Presentation on theme: "Florida Safe Routes to School Walking School Bus Program John Egberts FL SRTS Walking School Bus Program."— Presentation transcript:
Florida Safe Routes to School Walking School Bus Program John Egberts FL SRTS Walking School Bus Program
2 About the WSB Program The Florida Safe Routes to School Walking School Bus Program is a statewide training program that teaches adults (parents, school staff, volunteers, etc.) how to implement a walking school bus (WSB) program in their community. Provides: Free workshops Guides, sample forms, and some materials/equipment to help get the WSB going. Funded by the FDOT Safety Office (Florida SRTS) and housed at the University of Florida
3 Travel to School Four decades ago, nearly half of all children walked or biked to school. Today, only 1 out of every 10 children walk or bike to school
4 Why less active travel? Distance Weather School Policy Safety concerns *Abductions *Traffic Time
5 Results of decline Health issues Congestion/Traffic Environmental impact Increased danger in automobile *Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for ages 5 to 19 (CDC, 2014) US Obesity Rates 1985-2010
6 Florida’s issues Between 2001 and 2011 in Florida, 465 child pedestrians age 16 and younger were killed. (CDC, 2014) Florida’s Pedestrian Danger Index ranks first nationally. (Smart Growth America, Dangerous by Design 2014). *Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami Some school busing eliminated Changes in Florida *Increased education/encouragement *Better built environment
7 What is a Walking School Bus? A group of children walking to/from school with adult supervision (parents or volunteers) Does not replace or change traditional school bus routes Can operate monthly, weekly, or more often WSBs vary in structure and formality
8 Types of Walking School Buses Informal vs. Formal Families walking together (same neighborhood) Adult walk leaders meet children at group meeting spots Families meet at designated area (drop off/pick up) Trained adult volunteers stop at participating child’s home on planned route. * Walking School Buses need a designated route and adequate adult supervision. Participants should have an understanding of safe pedestrian behaviors.
9 Getting the WSB rolling Each WSB will be unique depending on the needs of the children, parents, school, and surrounding environment. Before starting a WSB, it is essential to identify whether it is possible to have one at the school. *Depends on interest/support for program, traffic and walking conditions, distance from school, school administration, etc. 1.Form a Team (committee of interested persons) *Determine which type of WSB is feasible for the school *Develop policies, map routes, recruit/train volunteers, etc.
10 Getting the WSB rolling 2. Determine interest and support (families, school, etc.) *Once you’ve decided as WSB is possible, must determine if there is interest in participating. *PTA support 3. Plan the Route *Identify potential routes *Walk and Assess routes Do you have room to walk? Are there good sidewalks? Is it easy to cross the street? Are there crossing guards? Is traffic a problem? Is there a safe meeting spot for students who live more than a mile from school? 4. Determine the Schedule *Will you walk daily, weekly, monthly? Before and after school? *Will the bus pick-up children at their house or will there be a meeting spot? (church, park, etc)
11 Getting the WSB rolling 5. Communicate with Families (recruit participants) *Where/when WSB will begin, the route map, policies, etc. 6. Train Volunteers *Hold a kick-off meeting before your first walk. *Review walking safety practices, the walking route, and the rules with each driver. 7. Plan Kickoff Event *Plan a Walk to School Day. Collect parent permission and student pledge forms. *Promote the event. Publicize the event on the school’s marquee, morning announcements, website, and/or in a newsletter. Hang banners or flyers
12 WSB Safety #1 Priority Route Safety What makes a route safer? Can use Walkability Checklist (see handbook) Supervision US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend: *One adult per three children (1:3) ages 4 to 6 *One adult for six children (1:6) ages 7 to 9 *Fewer adults may be necessary for children 10 and older The type of WSB will help determine the number of adults needed *Free-flowing drop off location vs. WSB with stops along a route.
13 Pedestrian Safety Education The WSB is an opportunity for children to be learn and practice safe walking behaviors. Before the WSB begins, it is a good idea for the children to be taught the WSB rules. *Walk, don’t run; obey traffic signs/signals; follow instructions of WSB leaders; pay attention and don’t be distracted; etc. Focus on teaching children (vs. adults)
14 Policies/Procedures to Consider Volunteer policy Tracking/Attendance policy Late policy Absence Cancellation Weather Communication (parents, school, volunteers) Injuries Behavioral Issues
15 Keep it Moving! Hold special events or theme days. Reward frequent walkers with small incentives. Invite local “celebrities” to walk. Keep the routes safe and up to date. *Conduct regular walks to identify areas for improvement. Recognize volunteers with certificates or awards.