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

See more related research


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.

Related Research

February 2016

Examining Best Practices in Promoting Access to Safe Routes to School Programs in Vulnerable Communities

The purpose of this project is to determine which state Safe Routes to School (SRTS) equity funding best practice processes and procedures best facilitate applications and awards in vulnerable communities. Researchers will document SRTS equity funding best practices used in each state and use national data on awards to schools between 2006 and 2015 to More

February 2023

Rapid Health Impact Assessment on Changes to School Nutrition Standards to Align with 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The national school breakfast and lunch programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are cornerstone federal nutrition assistance programs. School meals are one of the healthiest sources of foods for school-age children, which is significant as some children receive up to half of their daily calories at school. Policy opportunities in 2023 More

November 2022

Promising Strategies to Increase Student Participation in School Meals

School meal programs play a critical role in feeding children. Meals served in school are generally of better nutritional quality than those that students bring from home and have been linked to improved academic performance and household food security. The aim of this research brief is to highlight and summarize rigorous evidence from a new More