Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School is an international movement to provide programs and infrastructure that encourage schoolchildren to ride bikes or walk to and from school. Read a history of the movement.

California has been at the forefront of this movement in the U.S. Marin County is one of the two original sites for a federally funded pilot program started in 1998. Later, the CBC sponsored the legislation that established California’s statewide Safe Routes to School program, the nation’s first.

Safe Routes to School in California

Separate state and federal Safe Routes to School programs serve California. Caltrans distributes Safe Routes funding from the Federal Highway Administration. The California state budget provides roughly an equal amount of funding for the state’s own Safe Routes to School program. Funds are distributed in the form of grants.

While both programs serve the same basic goal, they differ somewhat:

  • Targeted beneficiaries: The federal program targets children grades K-8. The state program targets children grades K-12.
  • Eligible applicants: The state program funds cities and counties only. The federal program funds state, local and regional agencies. Non-profit organizations, school districts, public health department and Native American tribes are eligible in partnership with a city, county, metropolitan planning organization or a regional transportation planning agency.
  • Local match: State-funded projects require a 10% local match. No match is required for federally funded projects.


National Center for Safe Routes to School
Information and technical assistance for Safe Routes to School programs nationwide, maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.

Safe Routes to School National Partnership
A network with more than 500 members devoted to advancing the Safe Routes to School movement in the U.S.

Caltrans Safe Routes to School Programs
Safe Routes to School grants (both federal and state) are administered in California by the Caltrans Office of Local Assistance.

Safe Routes to School Technical Assistance Resource Center
A program of the California Department of Public Health funded by a grant from Caltrans. The program provides technical assistance, training, and resource development for California’s current and potential Safe Routes non-infrastructure grantees.

Marin County Safe Routes to School Program
Managed by the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, this program provides training and technical assistance for establishing a local Safe Routes to School program.