Safe Routes to School

The Safe Routes to School Programme is designed to encourage as many pupils and students as possible in primary and post-primary schools to walk and cycle. It has three aims:

  1. To accelerate the delivery of walking/scooting and cycling infrastructure on key access routes to schools.
  2. To provide “front of school” treatments which will enhance access to your school grounds.
  3. To expand the amount of bike parking available at schools.

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programme launched in March 2021 and was open to all schools in Ireland to apply for active travel funding and delivery. The programme is an initiative of the Department of Transport and supported by the Department of Education. It is operated by the Green-Schools Programme in partnership with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the local authorities.

Please note: applications are now closed.

Download the Safe Routes to School Design Guide below:

The aim of this guide is to provide technical guidance on design principles and considerations that will enable Local Authorities, in conjunction with Green-Schools, to create safer, calmer, more attractive routes to school and front of school environments. The guide also aims to provide designers with a set of design concepts and ideas, and precedent examples of schemes that have successfully enhanced sustainable access to school.

Safe Routes to School Design Guide

Map of Schools Registered with Safe Routes to School

Download the Safe Routes to School Brochure (pdf)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programme was developed in response to ongoing issues of safety and congestion at the school gate and on routes to school. The programme aims to support active travel to school (walking and cycling) by offering schools the opportunity to:

  • Improve safety at the school gate by providing ‘front of school’ treatments to alleviate congestion and improve access;
  • Improve access routes to school by improving walking and cycling infrastructure;
  • Increase the number of students who cycle to school by expanding the amount of cycle parking.

The programme is funded by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority. An Taisce Green-Schools coordinates the programme and a dedicated Infrastructure Officer will work with schools and the local authorities during the process.

The Departments of Transport and Education sent every school principal a letter about the programme in March 2021. The letter included a link to an online Expression of Interest (EOI) form for the principal or appropriate staff member to complete. The EOI form was reviewed by the SRTS Team who then selected schools for the first round of the programme in 2021.

The programme was open to all schools and various criteria was used to select schools for participation in the programme for 2021, including:

  • Mix of school type – primary, post-primary, other;
  • Mix of location – urban (village, town, city), suburban, rural;
  • Socio-economic mix – non-DEIS, DEIS schools;
  • School’s commitment to sustainable travel – (a) the school is interested in promoting walking and cycling to school or b) has already demonstrated a commitment to walking, cycling and other active modes by running initiatives such as: Walk on Wednesday, Scoot on Wednesday, Cycle on Wednesday, Cycle Bus, Park ‘n’ Stride etc.; and
  • Cluster of schools – if schools are located on the same campus or street/section of road.

Information supplied by each Local Authority regarding any relevant infrastructure plans was also considered.

SRTS will have a dedicated Infrastructure Officer who will work with selected schools during the programme. The programme stages are summarised below. You are now at Stage 4 in the process and an SRTS Infrastructure Officers will contact your school and set up the liaison with you and the relevant Local Authority.

  • Stage 1: Dissemination – An invitation for participation into the programme by the Department of Education and Department of Transport was sent to all schools nationwide. This invitation took the form of an Expression of Interest (EOI)
  • Stage 2: Expression of Interest – Schools were asked to complete and submit the EOI to SRTS.
  • Stage 3: Selection – A selection process took place based on a number of agreed criteria (see Question 4 above).
  • Stage 4: Communication & Liaison – Selected schools and Local Authorities are informed by SRTS. SRTS will then liaise with selected schools and the relevant local authorities on infrastructural inventions for their schools.
  • Stage 5: Interventions – SRTS will work with the Local Authorities and schools to produce an outline delivery plan for each school showing interventions at concept design stage.
  • Stage 6: Submission – This delivery plan will be submitted by SRTS to local authorities to take forward for further design and implementation. Local Authorities can access dedicated funding from the NTA for the projects.
  • Stage 7 Community Support – The school involved will act as a local champion of the proposed measures to ensure community buy-in for the proposals. Support will be provided by SRTS.
  • Stage 8: Delivery – Local authorities will undertake proposed interventions in relation to the front of school environs and walking and cycling infrastructure around schools to be funded by the NTA. SRTS will deliver cycle parking directly to schools.

The programme received expressions of interest from 932 schools, almost one in four schools in the state. 170 schools were notified in June 2021 that they are part of the first round of funding for SRTS.  This selection process is detailed above.

As all schemes at schools cannot not progress at the same pace through design, planning processes, procurement and delivery, subsequent schools will be engaged with on a rolling basis in each Local Authority.  Schools that are not in Round One will be contacted by SRTS Infrastructure Officers at the appropriate stage to commence engagement. Funding for the rolling programme will be provided from the €1.8 billion for walking and cycling infrastructure committed under the Programme for Government.

In order to speed up delivery of active travel projects such the SRTS programme, the Department of Transport announced 248 additional posts to develop Active Travel Teams in all Local Authorities in January 2021.

A review of the programme will be conducted next year at which time any future calls for participation will be assessed.  Schools can continue to contact their Local Authority if they have particular issues they wish to address.

You can find a list of schools selected for Round One engagement with Safe Routes to School here.

If you wish to find out more information about the programme please contact SRTS via email at: saferoutestoschool@greenschoolsireland.org

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