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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 the children.
INDOT has administered 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. Beginning in October 2012, SRTS became part of the new 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.
The SRTS program is being restructured, by MAP-21. The Safe Routes to School Program is now combined with the former Transportation Enhancement Program to form the new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The next application round begins November 1, 2013 and extends through December 13th. Along with other types of local projects, applications will be accepted for SRTS projects and activities and other TAP categories.
Three changes under the new Transportation Alternatives Program are most noteworthy:
• All TAP projects and activities now require a 20% local match.
• Funds must now be used within a limited time frame.
• Competition for limited funds now includes most of the former Transportation Enhancement project types.
Applicants are encouraged to emphasize connections to existing pedestrian and bicycling facilities, increased physical activity among students, improved student health, safer crossing locations and efforts to reduce parents driving children to school and short-distance bussing. Effective school walking and biking policies are again encouraged. Eligible non-infrastructure activities will include school travel plans and comprehensive safe routes plans, effective encouragement techniques, and pedestrian and bicycling education and skills training intended to enhance student safety.
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..."--- Former US Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood
This year National Walk to School Day was held October 9, 2013. Throughout 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. 74 Indiana schools registered to participate in Walk & Bike to School Month activities in 2013 compared to 48 in 2012..
Did your school join the celebration? Oak Trace Elementary School in Westfield, IN has an enrollment of about 630 students. For the 2013 Walk to School celebration the principal reported around 300 students walked to school, many reportedly using the City’s growing network of trails. One teacher captured the excitement of the community surrounding the walk to school in this video: http://youtu.be/AKtm1_VCuM0.
INDOT, in coordination with the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Health by Design Coalition issued a letter encouraging schools to celebrate the annual event by promoting walking and biking to school throughout the month of October.
Bike to School Day 2013 shattered the participation record! 1705 schools across the country registered Bike to School events in 2013, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School. That’s 80% more than the previous year when nearly 950 schools participated in the inaugural event. The second National Bike to School Day was held on May 8, 2013. Twenty-four Indiana schools registered Bike to School events in 2013 compared to 16 in 2012.
The National Center planned 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 registered Bike to School Day events at http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/. Registering an event provided organizers access to a variety of downloadable materials and helped build the excitement. This link from the National Center provides the full story: http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/about-us/newsroom/national-bike-school-day-catches-shatters-previous-participation-mark.
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 Traffic 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 were reviewed and rated by the SRTS Advisory Committee, recommendations were submitted to the INDOT Commissioner, and applicants were notified whether their proposals were selected for funding.
Links to the 2012 application forms and application guide are still available below, along with the estimated unit costs for pedestrian and bicycle facilities updated in 2012. Links to the 2012 awards and the map of all SRTS awards, 2006 through 2012, are also provided.
*Images provided by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) unless otherwise noted.
Local Program Assistance
Indiana Department of Transportation
100 N. Senate Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46204