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July 1, 2022

Multistate Evaluation of Safe Routes to School Programs

Stewart, Orion; Moudon, Anne Vernez; Claybrooke, Charlotte. (2014). Multistate Evaluation of Safe Routes to School Programs. American Journal Of Health Promotion, 28, S89 – S96.

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Purpose. State Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs provide competitive grants to local projects that support safe walking, bicycling, and other modes of active school travel (AST). This study assessed changes in rates of AST after implementation of SRTS projects at multiple sites across four states. Design. One-group pretest and posttest. Setting. Florida, Mississippi, Washington, and Wisconsin. Subjects. Convenience sample of 48 completed SRTS projects and 53 schools affected by a completed SRTS project. Intervention. State-funded SRTS project. Measures. AST was measured as the percentage of students walking, bicycling, or using any AST mode. SRTS project characteristics were measured at the project, school, and school neighborhood levels. Analysis. Paired-samples t-tests were used to assess changes in AST. Bivariate analysis was used to identify SRTS project characteristics associated with increases in AST. Data were analyzed separately at the project (n = 48) and school (n = 53) levels. Results. Statistically significant increases in AST were observed across projects in all four states. All AST modes increased from 12.9% to 17.6%; walking from 9.8% to 14.2%; and bicycling from 2.5% to 3.0%. Increases in rates of bicycling were negatively correlated with baseline rates of bicycling. Conclusion. State-funded SRTS projects are achieving one of the primary program goals of increasing rates of AST. They may be particularly effective at introducing bicycling to communities where it is rare. The evaluation framework introduced in this study can be used to continue tracking the effect of state SRTS programs as more projects are completed.


Transportation Of School Children; Physical Activity Measurement; Health Promotion; Cycling; Walking; School Children -- United States; Bicycling; Children; Commuting; Health Focus: Fitness/physical Activity; Manuscript Format: Research; Outcome Measure: Behavioral; Prevention Research; Research Purpose: Program Evaluation; Schools; Setting: School; Strategy: Skill Building/behavior Change, Built Environment; Study Design: Quasi-experimental; Target Population Age: Youth; Target Population Circumstances: Geographic Location; Physical-activity; Mental-health; Travel; Association; Validity; Mode; Bus