Safe Routes to Schools
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EPA’s School Siting Guidelines help communities protect the health of students and staff from environmental hazards when selecting new school locations.
Why It's Important
- A lack of sidewalks, safe bike paths, and parks can discourage children from walking or biking to school as well as from participating in physical activity.
- Walking or biking to school can help children meet the recommended levels of 60 or more minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on weekdays.
- 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found substantial evidence that physical activity can help improve academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores.
- Having safe routes to school can also help reduce traffic, lower pollutants and improve the school district's bottom line by saving money on transportation.
What You Can Do
- When making school location decisions, consider proximity to where students live, connections to transit, and how safe or easy it is to walk or ride a bicycle there.
- Hold information sessions to educate the community on the benefits of walking and biking to school and on approaches to make walking and biking to school a safe alternative.
- See the "Environmental Siting Criteria Considerations" in EPA's School Siting Guidelines for more information.
EPA and Federal Partners
- Smart Growth and School Siting discusses how to apply the principles of smart growth to educational facility planning to improve the quality of schools and communities together.
- EPA's Best Practices for Reducing Near-Road Air Pollution Exposure at Schools can be used by schools to reduce exposure to traffic-related air pollution.
The following links exit the site Exit
- Active Living Research report on the impact of SRTS programs on walking and biking highlights evidence on walking and biking rates, safety, and economic issues associated with SRTS.
- National Center for Safe Routes to School helps states and communities encourage children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The center provides tools for teachers and law enforcement; access to data, events and training;, and information on funding. The center also coordinates: Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day.
- Helping Johnny Walk to School is a program run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation through a cooperative agreement with EPA. It brings together experts from the fields of education, health, transportation and community design with state partners to find new ways states can encourage community-centered schools.
- The Community-Centered Schools page on the National Trust for Historic Preservation website presents schools’ success stories and offers tools for preserving historic schools, choosing restoration or replacement, and more.