SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL TRAVEL PLAN
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is a federally funded program through the Department of Transportation for grades K-8 designed to inspire local action to initiate safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from schools.
The first step in developing your Safe Routes to School Program is to create a School Travel Plan (STP). The STP is a written document that outlines a community’s intentions for enabling students to engage in active transportation (i.e. walking or bicycling) as they travel to and from school. A comprehensive STP is created through a team-based approach that involves key community stakeholders and members of the public in both identifying barriers to active transportation. Used during this process are the 5 E's:
Once your School Travel Plan is developed and approved by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), your community will be able to apply for funding for infrastructure and non-infrastructure countermeasures to make walking and biking safer for students.
Infrastructure countermeasures identified in your School Travel Plan require certified cost estimates and are 100% federally funded from $200,000 to $500,000 per community. Cost overruns are the responsibility of the applicant. Non-infrastructure countermeasures, such as educational materials, are funding up to $20,000 for 1 - 10 schools. Funding cycles are on an annual basis, with applications due in March.
ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
Active transportation is human-powered transportation that engages people in healthy physical activity while they travel from place to place. People walking, bicycling, using strollers, wheelchairs/mobility devices, skateboarding, and rollerblading are engaged in active transportation.
An Active Transportation Plan (ATP) outlines the vision, goals and strategies needed to support increased walking, bicycling and other active modes of transportation. An ATP may be developed by a state, regional or local agency. It should identify a combination of programs, policies and physical improvements (such as new sidewalks or bicycle paths) that are needed to ensure the safety, comfort and convenience of active travel modes. The ATP might be one element of a broader planning process, such as a regional long-range transportation plan, or it might be a stand-alone document (sometimes also called a Bicycle/Pedestrian or Complete Streets Plan).
Community leaders in Williams County came together in late 2017 to create the Williams County Parks Committee. Members of the County Health Department, County Engineering staff, municipal representatives, as well as regional trail supporters and other County organizations formed the Committee in order to better connect parks throughout the County, share resources, and ultimately enhance amenities in Williams County while improving the overall quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Through meeting and discussing ideas, the Committee recognized the need for Active Transportation while planning for bicycle and pedestrian connectivity.
After recognizing the need for greater connectivity for non-motorized transportation, the committee enlisted the Maumee Valley Planning Organization to lead the development of an Active Transportation Plan for the County. The Plan identifies the vision and goals, documents the public involvement efforts that occurred during the planning process, provides information about existing conditions, analyzes where gaps exist through a needs assessment, outlines plan recommendations, and provides next steps in the form of implementation and evaluation items.
COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
The purpose of locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plans (coordinated plans) is to identify community resources for transportation and mobility, understand the gaps and unmet needs within those resources, and to determine the approach to addressing those gaps and unmet needs.
Federal law requires these plans to be developed and approved through a process that includes participation by seniors, individuals with disabilities, representatives of public, private, and nonprofit transportation and human services providers and other members of the public.
ODOT does not require any entity to produce a Coordinated Plans, but for small urban and rural areas of Ohio, ODOT makes 5310 project selections; therefore ODOT must ensure that projects' underlying Coordinated Plans are in compliance with Federal transit law. ODOT encourages coordinated plans that go beyond the requirements of Section 5310 funding to include analysis of needs and development projects to address the mobility needs of the general public.
The MVPO Mobility Management Program is working along area stakeholders to increase access to transportation. Visit www.nwomobility.com to see more on the coordination efforts.