The most successful Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects are often ones that involve many community partners to educate and encourage students and parents to change the way they travel to and from school. These projects incorporate the “Five E’s” of SRTS to ensure that their project is well-rounded. The Five E’s of SRTS include:
Education is one of the complementary strategies in a SRTS program. Education activities include teaching pedestrian, bicyclist and traffic safety and creating awareness of the benefits and goals of SRTS. While education dovetails with engineering and enforcement, it is most closely linked to encouragement strategies. For example, children may learn pedestrian and bicyclist safety skills and then get the chance to join a mileage club that rewards children for walking or bicycling to school.
Encouragement activities also offer "teachable moments" to reinforce pedestrian and bicyclist safety education messages.
Encouragement strategies are about having fun; they generate excitement and interest in walking and bicycling. Special events, mileage clubs, contests and ongoing activities all provide ways for parents and children to discover, or rediscover, that walking and bicycling are doable and a lot of fun.
Encouragement activities also play an important role moving the overall SRTS program forward because they build interest and enthusiasm, which can buoy support for changes that might require more time and resources, such as constructing a new sidewalk.
The main goal for SRTS enforcement strategies is to deter unsafe behaviors of drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and to encourage all road users to obey traffic laws and share the road safely.
The public typically thinks of enforcement as officers writing tickets. In fact, enforcement, especially for SRTS programs, is a network of community members working together to promote safe walking, bicycling and driving. This can be accomplished through safety awareness, education and, where necessary, the use of ticketing for dangerous behaviors. Enforcement includes students, parents, adult school crossing guards, school personnel and neighborhood watch programs all working in conjunction with law enforcement. Working together to enforce rules for safe walking, bicycling and driving makes it safer and easier for everyone to walk and bicycle.
Engineering is one of the complementary strategies that SRTS programs use to enable more children to walk and bicycle to school safely. Communities tailor a combination of engineering, education, encouragement and enforcement strategies to address the specific needs of their schools.
Engineering approaches can improve children’s safety to enable more bicycling and walking. Engineering is a broad concept used to describe the design, implementation, operation and maintenance of traffic control devices or physical measures, including low-cost as well as high-cost capital measures.
Evaluation is an important component of any SRTS program. Evaluation is used to determine if the aims of the strategies are being met and to assure that resources are directed toward efforts that show the greatest likelihood of success. Also, evaluation can identify needed adjustments to the program while it is underway.
Visit the National Guidebook at http://guide.saferoutesinfo.org/introduction/index.cfm for more information about the 5 E’s and more.