This report presents the results of phase one of a two phase study designed to support state-level management of the Federal Highway Administration Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. The study aims to achieve three objectives: (1) identify and use existing tools to establish benchmarks for children walking and biking to school, (2) provide recommendations for future allocation of SRTS funds, and (3) identify methods and tools to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of SRTS investments.
Phase one focused on the first objective. Rates of walking and biking to school were found to vary considerably. Therefore, benchmarks of children walking and biking to school should come from individual schools. The best tool for establishing these benchmarks was the National Center for Safe Routes to School (NCSRTS) Student Travel Tally.
The second two objectives were only explored in phase one. A literature review identified four major barriers to walking and biking to school that could be used to help filter program applications. Data collected by this study, the NCSRTS, and other agencies can contribute to SRTS project evaluations but because SRTS programs vary from state to state and the program is relatively new, many data are incomplete. Consistent, standardized SRTS data collection is necessary to support robust project evaluations. These preliminary findings will be explored further during phase two.