Welcome to Safe Routes to School of Central Alabama!
In 1979, approximately 47% of students walked or biked to school. Today, that number is at 13%.
In Alabama, it’s even lower as approximately only 3% of students walk or bike to school.
During a similar time frame as this decrease in physical activity, the obesity rate and occurrence of related chronic diseases have dramatically increased.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a movement to create safe, convenient and fun opportunities for students to walk and bike to school.
Safe Routes to School of Central Alabama is a joint initiative of United Way of Central Alabama and the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham which promotes SRTS locally. SRTS is an initiative which concurrently supports behavioral and environmental changes to create a healthier community. SRTS partners with schools to educate and encourage students to walk to school; and works with cities to improve infrastructure to be more conducive for walking and biking. The initiative strives to accomplish several objectives including increased physical activity, increased safety, traffic mitigation, and improved air quality.
SRTS of Central Alabama’s signature program is the Walking School Bus. Walking School Bus (WSB) routes function like bus routes, but students are walking instead of riding, and supervised by adult volunteers.
The program continues to grow as students walked over 560 miles the first year (2011-12), and over 1,325 miles the second year (2012-2013) at three Birmingham City Schools. In the 2013-14 school years, SRTS of Central Alabama expanded to work on different events with ten schools in five school districts. This expansion included hosting eight bicycle rodeos, coordinating National Walk to School Day events at seven schools with over 1,000 students participating, and hosting a Bike to School Day event with 120 students participating.
As a result, students are increasing their amount of physical activity with a goal of improved wellness. Long-term, SRTS creates a culture of active transportation so that people habitually choose walking and cycling as modes of transportation; improving local health outcomes.