UDOT participates in the Safe Routes to School, an award-winning program that helps communities identify and implement safety improvements.
The Harvard Bright Ideas in Government Award, which honors innovative government partnerships, has been given to National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) for working with communities across the country to make walking and riding to school safer for kids.
SRTS is a data driven program that collects information on the travel habits of school children to improve safety at the local level and to also understand trends at the national level. The program also funds infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects at the state level.
UDOT has participated in the SRTS program since 2007. During that time sixty-nine projects have been funded, including infrastructure improvements, such as sidewalks, paved trails and installed bike racks, and non-infrastructure activities, such as walk-to-school-day events, bike rodeos, and safety assemblies.
The Student Neighborhood Access Program is a comprehensive, state-wide non-infrastructure program that falls under the SRTS umbrella.
Walk More in Four
Too many cars around a school drop-off point can result in traffic congestion, increase the risk of fender-benders and make watching out for pedestrians and cyclists more difficult. Walk More in Four is an annual fall SNAP event that encourages students in Kindergarten through eighth grade to walk or bike safely to school. The program aims to teach kids safe habits and to reduce the number of cars driving on streets around schools. SNAP has had a positive impact, according to Cherissa Wood who coordinates UDOT’s SNAP program.
A voluntary survey of participants indicates that most students rarely walked or biked to school during the previous year. “By encouraging students to walk or bike to school at least three times each week during September, SNAP positively changed the travel behaviors of Utah students and provided the means for develop a lasting, safe and healthy habit,” says Wood.
Since the first statewide Walk More in Four event in 2009, more than 6,000 Utah students have walked or biked to school at least three times each week during September.
SNAP Mapping Software
Getting kids to school safely is aided by SNAP Mapping Software. The web-based program uses Google Maps™ to help principals create and distribute maps that show the safest walking and biking routes. More than 200 Utah elementary, middle, and junior high schools from 24 school districts have a current SNAP Map.
SNAP, Walk ’n Roll
Since its launch in 2009, more than 90,000 elementary students at 100 schools have enjoyed “SNAP, Walk ’n Roll,” a free safety assembly for elementary age students. The show uses music and actors to teach the importance of following the SNAP Map, bicycle and pedestrian safety and how to stay safe around road construction.
Crossing Guard Training
The “UDOT Crossing Guard Fundamentals” DVD and Quick Reference is an aid to local law enforcement agencies who have the responsibility to train crossing guards. In 2012, 97 percent of all known law enforcement agencies were using the crossing guard training materials developed by the SNAP program.