Encourage Active Transportation:
Walking, Biking & Safe Routes to School

Simply getting kids to and from school these days can be an expensive, polluting and frustrating endeavor.  In 1969, approximately 50% of children walked or biked to school. Today, the U.S. spends over $21.5 billion per year on school bus transportation and 10-14% of morning traffic is generated by parents driving children to school. Returning to 1969 levels of walking and biking to school would save 3.2 billion vehicle miles, 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide and 89,000 tons of other pollutants - equal to keeping more than 250,000 cars off the road for a year - not to mention the positive impact it would have on children’s health.

Approximately 25 million children and adolescents - more than 33% - are now overweight or at risk of becoming so. Walking is one of the simplest, most effective and affordable strategies for kids and adults to build physical activity into their lives: One mile of walking translates to 2/3 of the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Studies also show links between physical activity and academic achievement. Utilizing safe routes to school can also help reduce traffic, lower pollutants and improve the school district’s bottom line by saving money on transportation.  Learn more about creating safe routes to and from school, and developing incentives for students, staff and parents to think twice before jumping in that vehicle! (Also be sure to visit our National & State Green School Programs page to learn more about local and national Green School programs and resources to help you to continue to improve the health and sustainability of your school!)

Before You Start

Form an Action Team

Review the “6 E’s” of Safe Routes to School

Center for Green Schools: Transportation Video (8mins)

Center for Green Schools: Transportation Companion Guide

Design and Preparation

Conduct a General Environmental Review Checklist

Conduct a Transportation Audit

Sample Commute Survey for Staff & Faculty

Walkability Checklist: Determine Community Walkability

Bikeability Checklist: Determine Community Bikeability


Sample Transportation Action Plan (review program options & develop an action plan)

  • Build a Task Force to Address City/County Route Changes
  • Host a Month-Long "Fire Up Your Feet" Challenge
  • Host a Walk / Bike to School Day (A “Walk & Roll” Day)
  • Organize a Golden Boot Challenge
  • Organize a Walking School Bus
  • Organize a Bike Train
  • Start an I Ride Green Program
  • Learn More: Safe Routes to School Partnership
  • Using Your Project

    Eco School Sustainability Pathways Lessons & Resources

    Eco School National Standards & Curriculum Alignment

    Project Learning Tree Curriculum Offerings

    Green Education Foundation: Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

    Learning Lab Sustainability Lessons

    EPA MyEnvironment: Search Tool of Environmental Data by Zipcode

    Eco Schools Green STEM Initiative

    Sharing Your Project

    Overview: Sharing Your Projects

    Resource Center

    Project Resource Library: Learn More!
    National & State Green School Programs
    Eco Schools USA
    Bay Backpack Teaching Resources Search Engine
    EPA Learning & Teaching About the Environment (awards, resources, more)