Five Year Strategic Plan

About the Strategic Plan

The purpose of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is to save lives and make lives better by providing freedom, connection and experience through travel. What better freedom does a child experience than biking or walking to school? A safe route between home and school can provide exploration, fun, education and so much more. That's why the Safe Routes to School program is a vital component to CDOT's purpose by supporting both infrastructure and educational programs that improve safety and enhance mobility through active transportation for children throughout Colorado. In addition to providing transportation choices, children, families and communities also benefit through health, economics, environment and other quality of life issues.

The purpose of the Five-Year strategic plan is to articulate how Colorado Safe Routes to School (CSRTS) will comprehensively get more children walking and bicycling to school. The goals and strategies outlined in the initial plan were vetted by the Project Team and Advisory Committee, and were utilized to guide the program’s efforts during the next five years from its development.

A central focus of the strategic planning effort was to solicit and listen to the diverse voices of stakeholders across Colorado. As such, the development offered a variety of ways to solicit feedback and suggestions. A number of other states were also consulted to understand their best practices, which were then considered for replication in Colorado. The goals outlined in this strategic plan reflect the common themes that we heard during this process: 

Goal One: Demonstrate that more children are walking and bicycling to and from school as a result of CSRTS. Colorado is already known for having a strong program, and yet there is still an opportunity to get more children walking and bicycling to and from school. CSRTS will conduct a full analysis to discern what data is available, understand the current baselines and establish bold and specific targets.

Goal Two: Establish a user-friendly grantmaking approach that makes it easier for more agencies to apply and compete for funding. CSRTS has consistently received more requests for projects than available funding; yet many stakeholders – both those who have been awarded grants and those who have applied but were not funded – indicated that the application process is burdensome. CSRTS is committed to revising the grantmaking approach so that applicants experience a streamlined process that is more efficient and transparent for all parties. 

Goal Three: Raise awareness of the effectiveness of CSRTS in getting more children walking and bicycling to and from school. CSRTS needs to utilize data and information to describe its success and effectiveness. By sharing information among existing and new partners and stakeholders, more people and agencies will understand and will likely support the need for children to bicycle and walk to and from school.

Goal Four: Influence policy decisions that promote and support more children walking and bicycling to and from school. Enacting policy is an important aspect in institutionalizing safe routes to school programs. There are a myriad of ways in which CSRTS partners, advocates and champions can engage in efforts to advance policies that support more children walking and bicycling to and from school.

Goal Five: Develop capacities of communities to launch, maintain, and sustain Safe Routes to School initiatives. CSRTS provides many resources beyond grant funds that help communities develop and support their Safe Routes to Schools efforts. CSRTS will continue to provide ongoing support and education around active transportation.

In December of 2022, the Colorado Department of Transportation began the process to develop a new Five Year Strategic Plan with the goal of completion by the end of 2023. As part of this update, input continues to be actively sought from people throughout the state. Diverse feedback is being utilized to help guide the development of priorities, goals, and specific strategies to be included for the new plan. This plan will provide a guiding framework for the safety of Colorado's students from Kindergarten through twelfth grade in walking and rolling to school, as well as for communities-at-large.

In June, a survey was broadly distributed soliciting feedback from community stakeholders. After thoroughly reading and making note of responses, three small focus groups were arranged during which participants were invited to closely explore key themes, issues, and recommendations identified among the survey responses. We are now looking forward to sharing the updated plan resulting from all these efforts very soon.