260957 Communities putting prevention to work by creating safe routes to school: A case study in Santa Clara County, California

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Travis Smith , Public Health Department, Santa Clara County, San Jose, CA
Mariah Lafleur, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Rajni Banthia, PhD , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Whitney Webber, MS , Epidemiology & Data Management Unit, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, San Jose, CA
Alice Kagawachi, RD, MPH , Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Unit, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, San Jose, CA
Susan Stuart, MA, MPH , Center for Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, San Jose, CA
Ellen Corman, MRA , Trauma Service, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Stanford, CA
Susan Lowry, MPH , ., Santa Clara County Public Health Department, San Jose, CA
Eileen Hoover, RN, MS , Trauma Administration, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, CA
Using active forms of transportation to travel to and from school is a key way that children can get their daily dose of physical activity and ultimately prevent obesity, reduce air pollution, and lower rates of related chronic disease. Unfortunately, for many children it is not safe or even possible to walk or bike to school. As part of the CPPW initiative in Santa Clara, cities in the county were urged to develop policies that promote Safe Routes to School (SRTS).

As part of the CPPW evaluation, the policy development process was analyzed and observational assessments were conducted to examine environmental/infrastructural support or challenges around schools. As a community engagement strategy, parent and community volunteers were recruited and trained to conduct the observational assessments which consisted of counting individuals utilizing bike and pedestrian pathways around schools during peak times, categorizing environmental factors affecting walking and biking around schools, and collecting self-reported student data on transportation to and from school.

With CPPW and community support, we are in process of working with several cities to develop policies to promote active transportation such as complete streets legislation, corridor zoning, and SRTS resolutions. Preliminary findings from the environmental assessments suggest that engaging the community in the process and analysis is crucial for success and sustainability.

Using policy to improve the built environment, remove barriers, and facilitate active transport is an important vehicle for increasing access to physical activity. Community engagement is also an essential strategy for building support for these measures.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify barriers for using active forms of transportation near schools. 2. Understand environmental factors that support safe routes to school efforts. 3. Describe policy strategies for making it safer for students to walk or bike to school.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working on built environment change strategies to decrease obesity throughout Santa Clara County for six years. I have provided key support on Santa Clara County’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) obesity prevention initiative, including support for jurisdictions and school districts that are pursuing transportation policies. This work has included engaging decision makers, community stakeholders, and communicating the critical importance of these policies as it relates to health prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.