Understand SRTS

Five young friends with bicycles scooters and skateboard outdoor

California has a long and outstanding tradition of successful SRTS programs. In 1998, the California Department of Public Health funded Marin County, establishing a model for our national SRTS efforts. Since then SRTS has grown dramatically in California thanks to two funding streams dedicated to facilitating safe opportunities for children to walk and bicycle to school.

Learn more about the history of SRTS in California.

What is SRTS?

SRTS is an international movement to increase the number of children who can, and do, safely walk and bicycle to school. Successful SRTS programs include elements of each of the 5 E’s: Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Evaluation. Each of these E’s is designed to remove barriers that prevent children from walking and bicycling to school. By providing a flexible model to increase walking and bicycling, SRTS programs can address many pressing public health issues facing children and families today.

SRTS Programs can: 1) reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality; 2) increase daily physical activity levels and reduce obesity and other health risks; 3) improve academic performance among children; 4) increase neighborhood and social cohesion; and much more!

To learn more, visit the National Center for SRTS Guide.

Overview of California’s Program

California’s SRTS efforts have many local champions. At the state level, SRTS is led by Caltrans Division of Local Assistance. Caltrans funds TARC to support the statewide California SRTS Program and Caltrans-funded non-infrastructure projects.

Until recently, California has had two distinct Safe Routes to School Programs administered by Caltrans: a state program (SR2S) and a federal program (SRTS). Both programs worked to increase the number of children walking and bicycling to school by removing barriers and facilitating opportunities for active transportation.

On September 26, 2013, Governor Brown signed legislation creating the Active Transportation Program (ATP) in the Department of Transportation (Senate Bill 99, Chapter 359 and Assembly Bill 101, Chapter 354). The ATP consolidates existing federal and state transportation programs, including the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA), and State Safe Routes to School (SR2S), into a single program with a focus to make California a national leader in active transportation. The ATP administered by the Division of Local Assistance, Office of Active Transportation and Special Programs. Safe Routes to School projects and programs are eligible for funding under ATP.  For more information, visit the Caltrans ATP website: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/atp/