If you’re my age, you probably walked or biked to school- it was a basic part of our culture. Unfortunately the tradition has been lost (for now). In 1969 half of all kids walked or bicycled to and from school and almost 90% of kids that lived within a mile of school walked or biked. Today only 15% of kids walk or bike, and the number of trips made by cars has skyrocketed (I’m guilty with my kids too).
We’re trying to change that. We just launched our new online assessment tool called the Active School Neighborhood Checklist as a first step. We’re partnering with the Arizona Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School Program to develop a tool that generates a score which represents the walkability, bikeability and safety of schools. The results of this assessment will help communities, school facilities professionals, schools, and city officials identify barriers that prevent students from walking and biking to school each day and create solutions to encourage neighborhoods to be more physically active.
Many thanks go to the WIC Information Technology team for creating this first-of-its-kind instrument. We’re very proud of its partnership with ADOTs Safe Routes to School Program — a key connection between the built environment and health.