Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national and international program to help children bike and walk to school in a safe, easy and fun environment. The program encourages children to be active, reversing the rise in child obesity. Statistics over the years have shown a steady decline in both children walking and bicycling to school, as well as exercising on an overall basis. Not only does SRTS provide an easy way for children to be active, it provides a safe way to do so. Using GIS can help agencies and municipalities answer questions, address problems, design a specific route, and aid your quest for funding.
- “Do people feel safe walking or riding a bicycle here?”
- “How busy is this traffic intersection, and how many pedestrian accidents happen per year?”
- “What are the crime levels in this area; will my child be safe walking to school?”
- “What’s the walkability – are there existing sidewalks?”
- “Where do students live? What is the most popular route they would take?”
By gathering the right data, GIS helps evaluate these factors and provides the way to good route design.
- finding pertinent data to fit the needs of the area (the vast amount of information out there can be overwhelming)
- geoanalysis – answering those questions
- designing safe routes
- creating maps for funding and proposals
GIS truly plays a role in making sure our communities are safe places to learn and grow. Thanks to GIS, the goal of having children think, “I can’t wait to get to school”, instead of “How am I going to get there today?” is easier to obtain.