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Safe Routes to Schools

On this page:

School Siting Voluntary GuidelinesEPA’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.    

Resources

EPA and Federal Partners

The following links exit the site Exit

National Organizations

  • 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.