Look both ways™…

When we cross the street with children, these words come from our mouths almost automatically. Protecting children—teaching them how to live a long life—is so natural; we barely have to think about it. In the same way, teaching children how to live healthy, active lives should be just as natural. Safety and healthy living should go hand in hand.

That’s not always the case.

Walking or biking to school is one of the best ways for children to practice safety while learning to build physical activity into their everyday lives. In some communities where sidewalks and bike lanes are scarce, we’re missing a key opportunity to help our children lead long, healthy lives. When our kids have safe routes and are able to bike or walk to school, they’re more eager and ready to learn, they are healthier, and our streets are safer. It’s time to ensure that every child has a safe route to school.

Safe Routes to School aims to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for students to walk, bike and roll to and from school. As a movement and a program, Safe Routes to School gives students, school staff, parents, and community advocates a chance to champion safe and active travel for youth.

With more than ten years implementing Safe Routes to School in the United States, rigorous evaluation has identified Safe Routes to School as an effective strategy to improve health and safety outcomes for school aged children. Safe Routes to School improves children’s physical activity levels, inceases rates of bicycling and walking to school and decreases injuries. Safe Routes to School initiatives are successful in addressing public health, transportation, environmental, and economic challenges, and are implemented nationally in all types of settings – rural, suburban, and urban.

With tremendous need for Safe Routes to School funding and fierce competition for available federal funds, state-level Safe Routes to School campaigns are more vital than ever to keep kids and communities healthy and safe.

Safe Routes to School initiatives and policies bring enormous benefit to children and adults throughout a community. This toolkit lays out key elements and considerations for successful state-level Safe Routes to School campaigns. Running a successful Safe Routes to School campaign is not an easy task, but by using the toolkit as a guide to strengthen your campaign, a winning campaign is within reach. Threats to youth health from physical inactivity, asthma, and car crashes make state-level Safe Routes to  School campaigns more vital than ever. By creating a well-run, strategic campaign, you can secure funding for Safe Routes to School programs and projects that support and prioritize health, safety, and sustainability in all communities for all people.

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Supporting Healthy Kids and Communities Through Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School programs are proven to effectively increase walking and biking to school and improve attendance, health, and well-being. Studies show that Safe Routes to School programs increase walking and biking between 31 and 43 percent.

April 22, 2019

Safe Routes to School Progress in MN!

Progress in Minnesota: Governor Dayton signed HF4425, a bonding bill that includes $1 million for Safe Routes to School infrastructure grants!

June 11, 2018

Missoula program maps safe routes to school

Back-to-school is almost here, and parents want to know if their child is getting to school safely.


NBC Montana

September 22, 2016