Staunton 2003 - “Promoting Safe Walking and Biking to School: The Marin County Success Story”

Saunton, Catherine E.; Hubsmith, Deb; Kallins, Wendi.
“Promoting Safe Walking and Biking to School: The Marin County Success Story”
American Journal of Public Health
September 2003; v.93, n.9.; pp. 1431-1434
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In 1999 Marin County residents started a program to increase the number of local children walking to school.  Over two school years participating public reported that trips by walking increased by 64%, biking by 114%, and carpooling by 91%.  Trips in which a private vehicle carried only one student decreased by 39%.

The program tools include:

  • mapping safe routes to school and advocating for infrastructure changes to make more, safer routes,
  • organizing walk and bike to school days,
  • classroom education including safety training,
  • “walking school buses” and “bike trains” that organize kids to travel together and allow parents to share supervisory responsibility,
  • newsletters and promotions, and
  • networking and presentations on the state and national level.

The authors attribute much of the program's success to contributions by parents, teachers, and community volunteers.

Note: Strong data analysis is difficult because some schools did not participate in the first year and some did not report complete data.  Two private schools participated but did not increase walking, biking, or carpooling significantly, possibly because they draw students from a wider geographic area than do public schools.

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