6 E’s of Safe Routes

How Safe Routes to School Initiatives Work: The 6 E’s

How does Safe Routes to School really work?  Safe Routes to School’s influence on a community can vary from something as discrete as funding the construction of a missing block of sidewalk, to something as complex as developing a wide-ranging walk to school program in schools across an entire school district, with volunteer walking teams, encouragement events, incentives, and more. The Safe Routes to School movement uses a framework called the Six E’s of Safe Routes to School to summarize the key components of a comprehensive, integrated approach. The Six E’s of Safe Routes to School are:

  • Education – Education efforts teach students and their neighbors about the broad range of transportation choices, providing them with the skills to walk and bicycle, helping them understand the benefits of walking and biking, and educating them about how to be safe from traffic and crime when getting around.
  • Encouragement – Encouragement events and activities – walking school buses, walk to school days, competitions, and bike rodeos – promote walking, bicycling, public transportation, and physical activity.
  • Engineering – Engineering interventions create physical improvements to the streets and sidewalks that make walking and bicycling more comfortable and convenient, and that decrease the risk of injury from motor vehicles or people, increasing street safety.
  • Enforcement – Enforcement reduces problems and concerns about traffic and crime in neighborhoods around schools and along school routes, through partnering with law enforcement or other approaches.
  • Evaluation – Evaluation involves assessing which approaches are more or less successful, ensuring that a program or initiative is decreasing health disparities and increasing equity, and identifying unintended consequences or opportunities to improve the effectiveness of an approach implemented around the school.
  • Equity – Equity means ensuring that Safe Routes to School initiatives benefit all demographic groups, with particular attention to ensuring safe, healthy, and fair outcomes for low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and others. To ensure that initiatives benefit all groups, an important strategy is to use a robust engagement process to hear barriers and ideas for improvements straight from the students and people that the issue affects.

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