Each October since 2013, Arlington Public Schools has conducted a system-wide, in-class survey of how students in grades K-10 travel to and from school. Managed by the APS Safe Routes to School office on behalf of APS GO!, this annual Student Travel Tally helps APS assess current transportation needs, recommend infrastructure improvements, and develop a long-term transportation plan that promotes smart, sustainable choices for students, families, and staff.
This year’s Student Travel Tally is being conducted over two weeks, Oct. 15-19 and Oct. 22-26 (Barcroft: Oct. 29-Nov. 2 and Nov. 5-9). Elementary homeroom teachers and secondary Health/Physical Education teachers conduct the counts for two days during the tally period, asking students how they traveled to school that morning and how they will travel home that afternoon. Choices include walk, bike, school bus, family vehicle, carpool, public transit, and other (skateboard, scooter, etc.) Teachers then log the numbers on tally sheets and submit to Safe Routes to School for data entry and upload.
The data generated by these annual Student Travel Tally counts provides APS with valuable information on student travel patterns. In 2014, data resulting from the Student Travel Tally counts revealed that 22 percent of students were walking and biking to school. Based on that data, APS GO! set a goal of 30 percent walking and biking by 2021. The data collected this year provides both a system-wide and school-by-school snapshot for the current school year and a way to measure progress toward that 30 percent walk/bike goal, from 2013 to present.
The deadline for schools to submit all 2018 Student Travel Tallies is Mon, Oct. 29 (Barcroft: Fri, Nov. 9).
APS GO!, is a community-wide, sch ool-driven process that raises awareness and provides incentives, information and encouragement related to walking, biking, transit, car/vanpooling and school busing. The program, the first initiative of its kind in the country, focuses on the transportation needs of all students and staff while also considering the broader interests of the communities located around APS sites, as part of the school district’s efforts to proactively assess the needs of the community, respond to growth and demand, and develop forward-thinking transportation programs.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national program that works to make it safer and easier for students to walk or bike to school. SRTS programs examine conditions around schools and conduct projects and activities that encourage active transportation while working to improve safety, enhance accessibility, and reduce traffic in the vicinity of schools. APS’ SRTS program is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation.