Published: January 2017

ID #: CAS033

Publisher: Harvard Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Authors: Cradock AL, Barrett JL, Wei E, Otis B, Pipito A

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Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs in multiple states have adopted several approaches to reduce barriers faced by schools in low-income communities in applying for and implementing a SRTS award. This study aimed to determine which of these practices for equitable funding were successful in promoting SRTS implementation within vulnerable communities. To assess state practices, researchers collected award data for the years of 2005 to 2015 from the National Center for Safe Routes to School State Project List, sent web-based surveys to individual state-level respondents (n=28), and conducted follow-up interviews with a sample of state coordinators (n=11). Researchers identified 16 states as “noteworthy” as they reported using a number of practices for equitable distribution of funds, or awarded projects to low-income schools at a rate higher than expected during more than one funding cycle. Awareness and education, provision of funding match, point priority, project administration services, and engineering services were the identified practices most frequently reported by states that were successful in funding low-income communities. This study suggests that multiple practices can help ensure that low-income schools and communities are encouraged to apply for awards, that these applications have a likelihood of success, and that implementation of projects in low-income communities receive project administrative and engineering support and services.

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