In previous generations, the majority of school aged children either walked or biked to school. Children got more physical activity, our streets were less congested, and our air quality was better. Fast forward to 2011: less than 15 percent of children living within a two-mile radius either walk or bike to school. A vast majority are either driven by parents or taken to school by bus. Increased traffic and safety concerns have made it inhospitable for many children to bike or walk to school.
Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programs were created to reverse these trends. SRTS can fund infrastructure and/or programs that improve safety and encourage walking and bicycling. Projects emerge through a collaborative effort between parents, schools, community members and local government. One of the key steps in determining potential partner schools is based on need. A new mapping tool from the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) has been a huge help this year in determining where to prioritize SRTS efforts in the City of Los Angeles. (Below is a map developed by SafeTREC of pedestrian and bicycle collisions near school sites in central LA between 2006 and 2008. )