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SafeRoutesTexas.org Overview

What is Safe Routes to School?

Today, Safe Routes to School (SRS) is a construction program administered by TxDOT to increase the safety of the routes your children walk or ride to school.

However, you can make SRS a systematic community-based effort to evaluate and implement changes to transportation modes and facilities around local schools. Typically, the evaluation will look at all aspects of community safety and security within a circle with a radius of two miles centered on the school. Steps to Success.

Who gets involved?

SRS project proposals for funding of facilities by TxDOT can only be submitted by a city or county. Although any one of several entities can initiate a project, a successful SRS project team will involve students, parents, school administration, law enforcement, traffic engineers and local governments in the evaluation and planning stages. If you are with an individual school or school district, contact your city or county officials now! They will have engineering personnel who can help design and develop your application

What kinds of projects are included?

SRS is a comprehensive program that looks at all aspects of our children's safety and security while on the way to school and employs the 4E elements (Engineering, Education Enforcement, Encouragement) to create change. Recommendations may include

  • traffic calming,
  • walking busses,
  • safety education,
  • law enforcement,
  • crossing guards,
  • local ordinances
  • safe houses,
  • bike lanes,
  • separating bus and automobile access, or
  • pedestrian overpasses.

Link for a list of the projects available for funding under the TxDOT SRS program. Not every plan will result in spending money on facilities, some may decide that the roadways are safe enough and education, encouragement or enforcement is what is needed.

How long does it take?

The evaluation and planning process can be as short as 6 months or may last up to 18 months.

  • Changes in student and parent habits (enforcement and education) can begin immediately.
  • Crosswalk and roadway striping can normally be done within six months.
  • Changes requiring construction of calming devices or roadways typically take two years or more to plan and execute.

This year, because it is the first time Safe Routes to School money has been available, the time frame for planning has been compressed. Link to a flow chart of the proposed 2002 TxDOT call for $3 million in facilities construction money.

How long does it last?

This is not just a Band-Aid fix. SRS will be with your school as long as the students. Actually, it is important to institute SRS before finishing the design of a new school. Traffic infrastructure lasts for 35 to 50 years. It is best to get it right from the beginning instead of trying to retrofit safety measures.

Who pays for the changes?

Many of the changes are simple and can be funded through local safety funds. Additional funds for major changes are available on a competitive basis through federal Transportation Enhancement funds. Legislation supported by Texas Bicycle Coalition, Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and Texas Medical Association, among others, created a law that requires the Texas Department of Transportation to create and administer a Safe Routes to School program. Currently TxDOT has allocated approximately $3 million from Transportation Enhancement funds to this effort.

How do we get started?

SRS is mostly common sense. It is being successfully implemented in both European and American cities with striking results in injury and congestion reduction. The first step is to review the information available on this site. Pay particular attention to the Tool Kit at this site.

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