equity and inclusion as they relate to walk and bike to school events, most tips apply equally well to other types of events.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Crossing Guard Appreciation Month – In Virginia, Crossing Guard Appreciation Month takes place in February and gives schools, students, parents, and the community the opportunity to recognize their school’s crossing guard and to thank them for the service that they provide. Schools can hold events recognizing their crossing guards and parents can nominate their crossing guard as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards of the Year.
- How to Plan a Walk or Bike to School Event in 7 Days - Do you only have a week to pull off a walk bike to school event? Don’t panic! You can plan an event in as little time as a week. Look over this planning guide to organize your steps over the course of seven days.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! How to Organize Park and Walk Sites – Students can still participate in a walking or biking event, even if it’s not feasible to start the journey to school from home. A key strategy for many schools is to establish sites where students can be dropped off and finish the trek to school by walking or biking. Information on how to organize park and walk sites are included in this tip sheet.
- Walking School Bus and Bike Trains Webinar – Walking school buses and bike trains are effective ways to encourage students and parents to walk and bike to school as well as teach pedestrian and bicycling safety, and include the community in a Safe Routes program. Hear from parents and teachers that have successfully implemented walking school buses and bike trains in their communities. You can watch the webinar, or view the slide show presentation here.
- Ways to Participate - There are many different ways to show students, families and communities that walking or bicycling to school is a fun and feasible way to travel. In general, events are usually one of three different types, with many variations to each. The basics of these three event types are explained in this tip sheet. Use it to get some basic ideas, then brainstorm dozens of ways to customize these concepts!
- Liability Webinar – Awareness of school’s liability during walking and biking events can be inconsistent among parents, school administrators, and Safe Routes supporters. This webinar discusses how a lack of clarity regarding a school’s liability can affect a Safe Routes event and suggests steps that Safe Routes advocates can take in order to best understand liability and how to share that information with school administrators. You can watch the webinar, or view the slideshow presentation notes, here.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Funding SRTS Projects - Some SRTS projects require little or no funds to implement. Others, such as constructing a new sidewalk, may require a substantial investment. This resource includes tips and descriptions of common funding sources for SRTS projects both large and small.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! QuickStart Mini-Grant Guide - QuickStart Mini-grants are $1,000 grants that schools can use to fund any SRTS activity. These grants are great for purchasing incentive items, printing marketing materials, or even purchasing bicycles or bike racks. This guide discusses the application and implementation process for QuickStart Mini-grants as well as provides examples of how a school can use a Mini-grant to initiate a Safe Routes event.
- Virginia Safe Routes to School Program Building Blocks - Virginia SRTS has a new framework to guide local programs. It's goal-oriented, with the ultimate goal of helping more students to safely walk and bicycle to school. The framework has five building blocks: Equitable and Sustainable Program, Safe Streets, Welcoming Campuses, Safe Behaviors, and Supportive Culture. Learn more about the building blocks and example activities in this document.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! SRTS Calendar – This resource discusses the importance of working with your school and school division to get SRTS events on the official calendar so that students, parents, and schools can look forward to and prepare for Safe Routes events. This resource also includes a customizable academic calendar that shows the important upcoming SRTS dates and can be used in the classroom or to help plan for SRTS events.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Steps to Creating a Safe Routes to School Program – This four page resource offers eight steps that have proven effective for other communities in starting a local SRTS program.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Making SRTS Happen at the School Division Level - The Making SRTS Happen at the School Division Level Learn it. Do it. Live it! resource is packed with information gathered from school divisions and SRTS coordinators throughout the state. Policy changes and support for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) at the school division level can help communities make sustainable, long-term gains in the number of students safely walking and bicycling to school. Whether you are new to SRTS or a long term advocate, this resource has plenty of innovative ideas and real world examples to help further your work.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Crossing Guard Basics – Are you interested in implementing a crossing guard program in your community? Do you already have crossing guards but want to know more about them? This resource provides guidance regarding crossing guards in the field and behind the scenes. Read on to learn more about crossing guard equipment, placement, recruitment, training, retention, funding, and liability.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Going Green with SRTS – Safe Routes to School offers students and their families a way to reduce their impact on the environment. This tip sheet provides ideas that schools can implement to combine a Safe Routes and environmental message as well as help contribute to a healthier environment.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Working with Law Enforcement - Community law enforcement agencies such as the local police department or sheriff’s office are natural partners to Safe Routes to School efforts and can augment a school’s safe routes activities. Law enforcement agencies and SRTS programs all work to encourage safe pedestrian and bicycling behavior, and to find ways for motorists to be part of the safety picture around schools. School SRTS programs benefit from law enforcement officers being involved in three basic ways: being present, hosting events, and building positive relationships.
- Including Students with Disabilities - Safe Routes to School programs and activities can and should include students of all abilities. For tips and guidance on ways to make sure everyone can participate, read the guide created by the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) and the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Summertime SRTS – While school is out of session, use the summer to lay the foundation for the next academic year’s Safe Routes program. Take a look at this tip sheet to get ideas for what you can do to prepare for the fall SRTS activities.
- Zone In, Not Out: Press Releases in the Zone - Media outreach can bring awareness of SRTS programs and campaigns to the greater community. A press release provides basic information that an organization or media outlet would need if they wanted to write an article or otherwise promote your event.
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Understanding Social Media Analytics - Social media channels provide unparalleled access to local, national, and international audiences. They combine these audiences with a number of ways to track, measure, and explore success. To help you understand the variety of choices, this Learn it. Do it. Live it! describes two basic types of social media metrics relevant to SRTS outreach and describes how to access the analytics portals on Facebook and Twitter.
Program Promotion Tools
- SRTS Customizable Power Point – This customizable power point presentation is designed for you to use in your community or at your local school. The presentation already includes information discussing SRTS, the 5Es, funding opportunities, and where to find resources online. Simply add your schools information for an individualized and complete Intro to SRTS presentation.
- SRTS Talking Points – If you’ve been asked to speak about the SRTS program, reviewing this resource is a good starting point. These talking points neatly summarize the program and provide statistics and studies to support the benefits of Safe Routes to School.
Safety and Skills Education
- Bikeology – Developed by NHTSA and the Shape America, Bikeology is a ready-to-use bicycle safety curriculum for physical education teachers working with middle school students. This curriculum provides resources for in-the-classroom and on-the-bike lessons and contains metrics to assess progress at the recreational biking level.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Child Pedestrian Safety Curriculum – NHTSA has developed a set of comprehensive materials to teach pedestrian safety to children in grades K-5. The curriculum is a ready-made tool for SRTS programs to encourage safe pedestrian behavior and help prepare schools for SRTS events. The curriculum is divided into age-appropriate lessons for grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 with topics covering crossing the street, intersection safety, parking lot safety, and school bus safety.
- Pedestrian Safer Journey – This education resource designed by the Federal Highway Administration contains age-appropriate videos, handouts, and quizzes to help teach pedestrian safety to students ages 5-9, 10-14, and 15-18.
- Nudge Theory Board Game – The Nudge Theory Board Game is used with groups of people to generate conversation about ways to make it safe and attractive for kids to walk and bike to school. Nudge Theory is one way of understanding and affecting choices people make.For example, providing a pedestrian connection between two streets that creates a direct (and shorter) path of travel for people nudges them to walk, rather than drive.
- Nudge Theory Board Game Cards – To be used with the Nudge Theory Board Game. Customize the game for different audiences by modifying the languge and directions on the cards using the Word template provided.
- Zone In, Not Out: Safe Driver Pledge Kit - The ZINO Safe Driver Pledge is a form you can distribute to parents and community members to encourage safe driving and improve conditions for walking and biking near your school. This LDL includes ideas to encourage participation, a sample announcement script, pledge forms, a pledge tracking form, and graphics that can be printed as bumper stickers.
Student Travel Tallies & Parent Surveys
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Student Travel Tally Week - It’s always easier to see how you’re doing if you documented your starting point, in other words – get baseline data. Each fall, we encourage schools to record how students are getting to school during Student Travel Tally Week. The tally only takes a few minutes over two days, and it’s even easier when you follow the steps in this tip sheet!
- Learn it. Do it. Live it! Parent Surveys – Parent Surveys are an effective way to reach out to parents, get them thinking about Safe Routes to School, and give them an opportunity to voice their opinions about student transportation. It’s best to conduct parent surveys in conjunction with Student Travel Tallies to get a comprehensive view of how and students travel and why they take a specific mode. This resource provides ideas on how to conduct and discuss parent surveys in the community.
- How to make a Tally or Survey Report on the National Center’s Website – Once your school conducts student travel tallies or parent surveys, you can generate a great summary report of the data on the National Center for Safe Routes to School’s online database. These directions will help navigate through the online data base.