Embracing Equity in Safe Routes to School Programs

Serving all members of all Oregon communities

What do we mean by equity?

Equity recognizes that people from different backgrounds have unique barriers to living healthy, fulfilled lives. To support breakthrough outcomes for historically marginalized communities throughout Oregon, we need to understand the different barriers and opportunities that affect different groups, and craft our policies, programs, and overall approaches with those various challenges and needs in mind.

What does it have to do with Safe Routes to School?

    • Children from low-income families are twice as likely as children from wealthier families to walk to school, but they often face significant traffic and personal safety challenges on the trip to school.
    • Low-income, urban residents are more likely to experience busy streets, poor pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and threats from crime and violence.
    • Low-income, rural communities often lack sidewalks and may see high-speed state highways bisecting their communities.
    • Low-income communities and communities of color often have inadequate street infrastructure and do not have the funding, strong policies, or staffing resources available for building streets that are safe for walking and bicycling.

How does Safe Routes advance equity?

We believe children and adults of all economic and social backgrounds, and people of all physical and mental abilities, deserve the right to walk, bike, and roll safely in their communities. Oregon Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is committed to advancing safe active transportation in underserved communities and schools. We know that if we foster communities that support health and opportunity for historically underserved populations, we can help get more children and families walking, biking, and rolling to school safely.

We are working to build equitable outcomes into Safe Routes to School initiatives in Oregon by:

  • using our school database to identify schools with high-needs to prioritize for outreach and engagement;
  • focusing on supporting families without access to a vehicle, houseless families, non-native English speakers, and students with disabilities and improving SRTS programming at their schools;
  • supporting the ODOT SRTS grant process, which prioritizes equity metrics to award construction grants to Title 1 schools;
  • Hosting equity-focused webinars and trainings for SRTS practitioners;
  • Adding adaptive bicycles to our statewide bicycle fleets.

As a network of SRTS advocates and practitioners our intention is to make more resources available to the broader Oregon SRTS network.

Have ideas or want to get more involved?

Safe Routes Equity Resources

The guides, toolkits, and other resources provided here can help you incorporate equity considerations into your SRTS efforts.

Volunteer Toolkit

This toolkit from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership describes strategies for recruiting, appreciating, engaging, and sustaining volunteers.

Safe Routes to School Messaging for Pros

This toolkit provides school districts and schools with guidance and resources for a comprehensive communications strategy that supports Safe Routes to School.

How to be a Parent Champion for Safe Routes to School

This Safe Routes to School National Partnership document describes how parents and families can get involved in Safe Routes to School, through data collection, school and neighborhood improvements, policy change, and programs to enable and encourage more walking and bicycling.

Keep Calm and Carry On to School

This infobrief from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership includes an overview of key principles and describes specific strategies and techniques in three categories: engineering, operations and programming, and education and enforcement.

Low Income Resource Guide

This resource guide focuses on schools and communities where at least half of students or community residents are low-income. It includes specific tips for getting started with SRTS in low income communities. It also includes an overview and explanation of six key challenges often identified in implementing SRTS in low income schools and communities.

National PTA Diversity Inclusion Toolkit

This National PTA Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit has resources to assist PTAs at all levels with creating diversity committees, policies, activities and events.

Community Engagement Guide

King County has developed this Community Engagement Guide for employees and programs to promote effective engagement and customer service with all county communities.

Guide to Creating Inclusive Campaigns

This document helps to put employees in the best position to run a successful, inclusive marketing campaign in conjunction with the guidelines outlined by King County’s Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan.