Why Bring Safe Routes to School to Your School?

From Health to Air Quality, learn reasons to consider bringing Safe Routes To School (SRTS) to your school!


Children who walk to school are more physically active throughout the day. Walking one mile to and from school each day is the same as two-thirds of the recommended level of physical activity.  

Over the past 20 years, the number of overweight children in the U.S. has doubled. Overweight children are at a significant risk for:

  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Asthma.
  • Becoming overweight adults.

Each hour spent riding in a car increases the obesity risk by six percent. Getting kids to walk and bike to school is a significant step toward solving the obesity crisis.  

Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases

Schools designed so children can walk and bicycle to school have better air quality. A five percent increase in a neighborhood’s walkability reduces vehicle miles traveled by six percent.

A return to 1969 levels of walking and bicycling to school would save:

  • 3.2 billion vehicle miles.
  • 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
  • 89,000 tons of other pollutants.

This is equal to keeping 250,000 cars off the road for a year. 

The transportation sector produces nearly one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Air pollution produced by traffic is linked to children’s health issues like:

  • Asthma, which accounts for 14 million missed days of school per year 
  • Chronic respiratory illnesses
  • Certain cancers.


We all want to keep our kids safe. As the number of people walking and bicycling increases, deaths and injuries actually decline. Studies of existing SRTS programs show approximately a 50 percent decrease in accidents involving child cyclists and pedestrians.

Half of the children struck by cars near schools are hit by parents driving other children to school. Safe Routes to School is a comprehensive approach designed to help keep kids safe. It includes education, encouragement, enforcement, and engineering.