History of Safe Routes to School
Palm Bay Elementary, Palm Bay, FL.
The safe routes to school (SRTS) concept began in the 1970s in Odense, Denmark, rooted in concern for the safety of children walking and bicycling to school. 
The SRTS concept spread internationally, with programs developing in other parts of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. The Bronx, a borough of New York City, started the first SRTS program in the United States in 1997. In the same year, the State of Florida implemented a pilot program. In August of 2000, the U.S. Congress funded two SRTS pilot projects through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Within a year of the launch of the pilot projects, many other grassroots SRTS efforts began throughout the United States.
Success with the pilot projects generated interest in a federally funded national program. In 2003, advocates convened meetings with experts in pedestrian and bicycle issues to talk about SRTS issues and ideas for developing a national program. Momentum for a national SRTS program in the United States continued to build as several states developed their own programs.
Congress created the Federal-Aid Safe Routes to School Program in 2005 through comprehensive transportation legislation. As of January 2011, more than 10,000 schools had been included in announcements of SRTS funds as part of the Federal program.