ChangeLab Solutions and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership today released an interactive tool that allows school boards and advocates to custom-build an active transportation policy for their district.

This tool walks the user through a series of policy options to help build a customized Safe Routes to School policy for school districts, which they can then download for the school board to adopt. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a movement that is changing communities and making children healthier by getting them to use their own power to get to and from school. Ensuring children are active on their way to and from school will improve health outcomes for them, as well.

In 1969, almost half of American students walked or bicycled to school. That number has shrunk to a mere 13 percent. School-aged children also have fewer opportunities at school for physical activity and recreation than they used to. That decrease in daily physical activity corresponds with a dramatic increase in childhood obesity that has resulted in a nationwide health epidemic.

School districts play a large role in encouraging families to allow their children to walk or bike to school. By putting good policies in place, school districts can support walking and bicycling, can make the trip safer for children on foot or bike, and can work with the local town or county to change the environment where children would walk and bike. This way, children can easily incorporate exercise into their day and arrive at school focused and ready to learn.

November 14, 2013