For informational/historical purposes only.

Ohio Department of Transportation

Internet News Release

June 14, 2006

ODOT Announces 2006 Safe Routes To School Program

(COLUMBUS)Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor today announced ODOTs new Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS). The program will make it easier and safer for children to commute to school using their own power and is the first of its kind for Ohio.

Each year, approximately 2,000 children (grades kindergarten through middle school) are injured and 28 are killed in fatal accidents as they travel to and from Ohios schools. With increased traffic on the road and fewer designated areas to walk or bike, the number of children traveling to and from school by walking or riding their bikes has decreased from half of all school aged children in 1969 to about 15 percent in 2006. This initiative will help reverse that downward trend, reduce congestion and increase safety.

We are expanding ODOTs focus to improve safety by going beyond infrastructure improvements and adding an educational and encouragement component to our work, Proctor said. The Safe Routes to School Program can help children again become active and independent. 

ODOT will allocate about $19 million dollars over the next four years for a variety of activities from educational, encouragement and health projects to infrastructure projects such as sidewalks, pedestrian and bike paths, crosswalks, traffic calming, bike racks or planning activities.

The educational, encouragement and health aspects of the program are unique for ODOT. The department will have new opportunities to work with representatives from public health, trails, parks, law enforcement, education and the public. Because these aspects of safety and outreach are so new to ODOT, these representatives are helping ODOT develop the program.

 Following an extensive review process and adoption of policy and procedures, Ohio expects to request the first round of grant applications by January 2007. Likely applicants will be state, local, and regional agencies including nonprofit organizations.

 Program Overview

SRTS enables communities to make walking and bicycling to school a safe and routine activity. Funding will be available through 2009 for a wide variety of programs and projects, from

building safer street crossings to establishing educational programs that encourage children in kindergarten through middle school, including those with disabilities, and their parents to walk and bicycle safely to school.

The program was created by the recent federal transportation bill, which specifies how states can spend federal gas tax dollars.

  • The program is 100 percent federally funded through the Federal Highway Administration, which means there will be no required match from applicants.
  • A minimum of 10 percent and a maximum of 30 percent of Ohios allocation must be used for non-infrastructure related activities such as education, enforcement and encouragement.