Office Of Transporation Planning Massachusetts Department of transporation
Safe Route To School

About Safe Routes To School

The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program helps to reduce air pollution, and traffic congestion near schools, while increasing the health, safety, and physical activity of elementary and middle school students. The Program is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

Massachusetts launched the first of two SRTS pilot programs in the United States, which the U.S. Congress funded upon the recommendation of Congressman James Oberstar. In 1998, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHSTA) provided each pilot program $50,000 in seed money. Dallin Elementary School in Arlington, MA was selected as one of those pilot programs.

In 2005, the United States Congress passed federal legislation establishing a National Safe Routes to School program under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users Act (SAFETEA-LU). The legislation mandated that the Safe Routes to School Program be administered by State Departments of Transportation with federal funds.

Safe Routes to School is present in all 50 states and around the world included Canada, Puerto Rico, Great Britain, and Europe.

In the United States, Safe Routes programs serve approximately 25% of eligible public elementary and middle schools. In Massachusetts, the number of elementary and middle schools participating in SRTS is significantly great at over 45%.


Safe Routes to School programs operate in all 50 states and D.C. The programs benefit children in urban, rural, and suburban communities and represent varying income levels and walking and bicycling conditions. In July 2012, Congress passed a transportation bill: Moving Ahead for Progress in the21st Century (MAP-21). Beginning in October of 2012, SRTS activities were eligible to compete for funding alongside other programs, including the Transportation Enhancements program and Recreational Trails program, as part of a program called Transportation Alternatives (TAP). The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is charged with putting the legislation into practice. The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program is a fully-funded through state and federal dollars.

Additional Information

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