School Siting and Children`s Travel: How Can We Balance


School Siting and Children`s Travel: How Can We Balance
School Siting and Children’s Travel:
How Can We Balance Community and Transportation Goals
Ruth L. Steiner
• Overview of Schools (US and UK)
• Impacts of Policies
– Costs
– Children’s Health
• Policies/programs impacting school
siting and active transport to and from
• Policy Options
Organization of Schools – US and UK
• Public Schools
– School Choice
– Magnet Schools
– Charter Schools
• Private Schools
– Religious
– Non-religious
Grade Levels
Primary (5-11)
Middle (11-14)
High (15-18)
Community Colleges/
• State-funded Schools
– Community
– Academies
– Free Schools
• Independent/public
– Voluntary Aided
– Non-voluntary aided
• Grade Levels
– Primary (4-11)
– Secondary (12-18)
– 6th Form/FE/
Number of Students by Type of School Attended - US
Public, assigned
Public, chosen
Private, churchrelated
Private, not church
• Rising childhood obesity
– 1 in 3 U.S. kids between 6 and 19 are overweight
or obese
– Direct health costs of childhood obesity: $14
• Decline in physical activity
– 1969: 48% walk to school
– 2009: 13% walked to school
Within one mile:
– 1969: 89% walked or bicycled
– 2009: 35% walked or bicycled
Ongoing Transportation Costs Per Child
• National
• Expenditure: $22.9 Billion/£13.7 Billion
• Average cost: $868/£521 per student
• School traffic
accounts for
between 15% and
25% of peak hour
traffic in most
Factors Affecting Travel Choice for School
• Multitude of factors impacting a parent’s
decision about child’s travel to school each
The location of the school
The location of the residence
The characteristics of the roadway network
The location of major roads and highways
The walking environment, including
perception of safety and risk
– Limits on parents’ time
What combination of factors
offers the most opportunities for
the safe movement of children?
Pasco County School District
Chasco Elementary and Middle Schools
Pasco County School District
Chasco Elementary School and Chasco Middle School
Apartment complex across the
street (SR 54) from the school
• Schools built in 1999
and 2000
• Zero elementary
school walkers/bikers
and few middle
school walkers/bikers
• No crossing guards
Orange County School District
Riverdale Elementary School
Alachua County School District
Meadowbrook Elementary
Policy Areas Influencing School Transportation
Three areas of
coordinated planning:
Multimodal Planning
Coordinated School Siting
Safe Routes to School
Multimodal Planning
Intersection of land use planning and
transportation planning
Four guiding principles:
Complementary mix of land uses
Appropriate density and intensity of development
High level of network connectivity
Good urban design connecting complementary land uses
Coordinated School Siting
Intersection of land use planning and school
– Seeks to locate schools near residential areas where
students will live
– School concurrency: Adequate school facilities must be
in place within three years of construction of residential
Safe Routes to School (SRTS)
• 2005: SAFETEA-LU legislation
– Designed to empower communities to make walking and
bicycling to school a safe and routine activity
– SRTS programs may consist of building safer street crossings
or establishing programs to encourage walking and bicycling
• Initial Funding
– $629 million (£360) for SRTS programs across the country
– Over $1 billion (£600 million) in federal funding
– 10-30% of funds used for non-infrastructure programs
• i.e. walking safety program
– Remaining funds to be used for bike/pedestrian
infrastructure improvements
• i.e. sidewalks, overpasses, pedestrian signals
• Now included in Enhancements Program and
matching requirements changed
Organizations Involved in School Planning
• Federal, State, Regional and Local (US)
vs. Federal and Local (UK)
• Responsibility for School Transport
– US (School Districts/Local)
– UK (Local Government)
• Responsibility for School Siting
– US (School Districts)
– UK (Local Government)
Policy Options
Advocate for Better Policies
• Decisions of School Board, City Planning
Agencies and Transportation
– Location of schools/School closures
– Sprawl development projects
– Expenditures of transportation funds
– Professional guidance
• Coordination between governments
• Rethink the Use of School Buildings
• Pay Attention to the Details
Facilities and Safety Enhancements
Seminole County School District
• Formal pedestrian paths to schools
• Back entrances
Bear Lake Elementary School
Teague Middle School
Walking School Buses and Bicycle Trains
Thank you!
• For additional information, please
Ruth Steiner
[email protected]
Research was performed with funding from the
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active Living Research Program,
Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and
Education Center (STRIDE)
and the Florida Department of Transportation

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