Evaluation of the safety benefits of legacy safe routes to school programs

  • Published: NHTSA, 2008
  • Authors: R. Blomberg, A. Cleven, F. Thomas III and R. Peck
  • Date Added: 28 Jan 2013
  • Last Update: 20 Mar 2013
  • Format: pdf


To investigate a RTI-based evaluation of the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) programme, and to determine if such an evaluation is feasible to examine the safety effects of the legacy SRTS program. This would allow some investigation to disprove the hypothesis that increased walking and cycling exposure due to SRTS would increase casualties.


Data collation and use of RTI databases from the State Data System. Standardisation against equivalent population sub-groups was applied.

Key Findings:

  • SRTS programmes were heterogeneous; however the common primary goal was actually to increase non-motorised mobility rather than to increase safety (less than one third of schemes were motivated primarily by safety concerns).

  • No evidence was found to suggest that SRTS increased casualties; the programme was at least benign in that respect. However, insufficient data exists to reliably credit SRTS with a reduction in casualties.

Themes: safe routes, schools, RTIs, programmes


Although SRTS did not set out in many cases to improve safety, this study shows that its application in North America, although varying almost case by case, has not increased associated RTIs. Note that the data covers both pedestrians and cyclists on SRTS.