The goal of this project is to provide Washington State Safe Route to School programs with data that will support future efforts to promote active school travel and to ensure the safety of students traveling to school. Although Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs have been shown to increase the number of children who walk or bike to school, they are relatively small programs within departments of transportation, and they compete with funding for other surface transportation operations. Data-driven evidence that clearly shows the effectiveness and efficiency of their funding would be of benefit. This project will test three hypotheses using the unique longitudinal data set of Student Travel for Washington State, in combination with data on school characteristics; school neighborhood street infrastructure and land use; SRTS projects; and statewide vehicular collisions. The tested hypotheses will be that neighborhood walkability around schools is associated with higher rates of students walking to school; rates of walking and biking to school increase following the completion of SRTS projects; and higher rates of students walking and biking to school are not related to higher rates of collision between youth and vehicles near schools. This use of unique data sets on school- and grade-based travel, along with related land-use and traffic safety data, will support a data-driven approach to improving student mobility and safety.
Principal Investigator: Anne Vernez Moudon, Urban Design and Planning, UW
Expected completion: August 2021