History of MnSRTS
Minnesota has a healthy and growing SRTS movement. Since the first federal funds were allocated to MnSRTS initiatives in 2005, programs across the state have positively impacted students’ ability to walk and bike to school: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota’s Center for Prevention (BCBSMN) and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership partnered to form the MnSRTS Network; local public health staff began using Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) funding to implement SRTS and active living initiatives; MnDOT created the SRTS Steering Committee to guide the work; the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), MnDOT, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN), and BCBSMN developed the Walk! Bike! Fun! Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Curriculum; the MnSRTS Resource Center was created; and the first Five-Year Strategic Plan was completed and implemented.
As of June 2020, nearly 500 schools have received funding through MnDOT planning, infrastructure, or program grants. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) supports local public health agencies and their partners throughout the state in initiating and implementing SRTS work as a component of SHIP, which funds work to increase access to physical activity opportunities. Nearly 75% of SHIP grantees are working on SRTS specifically, with partner sites reaching over 130,000 people. Additionally, 95% of SHIP grantees are working on general walking and biking strategies with 294 partner sites impacting almost 4.5 million people across Minnesota. These broader active transportation efforts support and reinforce the work happening with Safe Routes in schools.
Thanks in part to MnDOT and MDH efforts and funding opportunities, many Minnesota schools and school districts are actively participating in SRTS on some level. At the local level, there are countless champions who make the SRTS movement a reality, including parents, teachers, school administrators, local public health staff, transportation professionals, elected officials, community members, local and state advocates, and public safety officials.