ABOUT SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL
In 2011, the City of Los Angeles launched the Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan with the goal of reducing traffic fatalities of children walking and bicycling to school. In addition to improving safety, the Plan seeks to increase the number of students walking and bicycling to school to benefit public health and student achievement, relieve traffic congestion and improve air quality, and build a stronger sense of community.
As the city lead for the Plan, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has worked in close collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles School Police (LASP) to implement street improvements to calm traffic in school environments and complementary education programs, encouragement activities and traffic enforcement strategies.
Partnering with disciplines across the District including Operations, Environmental Health and Safety, Physical Education, Transportation, School Management Services, and Parent and Community Student Services (FCSS) has bolstered the city’s Safe Routes portfolio. Robust engagement with administration, educators, students and parents has increased awareness of traffic safety, participation in school safety walk audits and plan reviews, and organization of events such as Walk to School Day. LADOT will also continue to expand the depth and breadth of its partnerships with parent, community and health stakeholders in order to achieve Safe Routes goals.
Data Driven Strategies
The Plan uses data-driven approaches to effectively target safety efforts. In 2012, LADOT developed a prioritization methodology considering collision rates, the number of children living within walking and bicycling distance of each school, and equity and health indicators to identify schools with highest need with an emphasis on the Top 50. All Top 50 schools are located on (or within a ¼ mile radius of) the city’s High Injury Network (HIN) — a network that comprises 6 percent of our streets and accounts for 65 percent of pedestrian fatal and severe injury collisions. A crash profile analysis of the HIN will identify the “where”, “when” and “how” and “who” of collisions and inform the types of improvements at target location. Going forward, data captured on how students travel to school (e.g. walk, bike, car, transit or carpool) can inform policies and programs around school safety, physical education and transportation.
In 2014, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) was awarded over $20 million from the Active Transportation Program (ATP) to fund infrastructure improvements at nine schools in the Top 50, safety education and encouragement projects and School Travel Plans. Projects include safety campaigns and collateral to reduce traffic collisions, a GIS-based Pedestrian Routes to School mapping tool, and slow speed zone pilots. Also starting in 2016, LADOT will conduct school safety assessments and prepare School Travel Plans for the Top 50 schools that may be used to tap funding opportunities.
WALK TO SCHOOL DAY 2015
Walk to School Day is an annual Safe Routes to School encouragement activity that brings together school administration, educators, students and parents to celebrate the fun and healthy benefits of walking and bicycling to school and promote traffic safety for students that walk, bicycle and roll to and from school.
Since 2012, the number of participating schools has increased by 40 percent each year. For three years, the Annual Walk to School Day has had over 100 schools and tens of thousands of pre-K to 12 grade students participating. The tireless efforts of volunteer organizers has scaled the success of this program and helped reinforce the City and District’s focus on and investment in programs and infrastructure improvements that create calmed traffic environments around neighborhood schools. To learn more about Walk to School Day, download Frequently Asked Questions.
LADOT supports planning and logistics for Walk to School Day events throughout the month of October (Walk-tober). Starting this fall, LADOT is expanding its technical assistance to schools that seek to sustain walking activities throughout the school year. For more information about Walk to School Day and School-Year Walk Activities, please visit Los Angeles Walk to School Day.
SUPPORTING VISION ZERO
The Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan embraces the goal of Vision Zero to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2025 with an emphasis on our vulnerable student-age population. Children under 18 are disproportionally impacted by traffic violence, accounting for almost 20 percent of all people fatally or severely injured while walking and bicycling in the City of Los Angeles. Vision Zero builds upon the ongoing data-driven approach of Safe Routes to target improvements to areas with the greatest need to enhance the safety of the day-to-day travel of our youth.