Boston Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School Boston is a citywide effort to promote walking and biking to school and to support and rally neighborhoods and the community as a whole to work toward making walking to school safe, popular, and fun.
The Boston Public Health Commission encourages residents to choose active transportation methods to move around the city. Below are some key programs and resources to support walking, biking, and rolling through the city!
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Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School Boston (SRTS Boston) is part of the national Safe Routes to School initiative to increase safety and promote walking and biking to school. This initiative represents a partnership between the:
- Boston Public Schools
- Boston Public Health Commission
- the City of Boston, and
- MA Safe Routes to School program.
This program was initially funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The City has received funding since 2017 from the Bloomberg Foundation Partnership for Healthy Cities. Boston is one of dozens of cities and states across the country to adopt Safe Routes, tailored to the needs of our own community.
The program works through a set of core elements, known as the 6 Es:
The core elements work collectively to address infrastructure and environmental concerns while educating and promoting involvement. Equity needs to be built into each aspect of a comprehensive Safe Routes to School initiative. Each E needs to include equity in its assessment and action items. But, equity also needs to be considered separately. We want to ensure that the overall effects of individual considerations add up to a meaningful and sufficient investment in the safety and health of all students and communities. For details on the strategies and tools, please see the SRTS Boston Digital Toolkit.
Safe Routes Strategies
Examples in BPS
An equity approach recognizes that different people need different approaches to ensure easy and safe mobility in their neighborhoods. It also recognizes that Black, Indigenous, and communities of color and low-income communities have experienced systemic disinvestment that impacts active transportation. It ensures that SRTS initiatives benefit all communities through targeted approaches.
As a collective effort, SRTS relies on continued engagement with:
students and families
school staff and leaders
members of the community, and
The goal is to create an environment and culture that supports safe, fun, active transportation opportunities.
Events like Walk to School Day provide opportunities to encourage students to walk or bike to school on special days and establish healthy habits. Walking School Busses make it easier and safer for more students to walk to school, facilitated by a grown-up.
We give students and families the options available and information about taking an active approach to school travel. We also provide students with specific safety instruction and training.
The goal of engineering efforts is to improve the physical conditions:
Efforts focus on making improvements to the built environment that create safer walking routes for students, reduce traffic, reduce driver speed, and improve driver safety.
This ensures that the aims of the program are being met. It also confirms that strategies to support active transportation are delivered to the schools and neighborhoods that show the greatest need or opportunity for success.
Safe Routes to School
Schools from all over the state come together for this annual Safe Routes to School event. We celebrate students’ active commutes, including:
- walking, biking, and rolling to school, or
- even during recess or lunch.
This event encourages safety, fun, and healthy and active lifestyle.
iWALK: You’re Invited to Walk, Bike, and Roll!
Join in on Safe Routes to School's iWalk 2022 International Walk, Bike, and Roll to School Day on Wednesday, October 12, 2022.*
It’s easy to be a part of iWalk. We’re bringing together schools from all over the state for this annual Safe Routes to School event. Our goal is to celebrate students’ active commutes, including:
- walking, biking, and rolling school, or
- even during recess or lunch.
We’ll provide the goodies. Safe Routes to School can give you ideas to encourage safety, fun, and participation, including free student bookmarks and stickers. You can also download fun activities on our website.
Schools – don’t miss the fun! Make your school and students count by registering online.
Families – encourage your school to register now! If school is virtual for you on iWalk day, you can still join in by taking a break outside to walk, bike, or roll in your neighborhood.
Show your spirit. Showcase your iWalk day by posting photos and videos (be sure to tag us!) to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #MASRTS, #iwalked2022, & #irolled2022.
*or any day in October that works best for your school
Neighborhood Slow Streets:
Neighborhood Slow Streets focuses on improving street safety at the neighborhood scale. They work alongside communities to understand safety issue and then propose small scale improvements that have a long-lasting impact. This program specifically focuses on solutions that are for smaller, residential streets. View a map of all projects in the City that are slowing speeds and improving safety. This map includes projects on larger streets.
Vision Zero Boston is a Boston Transportation Department (BTD) program. BTD is focusing the City’s resources on proven strategies to eliminate fatal and serious traffic crashes in Boston by 2030. We are inspired by the belief that even one fatality is too many.
Roxbury Safe Routes to School Project:
We are working together with residents and Ellis Elementary to develop a plan for improving street safety in the neighborhood. Ideas include:
- adding speed humps
- raised crosswalks, and
- curb extensions to create safer streets and crossings.
Citizens can report non-emergency issues. These include issues like broken street signs or traffic signals, faded crosswalks, or other impediments to active travel.
Makes walking safer and easier to encourage better health, a cleaner environment, and vibrant communities. It also offers information on conducting walk audits, walk maps, and supportive publications.
Aims to make safe and inviting conditions for biking. Boston Bikes sponsors events and provides resources such as bike maps and safety tips.
Bikes Not Bombs:
Uses bicycling as a vehicle for social change. It also offers youth programs, bike repairs, and earn-a-bike programs to mobilize youth and adult leaders.
Kids speaking up for road safety
This free program includes ready-to-use, 45- to 60-minute lesson plans for grades 2 to 3, 4 to 5, and 6. The lessons help students become part of the solution to end distracted driving – long before they are drivers themselves.
EndDD.org and Safe Roads Alliance developed these lesson plans and collaborated with psychologists, SEL experts, content developers, videographers, and animators experienced in creating educational programs.