Safe Routes to School: Why They Matter to Kids, to Communities, and to TDM Professionals Net Conference

On July 26, 2007, the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) and the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) at the University of South Florida held a net conference on Safe Routes to School.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs educate students, parents, and community members on the value of walking and bicycling for school travel. Successful SRTS programs use the five Es: education, encouragement, enforcement, engineering, and evaluation to increase the number of students walking and bicycling to school creating healthy lifelong habits. Students and communities benefit from reduced congestion and air pollution, increased physical activity, and a safer environment for students. Today, only 16% of children walk or bicycle to school compared to 42% in the late 1960s. Unintended consequences of this sea-change in school trip-making include: 20-25% of morning traffic attributable to school travel in many communities Significant increase in childhood obesity (from 4% in 1963-1970 to 16% in 1999-2002).

The speakers discussed how communities nationwide are getting kids out of the back seat and on their feet or bicycles for their trips to school. Attendees heard how TDM professionals are applying their behavior change skills to start mini-commuters off on the right foot. Donna Smallwood shared MassRIDES’ experience directing Massachusetts Safe Routes initiatives where 60+ schools are already implementing programs. Mike Eberlein, Michigan’s Safe Routes Coordinator, presented examples of school programs and explore the factors that make them successful.

The streaming media recording also includes over 20 minutes of questions and answers.  Questions were fielded from 14 locations around the country who heard the presentation live.

Moderator: Peter Valk, TMS, Inc.


  • Donna Smallwood, MassRIDES Operations Manager/URS Corporation and chair National Safe Routes to School Task Force
  • Michael Eberlein, Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Michigan Department of Transportation

View the streaming media recording of the presentations  (You need Windows Media Player™  to view) (72 minutes) and download copies of the slides (pdf).

After you have viewed the presentation, please provide your feedback and topic suggestions for future net conferences.

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