Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national and international movement to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from schools. Within the United State, SRTS is a Federal-Aid program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Every State manages its own program and develops its own processes to solicit and select projects for funding. The goal of Ohio's SRTS program is to assist communities in developing and implementing projects and programs that encourage and enable children in grades k-8, including those with disabilities to walk or bike to school safely. This is done by creating a school travel plan (STP) that addresses the 5 Es of the SRTS program: engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, and evaluation. The current Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) funding process restricts applications for STP development to four schools.
The purpose of this report research project was to develop a process that lets large school districts in Ohio develop comprehensive, district-wide School Travel Plans (STP). Large school districts are defined by the ODOT as those with more than fifteen kindergarten through 8th grade (K-8) schools. In order to develop a district-wide STP process, a pilot district (Cincinnati Public Schools) was chosen so that the methodologies could be tested and refined. Methodologies were developed based upon three key areas identified by ODOT: mapping, infrastructure project identification and prioritization, and non-infrastructure project identification and prioritization.
In the end, a district-wide STP was created for Cincinnati, along with a set of guidelines that can be used by other large districts looking to create a district-wide STP. The Cincinnati STP is the first district-wide STP for a large school district in Ohio and is thought to be the first Large District STP nationally to incorporate both infrastructure and non-infrastructure items.