In Michigan, as we continue to adapt our program to meet new needs, we want to note upcoming changes we are adopting and how those changes fit into your community.
As of June 2020, the Safe Routes National Partnership announced changes to the 6 Es framework that have long summarized the key components of the organization’s comprehensive, integrated approach.
Newly adding ‘Engagement’ which is now the first E, followed by ‘Equity’ being lifted to the second E.
With these changes, the Six Es framework in Michigan is now as follows:
- ENGAGEMENT –All Safe Routes to School initiatives should begin by listening to students, families, teachers, school leaders, municipal staff, and working with existing community organizations and neighborhood residents, to build intentional, ongoing engagement opportunities into the program structure.
- EQUITY – Ensuring that Safe Routes to School initiatives are benefiting all demographic groups, with particular attention to ensuring safe, healthy, and fair outcomes for low-income students, students of color, students of all genders, students with disabilities, and others.
- ENGINEERING – Creating physical improvements to streets and neighborhoods that make walking and bicycling safer, more comfortable, and more convenient.
- ENCOURAGEMENT – Generating enthusiasm and increased walking and bicycling for students through events, activities, and programs.
- EDUCATION – Providing students and the community with the skills to walk and bicycle safely, educating them about the benefits of walking and bicycling, and teaching them about the broad range of transportation choices.
- EVALUATION – Assessing which approaches are more or less successful, ensuring that programs and initiatives are supporting equitable outcomes, and identifying unintended consequences or opportunities to improve the effectiveness of each approach.
Engaging Diverse Communities
Open, honest dialogue with community members and organizations has always been the bedrock of Safe Routes to School planning and initiatives in Michigan. As always, we remain committed to bringing a diverse cross-section of people to the table and listening to each and every voice. We will continue to serve the communities we work within the ways that they feel are most effective and beneficial. While Enforcement may not be listed in the “Es” framework, law enforcement remains one of the many potential stakeholders that SRTS organizers consider as they initiate engagement, depending on their specific community needs.
The Safe Routes National Partnership’s decision to modify the 6 Es comes on the heels of the growing awareness that steps need to be taken to address the issues and unfair structural systems affecting the safe and healthy movement of Black people, indigenous people, and people of color. For many years, the Safe Routes National Partnership has made it a priority to earnestly examine how to support social justice and racial equity and will continue to do so.
For more than 15 years, Safe Routes to School Michigan has enjoyed creating relationships with school administrators, teachers, transportation professionals, students, and families. We know that when kids walk, bike or wheel to school they are healthier in body and mind. We know that Safe Routes to School has been instrumental in building and nurturing community bonds. Moving forward, it is our intention to continue to uplift people — of all ages, races, ethnicities, incomes, and abilities.