Massachusetts parents and students are encouraged to resume walking and bicycling to school this September as part of the Safe Routes to School Program. Safe Routes works with students, parents, school staff, and local police in 94 communities and more than 235 schools to promote walking and bicycling to school in order to improve students’ health, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality in Massachusetts communities.
In 1969, 42% of American students bicycled or walked to school, but today, less than 16% of children walk or bicycle to classes. Nationally, 19% of children age 6-11 years are overweight, more than triple the percentages from 1969. And in some communities, school-related traffic can contribute up to 25% of morning rush hour traffic volumes, as well as significant air pollution.
Through the Safe Routes to Schools program, the Executive Office of Transportation and MassRIDES provide students, parents, and the school community with education and training on transportation, safety, and health benefits from walking and bicycling to school. Participating schools also qualify for financial support for improvements to sidewalks and other infrastructure surrounding schools.
Find out how your school can participate by visiting the Safe Routes website.