Benefits of Safe Routes to School

The benefits of Safe Routes to School include increased physical activity, improved traffic safety, better air quality, enhanced personal safety, long-term cost savings, and greater student academic achievement.  

  • Health: By walking or bicycling to school, students get more physical activity, reduce their risk of obesity and diabetes, and improve their overall health.[8],[9]  Healthier children miss fewer days of school.[10]
  • Learning: When students exercise before school, they arrive focused and ready to learn.[11]  By adopting Safe Routes to School programs, schools can improve students’ health and readiness to learn without taking time away from existing school-day activities or placing additional burdens on teachers.[12]
  • Safety: With more people out walking and bicycling, neighborhood streets become safer and more welcoming for anyone who is not driving.[13]  Safe Routes to School infrastructure improvements allow everyone – including children, older adults, and people with disabilities – to walk and bicycle more safely.[14]
  • Environment: Because fewer car trips means lower greenhouse gas emissions, walking and bicycling to school reduces air pollution and helps the environment.[15],[16]
  • Community: Ten to fourteen percent of morning rush-hour traffic is attributable to families driving their children to school.[17] Getting children to walk or ride a bike reduces traffic congestion.  In addition, by walking or bicycling, children encounter each other (and their other neighbors) on the way to school, increasing the feeling of community and social support.