Record-Breaking Number of Communities Step Out on National Walk to School Day

More than 5,100 schools celebrate the benefits of walking to school and rally for change

(October 4, 2017) – Today, tens of thousands of people across the country are joining together in celebration of National Walk to School Day.

Students, parents, school and community members, mayors, and other local and state officials nationwide will walk to school to promote active and safe transportation to schools and other community destinations. Over 5,100 schools in all 50 states and Washington D.C., have registered Walk to School Day events on walkbiketoschool.org, and the total number of events is expected to grow as celebrations continue throughout October, which is Walk to School Month.

The annual event highlights the benefits of walking and the priority for safety, offering communities and elected officials a chance to highlight the importance of safe options for walking or biking for the trip to school and beyond.

 “Walk to School Day is a chance for community leaders, families and school officials to come together and show support for safe walking and bicycling in their communities. Some communities are using their events to start dialogues about improving safety for all ages of pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Nancy Pullen-Seufert, Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the coordinating agency for Walk to School Day. “We’re so inspired by the continuous growth of this event and the support from communities and local leaders.”

Walk to School Day began in 1997 and that year, two mayors, Chicago Mayor Daley and Los Angeles Mayor Riordan, led the first events. Two decades later, over 60,000 events have been held across the country, and mayors continue to be an important part of the celebration.  More than 1,600 mayors and local officials across the country have been invited to participate in this year’s event, and many will express their commitment to physical activity and creating places where children and youth can safely walk and bike.

Walk to School events often take advantage of recent pedestrian safety improvements around communities. In Columbus, Ind., students are using a recent connection to a larger trail system near their school for their event, and in Inverness, Fla., students will take advantage of a reduction in traffic lanes along a busy road for their celebration. For places where students and families can’t walk from home or who just want to walk together, like in Montgomery, Ill., Brooklyn, Ohio, and Phoenix, Ariz., communities gather at remote meeting points to walk together to school.  

To learn more about Walk to School Day 2017, and locations of registered U.S. schools participating in the event, visit walktoschool.org.

National Center for Safe Routes to School

Established in 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School helps communities change their culture around safe and active travel.  Its role includes national coordination and technical assistance for U.S. Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day, and providing tools, training, research and evaluation for safe walking and bicycling for children and youth.  The National Center for Safe Routes to School served as U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s clearinghouse for the federal SRTS program for eleven years.

 Media contact

Colleen Oliver
National Center for Safe Routes to School
919-962-7769 
oliver@hsrc.unc.edu