Messaging Overview

Tips for Effective Safe Routes to School Messaging

  • Emphasize health benefits of walking and biking.
  • Focus on the fact that Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs improve safety for kids who are walking and biking.
  • Background on SRTS programs: Safe Routes to School programs are collaborative efforts by parents; schools; community leaders; and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bike to school. Funding for these programs can be used for both infrastructure projects, such as improvements to sidewalks and roads, and non-infrastructure projects, such as education on walking/biking safety and enforcement of traffic laws.
  • SRTS projects result in real change in the ways students and parents travel to and from school by incorporating principles of the “SRTS Six E’s”: Evaluation of the current walking/biking routes near the school/district; Engineering improvements to eliminate barriers to walking and biking such as lack of sidewalks/crosswalks/signage or poorly designed intersections; Education on how to safely walk and bike with traffic; Encouragement of walking and biking through special events and promotions; Enforcement to ensure that traffic laws are obeyed around schools; and
    Equity to ensure support for safe, active, and healthy opportunities for children and adults in low-income neighborhoods, neighborhoods of color, and beyond.

Key Messages

  • Every child deserves to walk or bike to school safely. We should plan our neighborhoods so they can.
  • Walking and biking are great ways for kids to be active.Schools in some rural communities have found creative ways for kids who take the school bus to also walk part of the distance as well. For example, they are dropped at off at a park and walk the final distance to school.
  • Keeping kids active can help prevent heart disease and diabetes—and people who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks and bike lanes are more active, have cleaner air, and experience fewer car crashes.
  • We need safe routes to school in every neighborhood.
  • Research shows safe routes to school programs are good for health, the economy, and education.
  • These programs keep our kids active and safe—reducing crashes and helping to prevent diseases like diabetes and heart disease. They even teach our kids important traffic rules.
  • Health care costs go down when neighborhoods invest in safe spaces for people to walk and bike.
  • Active kids are better learners. Students who are physically active on a regular basis have better attendance, behave better in class, and have higher test scores.

Download Key Messages