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Safe Routes to School - Resource Manual

Metro developed the SRTS Resource Manual to provide guidance to aid schools in building and sustaining a successful SRTS program. It provides resources and program suggestions for school administrators, teachers, parents, community members, and other champions of SRTS projects and programs throughout LA County. The Manual includes fact sheets on the benefits of SRTS to help inspire action, a catalog of suggested programs and activities with step-by-step instructions, as well as sample materials and templates that SRTS champions can download, make copy, and distribute. Remember that SRTS is fully customizable – everything in this Resource Manual can be tailored to fit your school’s unique needs, students and schedule.

New to SRTS? Start with our “What is Safe Routes to School” fact page that lists the program benefits, and includes a number of statistics about student travel and health in Los Angeles County.

Follow the Action Route Map : The SRTS Action Route Map outlines three paths that school champions can follow to address different aspects of developing a SRTS program. Recognizing that certain strategies may take more time than others to implement, it is suggested that the schools can start with easy-to-launch programs such as encouragement and education campaigns and Train the Trainer workshops.

Ready to Kick Off SRTS at Your School? Head to our Education and Encouragement Campaigns (Chapter 1) and start planning your year.

Focused on Walking and Biking Safety? Our Walk Safe, Bike Safe Train the Trainer Program (Chapter 2) provides an Instructor Guide and Participant Workbook containing walking and bicycling safety training curriculum and tips on organizing a Walking School Bus or Bike Rodeo. Our Enforcement strategies offer program examples that help ensure safe behavior in and around the school zone.

Interested in Improving Your Routes to School? Our Travel Plan section (Chapter 3) will walk you through the steps for conducting a walk audit and documenting the results. Our Enforcement, Evaluation and Funding section (Chapter 4) provides additional tips on enhancing and sustaining safe routes to school efforts.

Lessons learned from Metro’s Safe Routes to School Pilot Program were presented in the Appendix to provide school-based perspectives for the readers.

Walk Safe, Bike Safe, Roll Safe and Have Fun!


Encouragement And Education Campaigns

Safe Routes to School Encouragement and Education Campaigns are designed to inspire and motivate students as well as their parents or caregivers to walk, bike, or roll their way to/from school more. Commonly, Encouragement and Education Campaigns are a simple and fun way to start a SRTS Program. Schools can choose a campaign, tailor a campaign, or create their own.

In Chapter 1 of the Resource Manual , eight (8) encouragement and education campaigns were developed to highlight different benefits of SRTS programs. Each campaign presents a theme and activity ideas that the schools can choose to implement for different grades of students at different time of the year. The school may also customize the activities to meet the unique needs of their students of different backgrounds and grade levels.

Each campaign includes the following tools for easy implementation:

  • Monthly campaign overview
  • School newsletter template to be sent home to parents and caregivers
  • Principal announcement template to be delivered during an assembly or other gatherings
  • Fun and educational activity sheets such as word search and coloring sheets (designed mainly for K through 5) that can be reproduced and distributed to students.

Schools can follow the steps below to conduct the campaign activities:

  • 1. Review menu of ready-to-go campaign activities
    Ready-to-go campaign activities were developed to support Encouragement and Education efforts. Activity ideas with different themes were suggested for different times of the year. Schools can review the menu here and choose to conduct the activities that fit its unique needs and schedule. Remember, the activities are fully customizable and can be adjusted to meet the needs of students of different backgrounds and grade levels.
  • 2. Advertise events via school newsletter or announcement
    It is recommended that the school advertises the Education and Encouragement activities that will be conducted by sending the students home with a school newsletter and/or through principal announcement. The newsletter and principal announcement templates were provided here that school administrators can modify as needed.
  • 3. Make copies and distribute activity sheets to students
    Fun and educational activity sheets such as crosswords, word scrambles and coloring sheets were provided here. Teachers can pick and choose among the activity sheets across the campaigns, and distribute those that best meet the needs and grade level of their students.
  • 4. Conduct events & activities and HAVE FUN!
    Conducting Encouragement and Education activities and events provide fun ways for students, parents, as well as teachers to learn about the benefits and safety tips of walking and biking. Let us all walk safe, bike safe, roll safe, and have fun!

Walk Safe, Bike Safe Train The Trainer Program

One of the key factors of a successful Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is having a dedicated team of SRTS champions, including parents, caregivers, teachers, school representatives, local community members and other stakeholders.

The Walk Safe, Bike Safe Train the Trainer Program is designed for both existing and potential SRTS champions by offering training workshops to advance their knowledge on implementing SRTS activities. The curriculum focuses on training them about safe walking and biking skills that can be passed along to students. It also provides instructions and guidance on how to carry out promotional campaign activities such as a walking school bus and bike rodeo to encourage and reinforce safe and healthy walking/biking habits for students.

The following materials were provided in Chapter 2 of the Resource Manual to help conduct the training the workshops. You can also download the editable version of the Train the Trainer material here .

  • Steps for Success: Lessoned learned from Metro’s Safe Routes to School Pilot Program on how to implement successful Train the Trainer Program
  • Instructor Manual: Course structure, speaker notes and teaching instructions to help instructor prepare and deliver the training workshop
  • Participant Workbook (English and Spanish): Course material for training workshop participants, including activity worksheets and key lesson notes
  • Safety Tips Trading Cards: Promotional materials with safety messages that can be easily reproduced and distributed to workshop participants for their children/students
  • Certificate of Achievement: Certificate template that can be customized and handed out to participants who completed the training
  • Post-Training Survey: Survey template that aims at evaluating and improving future training workshops

Schools can follow the steps below to conduct the Walk Safe, Bike Safe Train the Trainer workshops:

  • 1. Identify parent or member of school staff to be the instructor(s)
    Identify a SRTS Champion who can confidently teach walking and biking safety skills to parents and community volunteers so they can teach their children and other members in their neighborhood later on.
  • 2. Review the instructor manual and teaching materials
    The Instructor Manual provides course structure, speaker notes and teaching instructions to help instructors successfully prepare and deliver the course. The instructors can find additional teaching aids such as participant workbook and Safety Tips Trading Cards here.
  • 3. Schedule training sessions
    Find a time and place to conduct the Walk Safe Bike Safe Train the Trainer Session. Promote your session to an interested audience and actively engaged community members. They will help you with word of mouth advertising.
  • 4. Make copies of the participant workbook and host the trainings
    The participant workbook seeks to help Walk Safe Bike Safe Train the Trainer Session attendees learn more about SRTS Programs, follow the instructor throughout the workshop, and take notes. Do not forget to make enough copies of the participant workbook for the training attendees!
  • 5. Apply what you have learned and conduct Education and Encouragement Campaigns
    It's show time! Now that you are a Walk Safe Bike Safe expert, it is time to apply what you have learned. Go to Chapter 1- Encouragement and Education Campaigns to find inspiration, choose a campaign, and conduct an event or activity.

Information about Travel Plan Development
Information about Enforcement Programs in LA County
Information about SRTS Program Evaluation

Travel Plan Development

The purpose of developing travel plans is to 1) identify potential infrastructure improvements around the campus for students to have safer routes to and from school; and 2) provide grant application background documentation for the school, school district and city staff when pursuing funding opportunities.

The process can be initiated by school administrators and developed in collaboration with school districts, local agencies, law enforcement and other stakeholders.

A SRTS Travel Plan helps to understand issues and concerns related to pedestrian and bicycle travel to and from school. It also intends to identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure improvements around the school area to increase the safety for not only our students, but all who walk and bike in the neighborhood.

The following materials were provided in Chapter 3 of the Resource Manual to help develop travel plans. You can also download the editable version of the Train the Trainer material here:

  • Creating your own Travel Plan: A simple guide and lessons learned from Metro’s Safe Routes to School Pilot Program on how to develop a Travel Plan for your school
  • School Walk Audit Map and Checklist : Example and template that the schools can reference, customize and utilize for their walk audits. The editable version of the School Walk Audit Map and Checklist can be downloaded.
  • Example of a School Travel Plan : Provides a summary of the school profile; existing traffic patterns and school area collision; travel barriers, issues and considerations observed from walk audits; and includes recommended improvements and cost estimates

Schools can follow the steps below to develop their travel plans:

  • 1. Conduct Walk Audit to identify traffic issues or safety barriers around the school
    Walk audits are activities that involve observing school surrounding conditions and context that affect walking and bicycling to and from school. See Chapter Three for more details.
  • 2. Engage school district, local jurisdictions, and other appropriate parties to develop travel plans which propose improvements to address the safety issues
    Start by bringing together a group of essential participants. It may consist of school officials, teachers, parents, local agency staff, law enforcement, school districts, community members and other stakeholders. These local leaders hold key insights into school travel routes and conditions, as well as opportunities for improvements.
  • 3. Work with school district, local jurisdictions, and other appropriate parties to fund and implement the plan
    Once you have developed your Travel Plan, share it with school district officials, local jurisdiction staff members, and other appropriate parties. Their input, concurrence and collaboration are needed to solidify, fund and implement the travel plan. These key players can also help identify quick-win improvement projects that require minimum resources to act on, such as education and enforcement strategies.
  • 4. Evaluate impacts of travel plan improvements and refine and update the plan as needed
    Focus on measuring the effects of the travel plan improvements. Remember that Travel Plans, like neighborhoods and schools surroundings, are dynamic and ever changing. Refine and update your travel plan as needed, particularly when an event will introduce change to your neighborhood.

SRTS programs are more likely to be successful when considering and implementing each of the 6 E's: Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation, and Equity. Chapter 4 includes information about enforcement and evaluation, two of the Six E’s, as well as potential funding sources to fund and support your SRTS program.

Enforcement

Enforcement strategies ensure safe behavior of drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists including obeying speed limits and traffic laws, proper walking and bicycling behavior, and reducing crime along routes to school.  Enforcement relies on strong partnerships with local law enforcement, but involves collaboration by the entire community working to reinforce and model proper behavior and to create a safe environment for students.

Enforcement can be accomplished through safety awareness, education and, where necessary, the use of ticketing for dangerous behaviors. Enforcement works best when law enforcement efforts are combined with community-initiated and supported activities such as walking school buses, crossing guard programs, or neighborhood watch programs, which together create a safer and thriving environment around the school.

Existing Enforcement Programs In Los Angeles County

Safe Passages Program
Personal safety is a commonly cited concern by parents or caregivers for not allowing their children to walk, bike, and roll to school. Safe Passages is a program that communities across the county have successfully implemented to ensure safe travel from and to school.

Helpful links:

Safety Valet Programs (school pick-up/drop-off valet)
Safety Valet Programs help to improve student safety during drop-off or pick-up times by providing more organized and safer vehicular traffic condition around schools. The Office of environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) and the Los Angeles School Police Department provides valet program training, guidelines for implementing safety valet program, and valet kit ordering service for school administrators.

Helpful links:

Crossing Guard Program and Service
The primary responsibility of a crossing guard is to help students cross the street safely. Crossing guards are typically needed at crossing with high pedestrian and vehicle volumes, unsignalized intersections, and/or the natural traffic flow does not provide enough gaps for children to cross the street safely. Some local jurisdictions provide paid crossing guard service that the school can request. Schools may also consider developing their own crossing guard program with volunteers.

School Resource Officers
The core responsibility of School Resource Officers (SRO) is to provide for the safety of students and staff at assigned schools. They work closely with site administration and campus security team on a variety of criminal and non-criminal safety and security concerns. They may advise site administration on appropriate security and emergency preparedness response plans to threats of violence, provide traffic enforcement for walking/biking to school events, as well as provide other enforcement training assistance such as bike rodeos, safe passage and valet drop-off programs. SRTS champions should contact your school districts or local law enforcement agencies to find out who is assigned as the school resource officer or school liaison that you can request assistance from.

Evaluation

Evaluation efforts are essential to developing and sustaining Safe Routes to School programs. Documenting and understanding the effects of the programs efforts on travel behavior, parent and student attitudes, and safety conditions near schools, help to measure how well the SRTS program is meeting its goals.  Evaluation efforts are also often required to be competitive or eligible for grant funding.

Data related to SRTS evaluation is typically collected through the following means:

Student Travel Tally Counts
Student travel tallies count the number of students who walk, bicycle, take public transit or are driven to and from school.

The information is collected using a brief, consistent form that can be administered by teachers with a simple "hand raising" survey. The information collected has many applications, including learning travel patterns and estimating traffic congestion and environmental effects. Additionally, when the data is collected across multiple school years, the information can be used to conduct before-after studies on new SRTS programs or keep track of the progress of existing SRTS programs to measure their effectiveness in promoting more walking and biking to school. A standardized tally form and tally instructions can be downloaded .

Parent Surveys
Parent surveys involve a more detailed take-home paper or online form. The information gathered from the parent surveys can help the school understand in more details about the students' travel pattern and parents' concerns on letting their children walk/bike to school. The school can identify their SRTS program goals based on the survey results and develop action plans to address the issues preventing parents to allow their kids to walk/bike to school. Parent surveys can also help measure the changes in parents' attitude towards walking and biking to school over time. A standardized parent survey can be downloaded .

National SRTS Data Collection System
Schools are encouraged to register and upload their student tally and parent survey data to the National Center for Safe Routes to School's online tracking system . The system provides a way for local and regional SRTS champions to enter, view and analyze data collected with the standardized student travel tally and parent survey above.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Collision and Injury Data
Bicycle and pedestrian collision and injury data can be accessed through the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). SWITRS is a database that serves as a means to collect and process data gathered from local law enforcement at a collision scene.  Schools can easily access the data through an online SWITRS application developed by the University of California, Berkeley called the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) . Custom reports can be created by the user to capture data relevant to specified criteria such as Jurisdiction, Location, or Annual or Quarterly reports by date. TIMS also has a Safe Routes to School Collision Map Viewer function, which shows Interactive maps and data summaries of bicycle and/or pedestrian collisions around schools in California.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Counts
Conducting bicycle and pedestrian counts can track the amount of walking and/or biking activity at or near school ground, the changes of pedestrian and biking activities over time and measure SRTS program's effectiveness in promoting walking and biking. A detailed manual on how to conduct bicycle and pedestrian counts is available.



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