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Safe Routes to School application period begins

Program advances community projects to help students walk, bike and roll

With students soon to be trading swim bags for backpacks, the Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that applications for the Safe Routes to School program are now being accepted. The program helps to support projects that make walking, biking and rolling to school a safe option for students as part of a commitment by IDOT and Gov. JB Pritzker to expand active transportation throughout the state.

“Establishing early habits of walking, biking or rolling to school helps students maintain a healthier lifestyle as they get older,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “We take great pride in this program, which helps ensure that every student in Illinois has a safe, convenient and healthy way to get to school.”

Administered by IDOT using federal funds, Safe Routes to School advances projects that improve safety and reduce traffic in areas around schools, grades kindergarten through high school. The new grant cycle will distribute a total of $6 million, with a maximum award of $250,000. Projects may include new sidewalks, traffic-calming measures and improvements that increase accessibility for those with disabilities. Successful applications will demonstrate how the projects encourage students to walk, bike or roll.

Eligible applicants include school districts, local governments, planning organizations and nonprofit associations. Preference will be given to schools with higher percentages of low-income students and students with disabilities.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 2, with awards to be announced in the spring.

For more information on the program, including selection criteria and details on how to register for webinars to assist in the application process, visit the Safe Routes to School homepage at or email

The grant opportunity is another effort by IDOT under Gov. Pritzker to grow and enhance active transportation in Illinois communities. Under the last Safe Routes to School funding cycle, IDOT awarded more than $12 million to support 50 projects statewide.

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