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Investment in safe routes to school projects: public health benefits for the larger community.

Watson M, Dannenberg AL - Prev Chronic Dis (2008)

Bottom Line: The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is designed to encourage active and safe transportation for children to school.An estimated 65.5 million people in urban areas could benefit from SRTS projects.Investment in SRTS can contribute to increased physical activity among children and adults.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC, 4770 Buford Highway, Mailstop K-55, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA. MWatson2@cdc.gov

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is designed to encourage active and safe transportation for children to school. This report examines the potential broader impact of these programs on communities within 0.5 mile (0.8 km) of schools.

Methods: We used a geographic information system to generate estimates of the land area within 0.5 mile of public schools in 4 U.S. Census-defined categories: 37 large urban areas, 428 small urban areas, 1088 metropolitan counties (counties in metropolitan statistical areas excluding the urban areas), and 2048 nonmetropolitan counties. We estimated population at the county level or at the U.S. Census-defined urban-area level using data from the 2000 U.S. Census.

Results: In large urban areas, 39.0% of the land area was within 0.5 mile of a public school, and in small urban areas, 26.5% of the land area was within 0.5 mile of a public school. An estimated 65.5 million people in urban areas could benefit from SRTS projects. In nonurban areas, 1% or less of land is within 0.5 mile of a public school.

Conclusion: Results suggest that SRTS projects in urban areas can improve the walking and bicycling environment for adults as well as for children, the target users. Investment in SRTS can contribute to increased physical activity among children and adults.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Example of school buffers of 0.5 mile in a nonmetropolitan area — Frontier County, Nebraska (county population: 3099).
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Figure 3: Example of school buffers of 0.5 mile in a nonmetropolitan area — Frontier County, Nebraska (county population: 3099).

Mentions: The proportion of land area covered by the half-mile school buffers varies considerably by type of location. Examples of maps from each type of area are in Figure 1 (urban area), Figure 2 (metropolitan area outside an urban area), and Figure 3 (nonmetropolitan area). We chose these areas because they appeared to be visually representative of each type of area. All 3 maps use the same scale. In Figure 1, the map of the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, urban area shows that half-mile school buffers cover most of the area, and most of the buffers overlap at least a portion of another buffer. Figure 2 shows Bartow County, Georgia, a metropolitan county outside of the urban area of Atlanta. Few of the buffers in this map are connected. Schools are mostly on the edge of, but not in, areas of high road network density. Figure 3 shows rural Frontier County, Nebraska; only 1 buffer appears on this map. The school is in the middle of the largest town on the map, and the buffer almost entirely covers the town's network of streets. The smaller pattern of streets several miles away is a small town with no local school.


Investment in safe routes to school projects: public health benefits for the larger community.

Watson M, Dannenberg AL - Prev Chronic Dis (2008)

Example of school buffers of 0.5 mile in a nonmetropolitan area — Frontier County, Nebraska (county population: 3099).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2483559&req=5

Figure 3: Example of school buffers of 0.5 mile in a nonmetropolitan area — Frontier County, Nebraska (county population: 3099).
Mentions: The proportion of land area covered by the half-mile school buffers varies considerably by type of location. Examples of maps from each type of area are in Figure 1 (urban area), Figure 2 (metropolitan area outside an urban area), and Figure 3 (nonmetropolitan area). We chose these areas because they appeared to be visually representative of each type of area. All 3 maps use the same scale. In Figure 1, the map of the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, urban area shows that half-mile school buffers cover most of the area, and most of the buffers overlap at least a portion of another buffer. Figure 2 shows Bartow County, Georgia, a metropolitan county outside of the urban area of Atlanta. Few of the buffers in this map are connected. Schools are mostly on the edge of, but not in, areas of high road network density. Figure 3 shows rural Frontier County, Nebraska; only 1 buffer appears on this map. The school is in the middle of the largest town on the map, and the buffer almost entirely covers the town's network of streets. The smaller pattern of streets several miles away is a small town with no local school.

Bottom Line: The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is designed to encourage active and safe transportation for children to school.An estimated 65.5 million people in urban areas could benefit from SRTS projects.Investment in SRTS can contribute to increased physical activity among children and adults.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC, 4770 Buford Highway, Mailstop K-55, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA. MWatson2@cdc.gov

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is designed to encourage active and safe transportation for children to school. This report examines the potential broader impact of these programs on communities within 0.5 mile (0.8 km) of schools.

Methods: We used a geographic information system to generate estimates of the land area within 0.5 mile of public schools in 4 U.S. Census-defined categories: 37 large urban areas, 428 small urban areas, 1088 metropolitan counties (counties in metropolitan statistical areas excluding the urban areas), and 2048 nonmetropolitan counties. We estimated population at the county level or at the U.S. Census-defined urban-area level using data from the 2000 U.S. Census.

Results: In large urban areas, 39.0% of the land area was within 0.5 mile of a public school, and in small urban areas, 26.5% of the land area was within 0.5 mile of a public school. An estimated 65.5 million people in urban areas could benefit from SRTS projects. In nonurban areas, 1% or less of land is within 0.5 mile of a public school.

Conclusion: Results suggest that SRTS projects in urban areas can improve the walking and bicycling environment for adults as well as for children, the target users. Investment in SRTS can contribute to increased physical activity among children and adults.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus