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"Walk and Roll" Program and Healthy Kids – Safe Streets Action Plan

Building a Generation of Safe and Healthy Walkers, Bicycle and Bus Riders

An essential function of the Thurston Regional Planning Council is the implementation of the Thurston Regional Transportation Plan.  Since 1993 that plan and TRPC members have had a keen interest in the role that trip reduction to and around schools plays in reaching plan goals for a transportation network that serves all modes of travel and functions safely and efficiently.


  • Build a generation of safe and healthy walkers, bicycle riders, and bus riders
  • Encourage regular physical activity to promote health and readiness to learn
  • Reinforce good traffic safety skills

Achieving these goals will:

  • Reduce the numbers of students driven to school 
  • Relieve traffic around schools
  • Promote safety

The Healthy Kids – Safe Streets Action Plan

The Healthy Kids – Safe Streets Action Plan is the result of regional school and community stakeholder ideas and Walk and Roll demonstration project findings.  The plan identifies strategies, programs and policies that address school, transportation and community health issues.

The Healthy Kids - Safe Streets Action Plan includes:

  1. A "Walk and Roll" school based encouragement and safety education project - available in 4 schools - that will expand to at least 8 schools before the end of the school year. Federal and State grants are making expansion possible thanks to the work of partners Thurston Regional Planning Council, Intercity Transit, and Thurston County Health & Social Services. The first 3 school programs reached more than 900 student and their families. By the end of 2012 that figure will more than triple.

Program Elements

Walk & Roll Education and Encouragement programs are supported through partnerships and grants and include:

  • School year program planning for daily or weekly participation in school challenges for walking, biking or riding the bus to school
  • Baseline and follow-up surveys to track modes of travel before and during the Walk & Roll program
  • Preparation and dissemination of walk route maps (including safe travel tips for students and safe driving tips for parents)
  • Identification of priority safety improvements around schools and partner participation in opportunities to address these
  • Monthly flyers with safety and encouragement information, reports on in-school and cross-school challenges and incentives, as well as prize information to encourage participation
  • Special "meet and walk events" usually led by school principals
  • Guest speakers and assemblies that excite and encourage student participation
  • Pace Car program (pledges and bumper stickers that raise awareness among drivers - promoting safety and clean air initiatives)
  • Bike rodeos that teach and practice safe bike riding

Additional programs are available with the support of special grants. These include:

  • Bike Partners program where students earn a refurbished bike by completing a basic bike maintenance and safe riding program
  • Special hands-on curriculum and field trip programs that engage students in transportation issues

Each year the above information or programs have reached over 3,000 students and their families.

"Did you know that walking to school is associated with higher overall physical activity throughout the day and better academic performance." Source: American Journal of Preventative Medicine and California Department of Education

  1. A Healthy Kids - Safe Streets Coordination Team with representatives of each school district or jurisdiciton will:
    • Serve as the point of contact to share information,
    • Communicate and collaborate to maximize opportunity related to the siting and design of schools and other infrastructure improvements, and
    • Work to include policies in plans that help to achieve the regional partner goals.

Action Plan Next Steps: The action plan will be reviewed by stakeholder groups including school districts and jurisdictions. Commitment by stakeholders will be sought in order to implement the strategies, programs and policies identified. 

For information or to schedule a presentation contact Kathy McCormick ( or call


Healthy Kids Safe Streets Action Plan [pdf 2 MB]

Healthy Kids Safe Streets Appendix A - Draft School District and Local Plan Policy Recommendations [pdf 132 KB]

Healthy Kids Safe Streets Appendix B - Examples of Action Initiatives, Policies and Programs from Other Areas [pdf 82 KB]

Healthy Kids Safe Streets Appendix C - Planning for Schools & Liveable Communities – The Oregon School Siting Handbook - Recommendations [pdf 379 KB]

Healthy Kids Safe Streets Appendix D - Barriers to Walking and Bicycling to School (National Safe Routes to School Survey and Result of March 2010 Walk and Roll local school survey) [pdf 497 KB]

Healthy Kids Safe Streets Appendix E - Did You Know…. Statistics and Information Regarding Student Health, Safety and Readiness to Learn [pdf 69 KB]

Healthy Kids Safe Streets Appendix F - Summary of Ideas from fall 2009 – “Why Can’t Kids Walk and Bike to School – A Policy Maker Discussion and Brainstorming Session”  [pdf 285 KB]

Why Can't Kids Walk and Bike to School Presentation [pdf 569 KB]

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Did You Know...

By the end of the program’s first year 57% of students were walking or biking to school and only 17% arrived by car. At the beginning of the year 47% of students arrived by car and only 24% walked or cycled.

During the second year of the Walk & roll program at Peter G. Schmidt Elementary, walk and bike trips to school increased from 10% of students to 23% of students on event days.

25% of peak hour traffic is parents dropping students off at school.

50% of students living within a half mile of school are being driven to school.

If you have any questions about the regions Walk & Roll program contact 
Paul Brewster at or

@2010 Thurston Regional Planning Council. All Rights Reserved. Contact with questions regarding this site.
2424 Heritage Court SW, Suite A, Olympia, Washington 98502 360-956-7575