Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federally funded program focusing on the benefits of children walking and biking to school. Its programs aim to improve safety for children and the community and provide opportunities to increase physical activity. A model program integrates health, fitness, traffic relief, environmental awareness, and safety under one program. Bringing together a diverse group of people to identify issues and find ways to improve walking and biking conditions is the core of a successful SRTS program.
Congress provided SRTS funding to states through the federal surface transportation bill, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) received over $21 million for the SRTS program from the Federal Highway Administration for Federal fiscal years 2005 to 2012. Projects and activities are 100% federally funded; no match is permitted. Eligible recipients include state, local, and regional agencies including non-profit organizations. A copy of the 2014 Program Guidelines and Application for Tennessee SRTS is available at www.tn.gov/tdot/bikeped/saferoutes.htm.
SRTS programs have been growing in popularity all over the country in recent years due to increased obesity trends. A model program integrates health, fitness, traffic relief, environmental awareness, and safety under one program. SRTS provides an opportunity to work closely with schools, the community, and local government to create a healthy lifestyle for children and a safer, cleaner environment for everyone.
As of January 2014, TDOT received 280 applications requesting over $50 million. The applications represented a diverse mix of educational activities including major projects such as sidewalk segments and shared-use paths and minor improvements such as sign packages, crosswalks, and pedestrian signals. To date, Tennessee's SRTS Program has awarded 88 projects totaling over $12.3 million. View a complete listing of the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 award recipients.
SRTS Workshops are held across the state to aid in understanding the program and application process. It is required that a representative of the applicant (school employee or city/county staff) attend a Workshop. View a summary of the 2014 Safe Routes to School Training Registration (MS Word) form.
Applications for the final round of funding for this bill will be accepted beginning October 1, 2014 and will be due January 15, 2015. For questions, contact Diana Benedict at 615-253-2421 or Diana.Benedict@tn.gov.
Now is the time to get involved and walk/bike our children to better health - for everyone.
Walk to School Day Success Stories
Trenton Elementary School students in Trenton Tennessee were excited to participate in the National Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 8, 2014! Approximately one hundred and eighty parents and students walked from our town's City Hall to school. It was an exceptional collaboration of school staff, Coordinated School Health, city officials, police department, school board and county health department all encouraging safety, physical activity and fun. The photo is of the students who also won kick balls for participating!