Pedestrian Safety for Students

Walk to School

The benefits of walking to school are well documented: it’s a great form of exercise, kids and parents get to spend more time together, and students are more active, alert, and ready to learn after when they enter the classroom. 

SDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program works to make engineering improvements to designated school walking routes at five schools per year in an effort to make walking to school a more attractive form of transportation for students.  But we also take the next step by ensuring that students are equipped with the knowledge needed to safely make their way from home to school.

SDOT’s Pedestrian Safety for Students program is part of a broader City of Seattle initiative to improve pedestrian safety and encourage walking.  This program provides students with the skills to walk safely, demonstrates that walking is healthy and fun, and engages the school community to encourage walking. 

Second graders at each school that participates in this program take part in age-appropriate pedestrian safety training.  After obtaining the skills to be a safe walker in the classroom, students are led on a “walking field trip” where they can practice their new skills in a real world environment.

Students on a walking field trip practice their safe walking skills

To promote the long term use of these pedestrian safety tools, a campaign is launched to encourage parents and students to walk to school.  Campaigns are determined by volunteers at each school and have ranged from the formation of walking school buses to intricate multi-month walking contests.  An incentive or prize, usually donated by local businesses, is offered to students to raise awareness about the program.  The goal of the encouragement portion of this program is to establish walking habits that can be carried forward in the future.

To date, more than 20 schools have received engineering improvements and pedestrian safety education through this program.  To learn more about SDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program, check out our website.