Safe Routes to School

You stepped up, walked and rolled for Bike and Roll to School Day, Colorado! Thank you to all who registered their events at walkbiketoschool.org. Colorado officially recorded 114 events, ranking us 7th in the nation among participating states. Whether addressing the need to make routes to school safer for active trips or encouraging children and teens to be more active, these events can be powerful tools to inspire lasting change. Ride on! 


About the Program

All Kids Deserve Safe Routes to School

Colorado Safe Routes to School (SRTS) uses a comprehensive approach to make school routes safe for children when walking and bicycling to school. CDOT administers Colorado's SRTS program. In Colorado, many communities, parents and schools are fostering a safe environment for their students by using SRTS programs to not only fund education and safe infrastructure, but also to encourage healthy options for our children that are safe for both walking and bicycling.

Why is this program important?

SRTS programs can improve safety, not just for children, but for the entire community. It provides opportunities for people to increase their physical activity and improve their health. It reduces congestion and pollution around our schools and encourages partnerships.

In 1969, roughly half of all five to 18 year olds walked or biked to school. Nearly 90 percent are driven by auto or bus to school today. SRTS is a Federal-Aid and state-funded program to enable children to walk and bike safely.

How to get started

Starting Safe Routes to School program presents your school, school district, or community with an opportunity to make walking and bicycling to school safer and more accessible for children, including those with disabilities. Because the needs of every community are unique, each community or individual school may choose to emphasize different components to make its program work. Some schools have worked with engineering to build sidewalks or painted crosswalks to enhance safety; while others have focused on education or encouragement by starting programs such as a Walking School Bus to motivate children to be active. Regardless of the focus, safety is the first concern. 

Many resources are available to help you build Safe Routes to School programs in your school or community. In Colorado, when funds are available, they are distributed to eligible applicants through a competitive process to develop programs for grades K-8. The CSRTS Advisory Committee that reviews and selects projects for funding includes educators, parents, bicyclists, pedestrians, law enforcement, and transportation planners. School districts, schools, cities, counties, state entities, and tribal entities are eligible to apply. Nonprofits need to partner with a state subdivision to apply for funding.

Evaluation

Evaluating your SRTS program is vital to ensuring your program improves, evolves, and provides the very best approaches for getting children safely to and from school. We encourage you read through the SRTS Evaluation Guide, which provides helpful information regarding all aspects of evaluation, from planning to measurement. Prospective applicants may also wish to visit the National Safe Routes to School Data Collection site, where you can find evaluation forms that will be useful examples for future evaluation plans. Please note, in March 2022, the national data system, utilized to this point, has been closed due to loss of funding. Current work is taking place to determine next steps. We will share new information here as it becomes available. 

We are always evaluating our programming needs and impact on a state-wide level, as well as locally. To help assess Colorado's progress in supporting Safe Routes to School, we partnered with the national Safe Routes Partnership to conduct a review of Colorado's programs, policies, funding, and practices related to Safe Routes to School. Read the Colorado 2020 Statewide Program Assessment Report to learn about the findings and recommendations from this census. The census report is also available in Spanish

For more information on Colorado Safe Routes to School, including a timeline of key milestones, please check out our Colorado Safe Routes to School Fact Sheet. This Fact Sheet is also available in Spanish