How to get our kids to school safely? One route at a time

crosswalk at schoolNovember 2022 – With over 270 schools and over 224,000 students, Hillsborough County Public Schools is the seventh largest school district in the United States. That’s why the Hillsborough TPO and City of Tampa are looking at ways to save the lives of our youngest community members and their loved ones as they travel to and from school. The result of this effort is the Safe Routes to School Study.

Building upon a similar study from 2018, Safe Routes to School looks at the different ways the school district can improve transportation safety conditions around schools while implementing policies to encourage walking, biking, and busing. After researching surrounding conditions and surveying parents, caregivers and staff at eight schools, the project makes 84 recommendations. A few of them include:

  • Making sure sidewalks connect to bus stops serving each school
  • Refreshing crosswalk markings at intersections where students cross to get to school
  • Installing better signage to identify the location and route of car lines
  • Opening gated entrances during student entry and dismissal
  • More speed enforcement for reduced speed limits during school hours

Other tools schools can use

The Safe Routes to School Study also lists educational and encouragement strategies to encourage safe road behavior and programs that increase enthusiasm for walking and biking to school. Suggestions include back to school events and yard sign safety campaigns.

Tell us what you think!

The TPO Board will consider recommendations from the Safe Routes to School Study at its meeting on December 14, 2022 at 10 a.m. Visit to learn more about the ways we recommend students can travel more safely to school. And then share your thoughts or your own recommendations by contacting Lisa Silva, AICP, PLA at or 813-665-1329.

View the rest of this month's Connections to Tomorrow articles