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Developing a Safe Routes Project

Steps to Safe Routes Projects

  1. Building Partnerships and Community Support
  2. School Traffic Safety Review
  3. Designing Your Project
  4. How to Pay for the Project
  5. If you are funded by a WSDOT Safe Routes to School Grant
  6. How Well Did This Work

Technical Assistance

WSDOT offers no cost assistance for all the phases of developing a Safe Routes project, contact the Safe Routes to School Coordinator for more information.

Getting Started!

1. Building Partnerships and Community Support

Efforts to provide safe walking and biking facilities work best when coordinated partnerships are used to support them. Safe Routes to School partnerships usually include teachers, school administrator's, transportation professionals, law enforcement, and public health professionals but may include a wide variety of representatives.

2. School Traffic Safety Review  

This work should assess walkability and bikeability in the vicinity of schools. It helps to identify where infrastructure improvements are needed as well as safety concerns that could be addressed using education efforts.  The following tools can be used for this work.

Walk Route Planning
Washington State school districts are required to have Walk Route Plans, suggested routes to get to school, for elementary schools where there are children that walk to school (WAC 392-151-025).  The School Walk Route Plan Inventory Survey, 2015 Report (1.19mb) includes information about the number of school districts with walk route plans available.  School walk route plans that have been provided to WSDOT are posted on the School Walk Route Plans website. Additional plans will be added as they are submitted to WSDOT for inclusion.

The School Walk and Bike Routes: A Guide for Planning and Improving Walk and Bike to School Options for Students (pdf 912kb) can be used to create or update school walk route plans.  It includes:

  • Direction on how to develop and implement school walk routes
  • Procedures to identify pedestrian safety deficiencies along walk routes
  • Ways for community members to work together to make improvements

Other Planning Resources  

  • 2014 Washington State Student Travel Survey Report(726kb) A report about how children in Washington State travel to school and possible barriers to walking, biking, and riding the school bus.
  • OSPI State Report Card This webpage has information about student demographics, percent of children eligible to receive free and reduced-price meals and student population size for all public schools in Washington.

3. Designing Your Project 

Designing your project requires an understanding of the options and which are best for existing conditions. Pedestrian and bicycle design guidance is available to help but it does not replace the need to include the transportation professionals responsible for your target location.

  • Resources for the non-infrastructure component of the project are available on the SRTS Engineering website.
  • Resources for the non-infrastructure component of the project are available on the SRTS Education website.

4. How to Pay for the Project

The WSDOT administers the Safe Routes to School Funding Program. It provides funds for engineering, infrastructure, education, and encouragement activities to increase the number of children walking and biking to school safely.

Funding Sources

5. If you are funded by a WSDOT Safe Routes to School Grant

If you get a Safe Routes to School Grant Award for federal funding there are federal requirements that need to be followed. More information about those requirements can be found in the Local Agency Guidelines (LAG) Manual.

Local Agency Agreement: Funded projects must complete a local agency agreement before work begins.  For information about the Local Agency Agreement go to chapter 22 in the Local Agency Guidelines (LAG Manual). 

6. How Well Did This Work - Evaluation

Evaluation is an important part of the Program. Below are some links to evaluation forms and instructions.