Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School, SRTS, encourages students to walk or bike to school by providing safe pathways and a community of participants and volunteers to share in the experience. As part of the SRTS program, the conditions around school grounds are assessed and adjusted to mitigate safety concerns and map out the best routes to avoid heavy traffic areas and other concerns. SRTS also provides schools with an opportunity to engage families and the community in a positive school activity that can fortify the school community.


The benefits to students and school community:

• A 15-minute route helps students meet the 60+ daily recommended minutes of physical activity.

• Students arrive at school ready to learn.

• Instills a healthy, active lifestyle in children at an early age.

• Reduces traffic and air pollution in the school area.

• Provides families with school involvement opportunity and increased physical activity. 

• Safety and environmental improvements benefit the wider community.

• Heightens school’s community profile as a leader in student health.


The 5 E’s of SRTS 
Engineering: Conduct and audit to assess, plan, and implement improvements to the physical environment such as adding crosswalks, bicycle lanes, or bike racks at school. 
Education: Ensure participation and support by informing students, parents, staff, and community members about SRTS. Share information on the benefits of walking and biking, safe route maps, safety improvements, and providing bike safety skills workshops (Bike Rodeos). 
Encouragement: Generate interest and enthusiasm for SRTS by providing celebratory events and activities to get people walking and bicycling to school like a “Walking School Bus” or “Walk and Bike to School Day” event. 
Enforcement: Increase safe behaviors of drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists by engaging local law enforcement in efforts to ensure traffic laws are followed along key SRTS routes, installing digital vehicle speed signs, crossing guard programs or student safety patrols. 
Evaluation: Monitor and track program implementation through quantitative data like participation rates and qualitative data such as anecdotal information from families regarding their children’s and own increased activity through SRTS.



Safe Routes to School Success Story:

Kerkhoven, Murdock, Sunburg; KMS:

SHIP with partnership from UMVRDC created a Safe Routes to School Plan with KMS in the 2016-2017 school year. KMS initiated their first walk to school day with the help of the Murdock Fire Department (see more on Walk/Bike to School Day) in 2016 on National Winter Walk to School Day. Both the towns of Murdock and Kerkhoven have initiated walking paths within the town for safer routes for children and adults to walk, creating a safer atmosphere for walking and encouraging walkers/bikers to stay off of Highway 12. The safe routes were decided based on parent/student/staff surveys, walking audits, and data collection throughout both towns. Murdock has painted yellow lines in the designated safe route to school to encourage walking/biking. Kerkhoven has designated Bus Stops from both Riley’s and Rustad’s Bus Companies to encourage safer routes and stops. KMS continues to work on their Safe Routes to School plan by implementing bike safety and education. SHIP partnered with Murdock Elementary in 2016 to create a “Safe Saints Corner” that includes a bike fix it station, bike racks, and bike education. Through the collaboration of KMS, SHIP, UMVRDC, Murdock, and Kerkhoven we can increase physical activity through safe routes to school! 





If you are interested in partnering with us on a Safe Routes to School project, we would love to hear from you. Contact Countryside SHIP.


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