Improving School Traffic Routes
BYU Students and Faculty Participate in Community Project
1. Dr. Robbie Chaney and his students take their education from the classroom to the streets with their two-year community project to create safe walking and biking routes to school for children in Utah.
Working together with the American Heart Association, UDOT, and the Utah PTA, the group works to identify schools in need of improvement and lobby for safer routes for schoolchildren.
From Goshen to Lehi, the group traveled all over Utah to collect qualitative data and photos of hazardous routes where dangers could arise, which data was sent to state legislators. After the data was collected, the students made infographics and gave a community presentation about their findings.Now, their main goal is to get on a city council meeting agenda, where they will advocate for funding and raise awareness for the safety problems.
Dr. Chaney said, “There are so many cases of kids who get hurt or killed on the way to school—and this is preventable. In a lot of cases, it’s an inexpensive fix. Installing a sidewalk or a flashing light will go a long way, they don’t have to redesign an entire road.”
When asked about what students can do to help in their own communities, Dr. Chaney said, “Students need to realize that they can make a difference in their local community now. Be an advocate, have a voice, and know who to talk to in order to make change happen.”
He continued, “You’ll be a community member somewhere someday, and you’ll have your own concerns; whether it be safe routes for your children, a better grocery store in your neighborhood, or getting hunters off a jogging trail. Figure out what’s a problem and who has the power to fix it. Rally support and create change.”