Maryland Safe Routes to School Guidebook: A Guide for Parents and Communities

Source: Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee & Maryland Department of Transportation

The materials in this guide will enable you to establish a successful and ongoing Safe Routes to School Program at your school-and to ultimately enhance the safety and health of your community for years to come.

As traffic volumes around schools have increased, parents have felt less and less comfortable letting their children walk or ride bicycles to school. More and more parents have begun driving their kids to school. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 85 percent of children's trips to school are made by car or school bus; only 13 percent of school trips are made by walking or cycling. These motor vehicle trips add to the traffic problems on the roads surrounding the school and create long lines of traffic in school drop-off zones. Other drivers stuck in these traffic jams become angry and drive aggressively. This cycle continues until very few parents feel comfortable letting their children walk or bike to school, even if they live close by.

Walking to school helps children feel more connected to their community, and increases their confidence that school is a safe place for learning. Teachers report that kids who walk and bike to school arrive more alert and ready to work.

This guide explains how to establish a "Safe Routes to School Program". It also provides the tools and resources necessary for the successful implementation of that Program. The guide is fairly comprehensive.

The tools contained in this guide include:

  • Surveys,
  • A diskette containing a program to evaluate the surveys,
  • Ideas for ways to educate and encourage safer walking and bicycling,
  • Descriptions of different types of physical improvements that may help solve the problems at your school,
  • Enforcement ideas,
  • Resources and potential funding sources for the improvements and programs you plan to make as part of your SR2S program.


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