Dec 12, 2015 12:05 PM

Study examines impact of safe school routes program

The Associated Press

KEENE — Several communities in the area are taking a closer look at a nationwide program that encourages children to bike or walk to school.

The Southwest Regional Planning Commission and other partners are examining the impact of the National Safe Routes to School program, which has been implemented in Keene and Marlborough and is being developed in Hinsdale. The commission, along with the Healthy Monadnock organization and Antioch University New England, is surveying students and has created an index measuring 14 levels of school participation.

Initial results from one Keene elementary school show that the percentage of students who walked to school increased from 11 percent to 26 percent in the five years since the program started. Officials say they want to ensure school officials can make informed decisions about the program.

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