Safe Routes to Schools

Primary Investigator Contact Information

P. Taylor Lonsdale

External Project Contact(s)

Audrey Allums
  • Montana Department of Transportation, Maintenance Division
  • 2701 Prospect Avenue
  • Helena, Montana 59620-1001
  • 406-444-4210
  • aallums@mt.gov


There are no reports associated with this project.

Project Objective

Through this project, Taylor Lonsdale, PE will serve as the state of Montana's “Safe Routes to School” Coordinator on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation. This program aims to encourage active and healthy lifestyles by increasing the number of children in grades K through 8 who walk and bike to school.

Project Abstract

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) manages the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program in response to 2005 federal legislation that provides Federal funding to each state to encourage children to walk and bike to school. Montana receives approximately $1 million for SRTS annually, of which up to 70% may be allocated to infrastructure projects and 30% is allocated to non-infrastructure projects. Examples of infrastructure projects include sidewalk improvements, traffic calming measures, and off-street bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Examples of non-infrastructure improvements include public awareness campaigns, incentive programs such as mileage clubs, increased traffic enforcement near schools, and educational sessions for students. MDT allocates the funding to eligible community-based projects. Taylor Lonsdale of the Western Transportation Institute will implement and coordinate the “Safe Routes to School Program” on behalf of MDT. Specifically, Mr. Lonsdale will serve as the liaison between the program and local communities. The overall local process will likely include: increasing stakeholder awareness (schools, school districts, Montana Association of Counties, League of Cities & Towns, Tribal Governments, Parent/Teacher groups, health promotion groups, etc), assessment and prioritization of needs, selection of solutions (list possible solutions, cost/benefit analysis, final selection), implementation of solutions, and evaluation of program efficacy.

Task Descriptions

  1. Create tracking tools and monitor usage
    1. The team will develop a database or method that can be used to baseline and track progress towards increasing the number of elementary and middle school students that walk or bike to school for statewide use or within individual communities. The Coordinator will create communications tools to ensure the adopted tracking method is routinely used and to obtain reports from schools or community groups.
  2. Coordinate activities with state agencies
    1. The coordinator will work directly with the State’s Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator, District Traffic Engineers, and the Community Transportation Enhancement Program to increase coordination of SRTS activities with complementary state programs.
  3. Develop materials to support program goals
    1. The WTI Team will develop innovative and appealing materials to support SRTS program goals and make them widely available to Montana communities, including presentations that SRTS champions can use to communicate SRTS goals within their communities as well as materials to support evaluation, such as posting survey forms online.
  4. Project management and reporting
    1. The Coordinator will serve as the central point of contact for the state SRTS program, and conduct administrative, fiscal and reporting duties, including monthly reports regarding meeting program goals.
  5. Perform local outreach and technical assistance
    1. The coordinator will represent MDT at statewide and regional meetings, and at other public functions at locations including: school districts, elementary and middle schools, parent-teacher and student health organizations. The Coordinator will also help schools plan and implement "walk to school" and other encouragement programs and incentives that promote travel behavior change, and provide assistance with community grants.
  6. Evaluation
    1. The Coordinator will maintain a database with contacts for schools, school districts and relevant stakeholders. Process evaluation will include maintenance of records of local contacts, reports on the effectiveness of program activities, and the development of recommendations to the State implementation team.
  7. Develop three-year work plan
    1. In cooperation with the State SRTS implementation team, WTI will develop a work plan to increase the number of children who walk and bike to school and to create safer environments surrounding schools in Montana. This work plan will incorporate evaluation, education, encouragement, enforcement and engineering components, consistent with the MDT SRTS Guidebook.
  8. Create SRTS toolkit
    1. The Coordinator will create a toolkit containing existing resources and new resources stakeholders can use to plan, implement and evaluate SRTS projects.
  9. Develop and implement marketing strategy
    1. The team will develop strategies that foster local relationships and bring together groups within communities that can play important roles in assessing issues and establishing SRTS programs.

Milestones, Dates, Schedule

Start Date:11/2/2009
End Date:6/30/2010

Student Involvement


Relationship to Other Research Projects


Technology Transfer Activities


Transportation Research Board Keywords

Active Transportation, Pedestrian, Bicycle


Montana Department of Transportation