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National Center for Safe Routes to School Merits Harvard Award
The National Center for Safe Routes to School (National Center) has received a Bright Ideas in Government award from Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation for its work in engaging communities in data collection and information-driven decision making.
The National Center exists to help states and communities enable and encourage children to walk and bicycle to school safely. Operating out of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, it also acts as the information clearinghouse for the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. GHSA serves on its Advisory Committee.
Harvard’s Bright Ideas in Government award recognizes the National Center for providing communities with resources that makes the collection and analysis of school travel information easy and useful at all project stages. Hundreds of local SRTS programs and thousands of schools currently utilize these resources.
These resources offer benefits at the local, state and national levels. The information collected helps local communities guide their SRTS planning process. Participation in data collection efforts allowed states to apply for and receive SRTS funds. Nationally, the data service allows users to identify trends, share successful practices, and support research.
National Center for Safe Routes to School director Lauren Marchetti acknowledges the local and state organizers who helped contribute to the efforts: “The Bright Idea in Government award is a tremendous honor for the National Center, and the data system would not have been successful without [their] fundamental desire … to make data-driven program decisions.”
Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Awards Program launched the Bright Ideas in Government award in 2010 to recognize and promote creative government initiatives and partnerships and create an online community where innovative ideas can be proposed, shared, and disseminated. Winners are selected by a team of policy experts from academic and public sectors.