Accomodating bicycle and pedestrian travel
And finally, in many communities, sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, and trails are either missing or inadequate. A successful Safe Routes to School program benefits children in several ways.
Research has shown that 25 percent of morning traffic is parents driving their students to school.Neighborhoods that have high traffic volumes and speeds cause fear for childrens safety.In addition, perceptions of crime deter people from allowing their children to walk to school, for example, concern about child abduction. People believe that it is more convenient to drop their child off at school on their way to work.Theres so much to see, smell, touch, think, and talk about.By walking with friends, children will build relationships and learn more about their neighborhood, their friends, and themselves.Studies have shown that physically active kids have improved mood and concentration, a stronger self-image and more self-confidence.
Physically active kids also have fewer chronic health problems and report lower levels of smoking and alcohol consumption. Research shows that walking or riding is childrens preferred method of getting to school.
Fewer car trips also mean lower gasoline bills, a significant factor with todays higher prices. The Marin County, California, Safe Routes to School program (the first of its kind in the U.
S.) reported a 64 percent increase in the number of students walking to school, a 114 percent increase in the number of children bicycling and a 39 percent decrease in the number of children arriving singly by private car.
One of the goals of a Safe Routes to School program is to identify potential hazards on the school grounds and adjacent neighborhoods and develop plans to address them.
Even when routes to and from school are ostensibly safe, risks remain.
Health experts are predicting that rates of diseases associated with physical inactivity, such as diabetes, will soar as the next generation comes of age.