Safe Routes to School National Partnership, with support from APHA, recently released a new report demonstrating the value of access to data to improve walking and biking programs, inform decision-making, and evaluate efforts to encourage walking and biking. The report, “Safe Routes to School By the Numbers: Using Data to Foster Walking and Biking to School,” highlights communities and organizations using data to promote walking and bicycling through case study examples, and the opportunities and challenges with data accessibility. This comprehensive report is categorized by the following sections:
- Setting the Stage: Why Data Matters for Safe Routes to School
- Exploring Data At All Levels
- A Look At Current Data Usage in Safe Routes to School
- Making Data More Accessible: Roles and Strategies
- Addressing Challenges with Data Accessibility
Each section provides case study examples of Safe Routes to School stakeholders using data to strengthen and advance walking and bicycling in their community. For example, New Jersey launched the New Jersey Walking School Bus App that helps parents locate a walking school bus in their neighborhood, sign up for a route, and receive a notification when the walking school bus arrives at school. This is one of the many examples that demonstrate how to successfully launch, support, and assess Safe Routes to School in your community using data.
With the assistance of data, various Plan4Health coalitions have been working to implement Safe Routes to School. In cohort one, Columbus, OH worked to increase the number of elementary and middle schools who were implementing Safe Routes to School through some fun and meaningful ways. The coalition organized walking school buses for elementary school students, a bike rodeo, installed bike racks, and developed physical education curricula. In cohort two, Umatilla County, OR is working to implement Safe Routes to School guidelines as part of their larger efforts to increase physical activity as they work towards building a healthier community.
Read the report to learn how you can use data to strengthen programs, decisions, and community support for the Safe Routes to School movement and visit the Plan4Health Resource Library for additional Safe Routes to School resources.
Pictures courtesy of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership