As I continue to work regionally, across two states and a federal district, I am always looking for opportunities where people are already collaborating beyond their own jurisdictional lines. The National Capital Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is the metropolitan planning organization for the Greater Washington, DC region. The TPB is supported by the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and I was able to speak with this group last week.
The CAC is charged with promoting public involvement in transportation planning and providing independent, region-oriented citizen advice to the TPB on transportation plans and issues. The group has representation from the all corners of the Greater Washington, DC region.
The CAC was very interested to hear about Safe Routes to School in the region and the progress at some schools of actually reducing driving trips to school. Many of the members are parents and naturally, the question of safety was a large concern. Luckily, Safe Routes to School helps to make children safer by encouraging walking school buses and bike trains as well as teaching them the rules of the road.
The group also wanted to understand school liability when students are walking and bicycling. I was able to point to Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia which adopted a policy that states it is the parents’ choice on how a student travels to school.
Overall, the CAC was very supportive of Safe Routes to School and I look forward to working with them in the future. It was a great opportunity to bring Safe Routes to School to the forefront and discuss the multiple benefits from health to trip reduction to improved air quality. Because of this presentation, there may be a future opportunity to bring all Safe Routes to School advocates and interested parties together from across the region. That would truly be regional collaboration!
For more information on the Greater Washington, DC network, please see our regional website.