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 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.
- Safety Passage Program in Belmont School and Watts
- Best and Promising Practices to Address Violence and Personal Safety in Safe Routes to School Programs-Urban Peace Institute:
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.
- Safety Valet Program-Los Angeles Unified School District
- Reference Guide-Implementing a Safety Valet Program at School
- Video of Safety Valet Program Overview
- Request to order Safety Valet Kit
- Request Traffic Valet Training-Los Angeles School Police Department
- Student Drop-off and Pick-up Tools-National Center for Safe Routes to School
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.
- Traffic Safety Tool Kit-Los Angeles County Department of Public Works : The Tool Kit contains guidelines on how to request school area traffic enforcement, such as crossing guard service.
- School Traffic Safety Reference Guide-Los Angeles Unified School District : The Guide provides instructions for site administrators on how to request assistance for traffic survey, traffic controls, crossing guards and other enforcement services.
- Adult School Crossing Guard Guidelines : National Center for Safe Routes to School and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- California School Crossing Guard Training Guidelines - California Active Transportation Resource Center
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 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 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.