On July 29, 2005 Congress passed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the federal government’s transportation bill, in part, designating $612 million over five years to go to a relatively new funding program: Safe Routes to School (SR2S). The legislation mandated that state departments of transportation (DOTs) receive annual funding in an amount proportional to the number of primary and middle school grade children enrolled in their states. State DOTs could then grant that money to state, local, and regional agencies, as well as non-profit organizations to fund SR2S programs.
Improving public health (and increasing active transportation) is both an explicit and implicit factor motivating this piece of legislation. In the years since its passage into law, the effectiveness of SR2S projects at improving public health have been tested and researched. This perspective documents our current state of understanding of the effects of SR2S projects on public health and active transportation in the U.S.
CHRISTOPHER E. FERRELL, PhD
Dr. Ferrell began his planning career in 1995 working for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) on intelligent transportation system (ITS) applications for traffic management. Since 2000, he has worked as a transportation consultant and most recently as MTI’s Senior Research Scientist. In 2010 he co-founded CFA Consultants, a transportation planning and research firm. Dr. Ferrell completed his doctoral studies in city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005.