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Attitudinal Barriers to the Developm,ent of Safe Routes to School Programs

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Presented at the 2010 ITE Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC

Presented at the 2010 ITE Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC


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  • 1. Attitudinal Barriers in the Development ofSafe Routes to Schools ProgramsAugust 10, 2010 ITE Annual MeetingVancouver, British Columbia
  • 2. Authors
    • Doug McCants, PE, PTOE, PTP
    PBS&J -- Group Manager, Arizona Transportation
    • Brent Billingsley, AICP
    City of Maricopa -- Development Services Director
    • Kellee Kelley
    City of Maricopa -- Transit Manager
  • 3. Agenda
    A Scenario
    Safe Routes to School -- What? Why?
    The City of Maricopa Program
    SR2S Parents’ Surveys – Assessing Attitudes
  • 4. A scenario
    City planner requests Safe Routes to School funding from City Council
  • 5. A scenario follow-up
    The city planner received his funding & implemented lots of improvements, but there was no increase in the number of students walking or bicycling to school….
  • 6. The need for safe routes to school
    Fewer kids today walk and bike to school
    Unintended consequences have resulted
    SR2S programs are part of the solution
  • 7. 1. Fewer kids are biking and walking; more parents are driving.
    2001: 16% walked
    1969: 42% walked
    (CDC, 2005)
  • 8. 2. What are the unintended consequences of less walking and bicycling?
    For the environment
    For individual health
  • 9. 3. Good news!
    Communities are taking action on behalf of children through Safe Routes to School
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Alhambra, CA
    Phoenix, AZ
  • 10. More benefits of SR2S programs
    Reduce congestion around schools
    Can lead to cost savings for schools(by reducing the need for “hazard” busing)
    Others: increase child’s sense of freedom, help establish lifetime habits, teach pedestrian and bicyclist skills
  • 11. City of Maricopa goals
    Where it’s safe, get children walking and biking
    Where it’s not safe, make changes
  • 12. City of Maricopa program
    Develop program framework
    Identify barriers
    Assess attitudes
    Prepare guidelines
    Formulate implementation strategy
  • 13. Maricopa participants
    City staff
    Police
    Fire
    MUSD
    School administrators
    Teachers
    Parents
    Public
  • 14. Maricopa’s SR2S program
    Education
    Encouragement
    Enforcement
    Engineering
    Evaluation
    Lenexa, KS
  • 15. Education
    Imparts safety skills
    Creates safety awareness
    Fosters life-long safety habits
    Includes parents, neighbors and other drivers
  • 16. Encouragement
    Increases popularity of walking and bicycling
    Is an easy way to start SR2S programs
    Emphasizes fun
  • 17. Enforcement
    Increases awareness of pedestrians and bicyclists
    Improves driver behavior
    Helps children follow traffic rules
    Richmond, VA
    Denver, CO
  • 18. Engineering
    Creates safer conditions for walking and bicycling
    Can influence the way people behave
  • 19. SR2S parents’ surveys
    Distributed on December 14th to all MUSD elementary and middle school students
    471 surveys completed and returned
    459 from Elementary Schools (K-5)
    12 from Middle School (6-8)
    Results focus on the elementary schools
  • 20. Elementary school commute
    Potential Walk or Bike to SchoolPopulation
  • 21. Elementary commute type(Home to School)
    All Respondees
    Respondees living within 1 mile
  • 22. Elementary commute type(School to Home)
    All Respondees
    Respondees living within 1 mile
  • 23. Child asked permission to walk/bike?
  • 24. Constraints to walking/biking
  • 25. Parents’ written comments
    Free-form comments fell into six key areas:
    Safety (crime potential, safety in numbers)
    Safety (traffic volumes, driver speeds, time of day)
    Operations (pickup/drop-off procedures, bus availability, crossing guards, police presence)
    Distance to school
    Age
    Facilities (crosswalks, sidewalks, bike storage)
  • 26. A scenario, revisited
    City planner requests Safe Routes to School funding from City Council
  • 27. He has assessed community attitudes and ….
  • 28. …. developed a local toolbox
  • 29.
  • 30.
  • 31.
  • 32. And an implementation plan
  • 33. A scenario follow-up
    The city planner received his funding and implemented his plan
    Dramatic increase in the number of students walking or bicycling to school
  • 34. Why the dramatic difference?
    Community/parental attitudes addressed
    Physical barriers removed
    Route safety enhanced
    Cooperative effort by everyone
    Encompassed all five Es
  • 35. Some final thoughts
    • Identify a local Safe Routes to School champion
    • 36. Involve everyone in the planning and implementation of a program
    • 37. Assemble a program framework
    • 38. Incorporate all five Es
    • 39. Assess & address community/parent concerns
  • Contacts
    City of MaricopaBrent Billingsley  Kellee Kelly520.568.9098 Brent.Billingsley@maricopa-az.gov Kellee.Kelley@maricopa-az.gov
    PBS&JDoug McCants480.419.7275dmmccants@pbsj.com
  • 40.
  • 41.
  • 42. Parents driving
    Parents driving children to school:
    20%-25% of morning traffic
    (NHTSA 2003; Dept. of Environment)
  • 43. School siting issues: A generation ago
    Small schools
    Located in community centers
    (EPA, 2003)
  • 44. School siting issues: Today
    Mega-schools
    Built on edges of towns and cities
  • 45. School consolidation has lengthened the trip between home and school
  • 46. It’s not just distance
    Students who live within 1 mile and walk or bike:
    2001: 63%
    1969: 87%
    (CDC, 2005)
  • 47. Most common barriers to walking and bicycling to school
    Long distances 62%
    Traffic danger 30%
    Adverse weather 19%
    Fear of crime danger 12%
    (CDC, 2005)
  • 48. Traffic danger
  • 49. Adverse weather
    Howard’s Grove, WI
    Centreville, VA
  • 50. Fear of crime (both real and perceived)
    Abandoned buildings
    Other reasons
    Individual community issues
  • 51. 1996 Summer Olympic Games banned single occupant cars in downtown Atlanta
    Atlanta, GA
  • 52. Results of the ban
    Morning traffic – ä 23%
    Peak ozone – ä 28%
    Asthma-related events for kids – ä 42%
    (Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA], 2001)
  • 53. U.S. youth overweight rates
    (National Center for Health Statistics)
  • 54. Overweight children have an increased risk of…
    Type 2 Diabetes
    Low self esteem
    Decreased physical functioning
    Obesity in adulthood
    Many other negative emotional & physical effects
    (Institute of Medicine, 2005)
  • 55. 3. Safe Routes to School programs are part of the solution…
    ...to improve walking and bicycling conditions
    ...to increase physical activity
    ...to decrease air pollution
    Dallas, TX
  • 56. What caused the shift?
  • 57. Air quality
    Measurably better around schools with more walkers and bicyclists
    (EPA, 2003)
    Chicago, IL
  • 58. Physical inactivity
    Most kids aren’t getting the physical activity they need
    Recommend 60 minutes on most, preferably all, days of the week
    (US Depts. of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, 2005)
  • 59. Evaluation
    Is the program making a difference?
  • 60. Federal program
    $612 million to States 2005-2009
    Funds infrastructure and non-infrastructure activities
    Requires State SR2S Coordinators
    More information:
    www.saferoutesinfo.org
  • 61. Addressing attitudes
    Weather (shaded routes)
    Speed/volume of traffic (enforcement, separated paths, speed studies)
    Distance (neighborhood school siting)
    Crime/safety (block watch, parent chaperons)
    Intersection safety (crossing guards, engineering solutions)
  • 62. Discussion