Safe Routes to School Racial Equity Analysis

Español | Tiếng Việt | 繁體中文 | Soomaali | Tagalog | Oromiffa | በአማርኛ | ትግርኛ

Racial Equity Vision

Our vision is for Seattle school children to start their day experiencing the benefits of walking and biking to school, including:

  • Having fun
  • Feeling safe
  • Strengthening connections to their communities
  • Arriving to school in time for breakfast and ready to learn
  • Improved physical and mental health

To support Seattle's effort to end institutionalized racism and build a more equitable city, we are focused on students in these groups: communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant and refugee communities, people with disabilities, people experience homelessness or housing insecurity, the LGBTQ community, and girls.

Progress Updates

The FINAL Safe Routes to School Racial Equity Analysis is now available. Click Here to view the document.

In 2018 the Safe Routes to School Team:

  • Created a Safe Routes to School Racial Equity Survey that addresses the barriers that students of color face when walking and biking to school. The survey is in 9 languages, and can be found online, in your mailboxes, and at community pop-up events
  • Partnered with 10 schools serving at least 85% students of color to promote the Racial Equity Survey and to conduct in-depth conversations with students and families about the lived experiences and challenges of getting to and from school
  • Attended over 50 community events catered specifically for communities of color, immigrants, and refugees
  • Partnered with nearly 40 community organizations to promote the Racial Equity Survey, and conducted focused outreach such as focus groups and coffee chats at over 10 community organizations
  • Received over 3,000 survey responses from guardians and high school students in the 2017-2018 school year
  • Refined our survey outreach practices to make survey participation is more accessible and equitable for the second round of surveying in the fall of 2018

Racial Equity Analysis Process

Over the next year, our racial equity analysis will:


Analyze data on how we have served communities in the past.


Involve people impacted by our program through conversations and surveys.

In addition to nearly 40 community organizations, we are partnering with the following schools based on their students' racial and language diversity:

  • Aki Kurose Middle Schoole
  • Bailey Gatzert Elementary
  • Concord Elementary
  • Dearborn Park Elementary
  • Dunlap Elementary
  • Rainier Beach High School
  • West Seattle Elementary
  • Wing Luke Elementary

Winter 2019

Partner with communities of color to develop new strategies to reach our racial equity vision. Identify evaluation metrics to measure our progress toward this vision.

Spring 2019

Report back to communities.

Why does the Safe Routes to School Racial Equity Analysis matter?

This work directly addresses attendance rates for students of color because many of Seattle’s students do not have access to school buses. Actively commuting to school is also linked to greater academic success, and improved physical and mental health.

Student walk and bike rates have sharply declined while youth obesity has almost quadrupled in the last four decades; this has disproportionately affected communities of color.

  • Black and Latino children have higher obesity rates and tend to have the least access to parks, playgrounds, or walkable streets
  • Nearly ¼ of Black youth are getting less than the recommended hour of daily physical activity, compared to 13% of White youth
  • In Seattle, schools with high percentages of students of color have lower walking and biking rates than schools with less than 50% students of color

Active commuting to school has lasting health benefits and can decrease the risk for youth obesity which is linked to:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Stroke

Increased physical activity can also lead to improved mental and physical health and academic achievement.


Happy kid on bike with adult helpingThe Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is a citywide effort to end institutional racism and race-based disparities in City government. The Racial Equity Toolkit (RET) lays out a formal process and a set of questions to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies, initiatives, programs, and budget issues to address the impacts on racial equity.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a local, state, and national movement to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike to and from school. The Seattle Department of Transportation uses a combination of strategies to achieve this goal:

  • Education: ensuring that everyone learns how to travel safely
  • Encouragement: promoting walking and biking in the school community
  • Engineering: building projects like new sidewalks, safer crosswalks, and improved streets for biking
  • Enforcement: partnering with the Seattle Police Department to enforce traffic safety laws
  • Evaluation: tracking progress toward our shared safety goals
  • Empowerment: providing resources to school champions


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from Transportation

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.