Program evaluations can build support from schools, parents, elected officials, and others. The data can be summarized in a newsletter or brochure or included in Back-to-School Blitz materials.
There are many different education, encouragement, and enforcement programs that can be implemented in a school environment to help increase the number of students walking and biking to school. Not every program is the correct fit for every school. It is important to evaluate programs in the context of their environment prior to making programmatic decisions. Once the new or existing programs have been implemented, it is necessary to evaluate the program to determine its effectiveness, including what worked and what did not.
Data can tell the story of how activities and events can encourage walking, bicycling, carpooling, and riding the bus. The Evaluating School Commute Programs Guidebooks suggests strategies for gathering information to evaluate program effectiveness.
The Marin 10-Year Evaluation Report shows a decrease in driving in a family vehicle and an increase in walking, carpooling, and riding a school bus from Fall 2008 to Spring 2011. Some individual schools had even higher mode shifts – Old Mill and Tam Valley elementary schools in Mill Valley and Bacich Elementary in Kentfield - experienced an increase in green trips by more than 20 percent. The evaluation also found that schools that participated in at least two Safe Routes programs saw an average increase of six percent in green trips, while schools with little or no participation showed a decrease in green trips.
The Alameda County Safe Routes to School Program 2011-2012 Year-End Report summarizes the activities conducted during the school year and presents the progress that was made in encouraging students to use alternative modes to driving alone with their families.
San Francisco Safe Routes to School produced a Guide to Conducting a Student Commute Study, which discusses a San Francisco Unified School District study of student commute patterns, which was used to monitor the influence of the new school-assignment policy and efficacy of Safe Routes to School programming.