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The Indiana Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program is based on the federal program designed to make walking and bicycling to school safe and routine. Walking and bicycling are viable transportation alternatives for travel to and from school with significant potential benefits, among them reductions in motor vehicle traffic, associated fuel consumption for school trips and improved air quality.
When SAFETE-LU was signed into law in 2005, the evidence was clear that disturbing weight gains among American children and a growing nationwide obesity epidemic threatened our health. Bicycling and walking to school helps establish a healthy, active lifestyle from an early age. Generally, increased physical activity among school-aged children contributes to their improved personal health. However, towns with established SRTS programs also report a stronger sense of community identity and increased social skills among school-aged children.
INDOT is responsible for administering the Indiana SRTS Program that makes federal funding available for eligible activities and improvements. INDOT created an application process to evaluate candidate projects. An SRTS Advisory Committee reviews applications and makes recommendations to fund infrastructure projects and non-infrastructure activities. Under the new transportation legislation that went into effect in October 2012. SRTS is now part of the Transportation Alternatives Program.
Visit the Updated SRTS Program Parameters to learn more about the parameters of Indiana's SRTS program, to find out about funding administration, and to see a complete list of eligible infrastructure projects and non-infrastructure activities. This section was recently updated.
Indiana’s 2012 SRTS Program application cycle is complete. Fifty proposals were reviewed and rated by the SRTS Advisory Committee in summer of 2012, recommendations were submitted to the INDOT Commissioner, and applicants were notified whether their proposals were selected for funding.
Applications were accepted from March 19, 2012 through May 29, 2012, applicants were advised to emphasize increased physical activity among students, improved student health, and efforts to reduce parents driving children to school and short-distance bussing. More effective school walking and biking policies were again encouraged.
Links to the 2012 application forms and application guide are still available below. Cost estimates for pedestrian and bicycle facilities were updated for 2012.
Beginning in 2013, the SRTS program will be restructured following numerous changes found in the new transportation legislation, MAP-21. How the new legislation affects Indiana's program is still being determined.
If the number of kids who walk and bike to school was restored to 1969 levels, our nation would cut 3.2 billion vehicle miles, 1.5 million tons of CO2, and 89,000 tons of other pollutants annually. This is the equivalent of keeping more than 250,000 cars off the road for a year.---Pedroso, M., 2008, Safe Routes to School National Partnership
"...I know how important it is that we provide students with safe options for getting to school while promoting exercise and healthy lifestyles. That's why I've embraced the Safe Routes to School program so wholeheartedly since becoming the Secretary of Transportation. Simply, Safe Routes works to ensure that children have a safe way to walk or bike to school. And that dovetails perfectly with the First Lady's goals of increasing physical activity among kids and reversing childhood obesity..."---US Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood
The National Center for Safe Route to School has announced the launch of the new Walking School Bus Online Training. The Walking School Bus Program: A Primer and First Steps is an online audio/video training program that provides strategies and tips for planning a Walking School Bus program.
Developed for the National Center by the PedNet Coalition, the training program incorporates new ideas, models, examples, and lessons from seven years of operating a large Walking School Bus program in Columbia, MO., and developing community programs and campaigns to encourage people to walk, bike, and use transit across the country.
Last October, INDOT and communities across the state celebrated Walk and Bike to School Month. Hoosier students walked and often biked to school to demonstrate the potential that these modes offer and to help change community culture and establish environments that are inviting for young and old to walk and bike. Walking and biking to school provide needed physical activity, while helping improve air quality, reducing traffic congestion near schools and making neighborhoods look and feel more livable. 48 Indiana schools registered to participate in Walk & Bike to School Month activities during October.
Did your school join the celebration? INDOT is interested in hearing about your celebration and seeing pictures. What percentage of students walked or biked to your school? Oak Trace Elementary School in Westfield, IN has an enrollment of about 540 students and typically sees about 20 students biking or walking to school. For the 2012 Walk to School celebration the principal reported around 200 students walking or biking, accompanied by almost 50 parents!
INDOT, the Indiana State Department of Education, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Health by Design Coalition issued a joint letter encouraging schools to participate in the annual event.
Developed by the New Jersey Safe Routes program, supported by NJ DOT with funds from the Federal Highway Administration and compiled from survey responses and conversations with parents at meetings and informal discussions, this video conveys common answers parents provide when asked why they do not let their children walk and bike to school. These comments are followed by what children say they like about walking and biking to school.
Let the bike bells ring! Registration for the 2013 National Bike to School Day is now open. The second National Bike to School Day is scheduled for May 8, 2013.
Nearly 950 schools across the country participated in the inaugural national event in 2012, including 16 Indiana schools. As excitement about the event builds, participation is expected to increase for the 2013 celebration. The National Center is planning the event in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists, the organization that leads the celebration of National Bike Month each May. Schools, community members and parents can register a Bike to School Day event now at http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/. Registration is free and open to all individuals and/or organizations planning a 2013 Bike to School Day event. Registering an event provides organizers access to a variety of downloadable materials. Several new partnerships will soon be announced. Stay tuned!
For suggestions on planning your next bike to school day event, see the tip sheet. For helpful instructions on fitting bike helmet, view the National Highway Transportaiton Safety Administration (NHTSA) handout.
During Indiana’s 2012 SRTS application cycle 50 applications were submitted seeking over $9.4 million. From this field 12 infrastructure and 7 non-infrastructure proposals totaling over $3.4 million were selected for funding. Proposals exhibiting a comprehensive approach to walking and bicycling were viewed more favorably than construction projects alone and the strongest applications featured partnerships, local initiative and solid planning support. The most frequently selected non-infrastructure activities were school travel plans and comprehensive safe routes plans, effective encouragement techniques, and pedestrian and bicycling education and skills training intended to enhance student safety.
*Images provided by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) unless otherwise noted.
Indiana Department of Transportation
100 N. Senate Ave. IGCN. 955
Indianapolis, IN 46204