Safe Routes to School


Schools are a hub for health. Nearly half of all students walked or biked to school in 1969¹. Today, only 14% of Omaha students actively commute.² As part of Live Well Omaha Kids’ efforts to engage with schools and the community in order to promote healthy families, we have designated Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) as one of the focuses of our work.


  • Encourages increased student physical activity through safe and active transport to and from school
  • Promotes walking, bicycling, or other forms of active transportation among students and their families
  • Educates the community and improves the built environment to ensure safe places for children to walk and bike to and from school
  • The CDC lists SRTS as an evidence-based, cost-effective intervention showing health impact within five years of implementation

In 2017, Live Well Omaha Kids, under the leadership of Live Well Omaha, received a Preventing Childhood Obesity Community grant from Children’s Hospital & Medical Center to work with CUES to implement SRTS at All Saints, Holy Name, and Sacred Heart School. Data collected at all three schools revealed a majority of students arrive by single family vehicle, despite many living within a mile of the school. Surveys completed by parents identified common barriers to walking or biking to schools, such as distance, weather, and perception of safety. These surveys, coupled with data from neighborhood walk audits, informed the strategies for encouraging students and parents to participate in Safe Routes to School.

Programs, policies and projects slated for implementation during the summer and fall of 2018 included: painting crosswalks and bike racks, lengthening crosswalk lights, incorporating bike safety education into classroom curriculum, and hosting Walk to School days.

After a successful Safe Routes to School experience, Live Well Omaha secured funding to launch Safe Routes to Healthy Places (SRTHP) in January 2019. 

Safe Routes to School still continues in its traditional format today. From 2019-2020, Live Well Omaha Kids is working with Omaha Public Schools to support the project at four schools. Questions? Contact us at

¹The National Center for Safe Routes to School (2011).  How Children Get to School: School Travel Patterns from 1969 to 2009.

²Professional Research Consultants. (2015, October). 2015 PRC Child & Adolescent Community Health Needs Assessment: Douglas & Sarpy Counties, Nebraska, Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Retrieved from 


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Resources to Begin a Safe Routes to School Program:

  • School advisory council descriptionthe purpose of this document is to describe the roles and responsibilities of a SRTS school advisory council (SAC), a critical element of Safe Routes to School program success. The SAC is comprised of diverse stakeholders who lead strategy, nominate champions and ensure that progress is sustained throughout the planning, implementation and evaluation process.
  • Strategy checklist – SRTS is an evidence-based program that utilizes four complementary strategies to encourage active commuting to/ from school. These strategies are education, encouragement, engineering, and enforcement. While no two SRTS programs are exactly alike, the options for promoting walking and biking to school are just as varied- including offering bike safety education, starting a walking school bus, refreshing crosswalks to increase visibility, and enforcing existing traffic laws to ensure students can safely navigate intersections and street crossings.
  • Memorandum of AgreementA signed commitment details the goals and expectations of school advisory council members. After a shared vision of the SRTS program has been established, each member should sign the memorandum of agreement, which indicates they understand individual expectations, commit to ongoing participation and know what support they are entitled to from the community organization managing the program.
  • SRTS Timeline A timeline of the SRTS program provides school advisory council members and others with clarity on project deliverables. Creating a timeline based on SMART goals helps ensure your SRTS work is focused and stays on track. The timeline is a living document that can and should be modified over time and revisited regularly at SAC meetings. What’s a SMART goal you ask? A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
  • Walk Audit Invitation Flyer A walk audit is a solution- focused, strengths based process of mapping assets and barriers to safe walking and bicycling by actually walking a typical route a child would take to school. The walk audit is conducted by a diverse group of stakeholders who each bring a unique perspective to inform consensus solutions that will improve neighborhood walkability for all.
  • Safe Routes mapThe Safe Routes to Holy Name map was created with input from the School Advisory Council, which conducted a walk audit to identify and prioritize neighborhood factors that support or inhibit active commuting. Utilizing geographic information system (GIS) mapping tools, the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) created the Holy Name map, which displays common paths students and their families can take to walk or bike to school based on where they live.
  • Safe Routes to School Summary – These summary documents from All Saints, Holy Name, and Sacred Heart give an overview of the SRTS process, from forming the advisory council, conducting the walk audit, to creating and implementation a Safe Routes action plan.
  • Safe Routes to School Case Study – This gives a detailed look at the entire Safe Routes process and includes findings and lessons learned.