California Department of Transportation
 

Safe Routes to School Programs

crossing guard watching over children crossing a street at a crosswalk

Announcements:

  • May 8, 2013 is National Bike to School Day. Visit the Caltrans Bike to School Webpage for more information: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/bike/bike-to-school2013.html
  • On April 29, 2013, Caltrans announced the Cycle 6 Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) "Call-for-Projects". $150 million in projects are expected to be funded statewide. A webinar was help on March 11, 2013 that focused on how SRTS projects may be eligible in the HSIP Program. Visit the Caltrans HSIP webpage for more information: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/hsip.htm
  • On March 11, 2013, Caltrans and the SRTS Technical Assistance Resource Center will be hosting a statewide webinar that focuses on how SRTS projects may be eligible in the HSIP Program. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/781322358
  • September 27, 2012, Caltrans proposed funding SRTS from a $21 million set aside in the STP.  This concept was approved by the CTC as a one year policy.  Future funding for SRTS will be determined through the MAP-21 Implementation process.
  • July 6, 2012, MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act was signed into law.   Under MAP-21, SRTS was consolidated into the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), but is eligible for Surface Transportation Program (STP) and Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds.
  • June 29, 2012, Cycle 10 SR2S Approved Project List was announced. 139 projects worth $48.5 million were funded this cycle out of 336 project applications submitted. $7 million of the funds were awarded in rural counties with $28 million awarded to projects that included at least one low-income school.
  • April 9, 2012, The National Center for SRTS has announced the first National Bike to School Day as May 9, 2012. For additional information, please visit the new website at: www.walkbiketoschool.org. For California, find more information at: http://www.casaferoutestoschool.org/whats-happening-in-california/national-bike-to-school-day/
  • October 17, 2011, The Cycle 3 SRTS Approved Project List was announced. 139 projects worth $66 million were funded this cycle out of 332 project applications submitted.
  • Program assistance is available through a California specific SRTS website at: http://www.casaferoutestoschool.org/. The website was funded through a Non-Infrastructure SRTS statewide grant to help communities plan, develop, and implement successful SRTS projects

Quick Links to:

 
 

What is Safe Routes to School?

Safe Routes to School is an international movement that has taken hold in communities throughout the United States.  The concept is to increase the number of children who walk or bicycle to school by funding projects that remove the barriers that currently prevent them from doing so.  Those barriers include lack of infrastructure, unsafe infrastructure, lack of programs that promote walking and bicycling through education/encouragement programs aimed at children, parents, and the community. 

Why is Safe Routes to School important?

Thirty years ago, 60% of children living within a 2-mile radius of a school walked or bicycled to school.  Today, that number has dropped to less than 15%.  Roughly 25% commute by school bus, and well over half are driven to or from school in vehicles.  And back then, 5% of children between the ages of 6 and 11 were considered to be overweight or obese.  Today, that number has climbed to 20%.  These statistics point to a rise in preventable childhood diseases, worsening air quality and congestion around schools, and missed opportunities for children to grow into self reliant, independent adults.
Safe Routes to School Programs are intended to reverse these trends by funding projects that improve safety and efforts that promote walking and bicycling within a collaborative community framework.  It is through local champions working with a coalition of parents, schools, professionals in transportation, engineering, health, and law enforcement, that the most sustainable projects are expected to emerge.

State and Federal Safe Routes to School Programs

There are two separate Safe Routes to School Programs administered by Caltrans.

There is the State-legislated program referred to as SR2S and there is the Federal Program referred to as SRTS.

While both programs are intended to achieve the same basic goal of increasing the number of children walking and bicycling to school by making it safer for them to do so, they differ in the following respects. 

Program Features State-Legislated Program - SR2S Federal Program - SRTS (SAFETEA-LU) Federal Program – SRTS (MAP-21)
Legislative Authority Streets & Highways Code Section 2330-2334 Section 1404 in SAFETEA-LU

Section 1122 in MAP-21;

Eligible in Section 1112; or Section 1108
Expires AB 57 extended program indefinitely Pending SAFETEA-LU reauthorization.  Extensions have been granted through September 30, 2011. MAP-21 expires September 30, 2014
Eligible Applicants Cities and counties State, local, and regional agencies and Native American Tribes experienced in meeting federal transportation requirements. Non-profit organizations, school districts, and public health departments must partner with a city, county, MPO, or RTPA to serve as the responsible agency for their project.

Same as defined in SAFETEA-LU

Eligible Projects Infrastructure projects Stand-alone infrastructure or non-infrastructure projects Same as defined in SAFETEA-LU
Local Match 10% minimum required None TBD
Project Completion Deadline Within 4 ½  years after project funds are allocated to the agency Within 4 ½ years after project is amended into FTIP Within 4 ½ years after project is amended into FTIP
Restriction on Infrastructure Projects Must be located in the vicinity of a school Infrastructure projects must be within 2 miles of a grade school or middle school Same as defined in SAFETEA-LU
Targeted Beneficiaries Children in grades K-12 Children in grades K-8 Same as defined in SAFETEA-LU
Cycles Completed 10 cycles 3 cycles NONE
Current Status Cycle 10 Final Project List dated 06/29/2012 Cycle 3 Final Project List dated 10/11/2011 TBD
Funding $24.25M annual funding $21-25M annual funding TBD


How to get started

While every community is unique, the basic steps to consider prior to submitting an application for Safe Routes to School funds are:

  • Identify community stakeholders and form a multidisciplinary team of partners committed to working together in developing a community vision, developing project applications, and implementing those projects if selected for funding.
  • Inventory and identify safety needs/hazards around schools; get information and seek out resources; and propose alternatives that would correct those needs/hazards.
  • Prioritize alternatives and select the best alternative that proposes short-term and long-term safety solutions in the form of projects.
  • Develop a plan for the project.
  • Submit an application to compete for funding for the project when a call for projects cycle is underway.

Program Assistance

If you have any questions regarding the funding or implementation of SRTS/SR2S Projects, please contact your Caltrans District Safe Routes to School Coordinator. The SRTS Technical Assistance Resource Center (TARC) at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is available to assist communities with SRTS program related questions.

If you have any problems downloading files or other questions, please e-mail Local.Programs@dot.ca.gov or see the Local Programs Help Page.

Continue to check this site periodically for any program updates.

This page last updated on April 17, 2013.