The 4Es – Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation
Planning Activities that Address the 4 Es

What are your needs as far as students? Parents? The community? When planning for noninfrastructure activities – the 4 Es – begin by surveying parents. What is their level of support? What are their concerns? How can their concerns be addressed? Who are your champions? Do you need Encouragement events? Educational programs? Enforcement programs?

Encouragement

Encouragement activities are fun and provide families an opportunity to try out walking and biking to school.

Encouragement activities include:

  • increase the popularity of walking and biking,
  • are easy ways to start SRTS programs and
  • emphasize the fun of walking and biking.

Some popular Encouragement activities include:

Events are generally a single day celebration like International Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day. More than 50,000 Mississippi students participate in Walk to School events in October. National Bike to School Day is held in May. However, an event can be held any time of the year. Visit the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Walk to School website for event planning resources including sample letters, flyers, PSAs, ideas and so much more and Walk Bike to School.org to register your event.

A walking school bus and a bike train are fun and safe ways for children to walk or bike to school in a group accompanied by an adult. The concept addresses parent’s concerns about personal security while providing a chance for families to socialize. Walking school buses and bike trains can be formal with specific routes, times and leaders or informal. Click here for more information.

Route Map Promotion Maps that show safe walking routes can be distributed to families as a way to encourage walking and bicycling. Try to get the maps distributed regularly and posted on the school website. The local pizza restaurant in one small Mississippi town offered to attach route maps to pizza boxes that were delivered to most of houses in the town.

Individual Competitions, such as mileage clubs, encourage students to try a new behavior with an incentive to win prizes. Students track mileage and receive shoe tags or other tokens when they reach certain mileage goals. Frequent walker/biker programs are another type of program. Punch cards are a fun way to keep track of how often a child walks.

Contests encourage children to try a new behavior for rewards by having classes or schools compete against each other. Contests could have classes compete to see which class has the most walkers and bicyclists each month, or could have each student log how many steps they walk and compete to see who can walk across the U.S. first (distance tracking).

Education

Education activities are about teaching safety skills while creating safety awareness. These activities foster life-long safety habits. As you plan your strategies, remember to consider particular populations within your community that may require special attention - non-English speaking families; individuals that have difficulty walking, hearing or seeing; and low-income families.

In addition to pedestrian and bicycle safety, parents should be educated on personal security skills, safe driving near the school, and a clear understanding of school pick-up and drop-off procedures, especially when walkers and bikers are present.

Campaigns are a great way to educate within a community. Parents on the Porch, part of the Jackson Parents for Public Schools’ All Eyes on Me program, encourages parents and neighbors to keep a watchful, protective eye on children en route to school. (image) Education needs are specific to each community and must be addressed individually. In Greenwood, students preferred to walk side-by-side to the point that they stretched beyond the sidewalk and into the street. U+2, a campaign designed to address this issue, was developed to keep children on the sidewalk at all times. (Image) When students at one school became aware of a lot of phone use in the school zone, they created the successful OMG! R U txt & drvg? campaign.

Some TEACHING STRATEGIES include assemblies, classroom instruction, parent involvement, and individual skills practice. These “one-shot” methods can be more effective if the messages are reinforced throughout the year. One way to accomplish this is safety education taught in the classroom or PE. Poster contests are a way to challenge children to think about the meaning behind safety messages. One such contest is the Saris National 5th Grade Poster Contest.

In the classroom, SRTS education can be integrated into existing curricula. The Mississippi Department of Education's Office of Healthy Schools developed K - 8 lesson plans centered on the goals of the Safe Routes to School program and encourage students to safely walk and bicycle to school. Educators are provided the necessary resources to teach safe, healthy practices with lifelong benefits and along with new ways to fulfill the health instruction requirement. The lesson plans address the Common Core Standards, state frameworks for Health Education and Physical Education and are infused with other framework requirements such as Math. They have been used by teachers across the state to introduce students to active transportation choices and the value of being safe while walking and biking. The lesson plans are a part of Health in Action and can be accessed through the Move to Learn Mississippi website.

Safe Routes STARS are performing educators who visit classrooms statewide to teach pedestrian safety education and bicycle safety education while promoting safe walking and biking as fun, healthy ways to get to and from school safely. Each program includes:

  • classroom instruction
  • follow-up hands-on skills practice
  • outreach events for parents and communities

The program is free. By clicking here you may access more information about the program and request an event. You also may call 601-206-1559.

Bicycle rodeos teach children skills using stop signs, traffic cones and other props. Bicycle skills training offers a more comprehensive experience. Courses cover general safety skills, choosing where to ride, basic mechanics and on-road skills. They require an experienced instructor. Seek out local resources from local law enforcement or bicycle clubs. The Safe Routes STARS can stage a bicycle rodeo in your school or community. You may call 601-206-1559 to schedule an event.

Pedestrian Safer Journey and Bicycle Safer Journey, educational videos and learner assessments for ages 5 – 18, are available online and can be accessed when you’re ready. They're not meant to replace or serve as curriculum, but rather a way to jumpstart things. And kids like them!

Enforcement

In SRTS programs, the role of enforcement is to increase the safety of children bicycling and walking to school by helping to change unsafe behaviors of all roadway users. While much of enforcement is directed toward changing the behavior of drivers, it also includes improving the behaviors of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Just a 10 mph difference in speed can be critical for pedestrians and bicyclists. This is especially true for children and older pedestrians.

  • At 20 mph, the chance that a pedestrian will die if hit by a car is about 5%.
  • That chance increases to roughly 45% at 30 mph.
  • A pedestrian’s chance of death if hit by a motor vehicle traveling 40 mph increases to 85%.

Student safety patrols are an excellent example of a school enforcement effort. Older students can aid in enforcement of drop-off and pick-up procedures and safe pedestrian behavior on campus.

Having a student safety patrol program at a school provides opportunity for older students to be directly involved in promoting safety around their school.

Crossing guards can encourage driver compliance and safe pedestrian behavior at crosswalks near the school and, with the right credentials, can direct traffic. Well-trained adult crossing guards at key locations go a long way towards addressing parent concerns about pedestrian safety. All crossing guards should receive training. The Mississippi Department of Education developed a Crossing Guard Training Program and training materials available on their MDEs Pupil Transportation website.

Evaluation

Evaluation allows SRTS programs to track progress over time. The National Center for SRTS developed tools used across the country to collect data about how students get to school and parent attitudes about walking and bicycling. These tools include the Student Travel Tally and the Parent Survey. In addition to these data collection tools, the NCSRTS offers an online data system that provides tools to enter, update, view, and summarize data from their tally and survey forms.

For more information about Encouragement, Education and Enforcement strategies and the ins and outs about Evaluation, visit the National Center for Safe Routes to School’s SRTS Guide.