Elements of a Strong Safe Routes to School Policy: The Five E’s

To effectively build infrastructure, improve safety, and change travel behaviors, a strong school district policy should support the key components of a Safe Routes to School program, commonly referred to as the Five E’s:

Education – School district policies can help educate children about the broad range of transportation choices and instruct them in bicycling and walking safety skills.  Also, driver safety campaigns can educate drivers – both students and adults – regarding safe driving near schools and elsewhere. 

Encouragement – Policies can institutionalize events and activities that promote walking and bicycling and generate enthusiasm among students, parents, staff, and the surrounding community.

Engineering – Policies can outline how school districts can act independently or partner with local jurisdictions to improve infrastructure around schools to increase the safety and convenience of active transportation.

Enforcement – Policies can specify ways in which school districts should partner with local law enforcement to ensure that traffic laws (including speed limits, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, and proper walking and bicycling behaviors) are obeyed near schools. School districts can also facilitate community enforcement, such as crossing guard programs and student safety patrols.

Evaluation – Policies can encourage monitoring and documenting outcomes, attitudes, and trends via data collection before and after programmatic changes are made.