ODOT Focuses on Safe Routes to School

May 7, 2012 - Safety is top priority at the Ohio Department of Transportation. The Ohio Safe Routes to School Program assists communities in developing and implementing projects and programs that encourage and enable children in grades k-8, including those with disabilities, to walk or bike to school safely. ODOT recently rolled out its new campaign called “Every Move You Make, Keep It Safe” with the First Lady of Ohio, Karen Kasich. According to ODOT SRTS website,

Successful Safe Routes to School programs include an integrated approach that addresses all 5 E’s of the program:

  • Engineering – Creating operational and physical improvements to the infrastructure within 2 miles of schools which include children in grades K-8, improvements will reduce speeds and potential conflicts with motor vehicle traffic, and establish safer and fully accessible crossings, walkways, trails and bikeways.
  • Education – Teaching children and care givers about transportation choices, instructing them in lifelong bicycling and walking safety skills, and launching driver safety campaigns.
  • Enforcement – Partnering with local law enforcement to ensure traffic laws are enforced in the vicinity of schools (this includes enforcement of speeds, yielding to pedestrians in crossings, and proper walking and bicycling behaviors), and initiating community enforcement such as crossing guard programs.
  • Encouragement – Using events and activities to promote walking and bicycling.
  • Evaluation – Monitoring and documenting outcomes and trends through the collection of data, both before and after the intervention(s).

DGL was one of three consultants hired by ODOT for their 2007-2009 Statewide Safe Routes to School Program. Assigned to ODOT Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8, DGL completed engineering study assignments for 20 school districts. The engineering studies involved conducting a walking audit to determine barriers to active transportation and then recommending sound engineering solutions to create safer paths to school.

Ten school districts outside of the ODOT contract asked DGL to prepare School Travel Plans in preparation for the infrastructure application process. The firm has successfully prepared applications for infrastructure and School Travel Plan funding with nearly $1 million dollars of grant monies awarded. DGL is currently preparing construction plans for Napoleon, Sylvania and Pettisville. These plans include dynamic signage, school zone signage, pavement marking, sidewalk installations, ADA ramp installations and signalization.

To learn more about ODOT’s Safety Campaign, visit: www.everymove.ohio.gov. Grant monies are 100% funded by the program with no local match required. To find out more, go to: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Planning/ProgramMgt/Projects/SafeRoutes/Pages/default.aspx