Safe Routes to Schools
TAM administers the Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) Program, which works to relieve traffic congestion around schools by promoting alternatives to commuting to school, such as walking, biking, taking the bus and carpooling. In addition, the program helps improve safety, promote a healthy lifestyle for youth and enhance the sense of community in neighborhoods. It does this through classroom education, special events, infrastructure improvements, a crossing guard program, and other strategies.
To address the unique needs of each school district, a Task Force is formed to bring together SR2S staff, parent leaders, elected officials and staff from the local jurisdiction, traffic engineers, school district representatives, law enforcement personnel and neighborhood leaders.
The SR2S program has been in operation since 2000 and involves 58 schools and more than 26,500 students.
To help students safely get across busy streets, the crossing guard program provides trained crossing guards at key intersections throughout Marin County, based on a rigorous evaluation and prioritization process.
Safe Routes to Schools educational programs offer classroom curriculum, events, contests and promotional materials to encourage children (and parents) to walk and bike safely to school. Programs provide lessons about safety, health and the environment. The program supports and coordinates volunteer organizers and provides schools with promotional and contest materials, prizes, and ongoing consultation. School programs include:
TAM’s Safe Pathways to Schools Program funds construction projects that make the commute to school safer. Funding covers the engineering, environmental clearance and construction of pathway and sidewalk improvements, including safety improvements at street crossings.
To develop route maps for walking and biking to schools and concept plans to help communities determine local improvements needed for safer access to schools, an engineering team works with local task forces to plan infrastructure improvements and prioritize near-term and long-term solutions.
Safe Pathways projects are selected for funding based on performance criteria that focus on improving safety throughout the County.
Street Smarts is a traffic safety program that educates drivers, pedestrians and cyclists about safety issues, including distracted driving. The goal is to encourage people to adopt new attitudes and behaviors that will reduce the number of traffic-related accidents and make our streets safer for everyone.
In addition to providing educational materials and presentations, the program focuses on placing outdoor advertising at “hotspots” throughout Marin County – bold reminders at the locations where traffic problems occur most frequently.
TAM brought the Street Smarts Program (originally developed by the City of San Jose and partners) to Marin in 2008 in response to requests from local cities and towns for a traffic safety education program. Since then, approximately 30 communities in Northern California have implemented Street Smarts programs, and many across the state have adopted similar programs.
Learn more at the Street Smarts website
Marin County became the first jurisdiction in the US to provide long-term funding for its Safe Routes to Schools programs. Marin has been very successful in securing federal and state grants, in large part due to the efforts of TAM’s Safe Routes team, neighborhood communities, and the local volunteer task forces of parents and school officials. We also have been extremely successful in leveraging this money to secure even greater funding.
SR2S’s capital funding program, Safe Pathways to Schools, has been particularly vital in providing a “local match” source that is used to gain additional state and federal capital funding. By using this approach, TAM has been able to triple its initial investment, and allowed SR2S staff to expand programming, as well as implement a wide-range of infrastructure projects. This included additional funding for crossing guards from the 2010 voter-approved $10 vehicle registration fee.
The Safe Routes to School Program is funded from a variety of sources, including the Marin County 1/2-cent Transportation Sales Tax:
- Federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS)
- State Safe Routes to School (SR2S)
- One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) from MTC
- Transportation Enhancement Program
- Bicycle Transportation Account (Caltrans)
- TAM Safe Pathways
- Local TFCA (TAM)
- Transportation for Livable Communities (MTC)
- Bicycle Facilities Program (BAAQMD)
- Regional TFCA (BAAQMD)
- Local jurisdictions’ general funds
- Office of Traffic Safety
- Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) (Caltrans)
- School districts and individual schools
- $10 Vehicle Registration Fee (VRF) (TAM)