Applications currently being accepted
The main objectives of the Safe Routes to School Program are:
The Safe Routes to School Program is a federally funded reimbursement program that was established in August 2005 by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). While previous legislation made the Safe Routes Program optional, the current legislation, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has reinstated it as a standalone program. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) had elected to continue funding the Safe Routes Program separately in previous years, ensuring that there has not been a gap in serving this important program need.
All applicants are now required to attend a MANDATORY Pre-Application Meeting in order to submit a Safe Routes project application. Applicants in the SJTPO region may schedule a Pre-Application Meeting by following this link.
Applications are due by November 17, 2023
How to Maximize Your Chances of Success
Applying for Safe Routes funding is time-consuming and involves multiple requirements, which means multiple ways to miss something and risk funding. However, there are ways to ensure your application does not get disqualified for simple mistakes and has the maximum opportunity to be considered for its merits. Here are some things to pay special attention to and to take advantage of to improve your chances of receiving Safe Routes funding.
Avoid Common Mistakes
- Your responsible charge must be a full-time public employee. Part-time employees or employees of consultant firms or nonprofits listed as the responsible charge will disqualify your application.
- Do not forget to attach signed resolutions of support for your project. Applications must include signed resolutions of support from school boards, municipalities, and any entity relevant to the project as well as maintenance commitments. Many applicants forget to attach resolutions, or their attachments are not signed. Do not overlook your resolutions. You will not have the opportunity to send them in after the application deadline has passed.
- Follow-up on previous applications. If you have submitted applications in previous years and were not awarded funds, you should follow-up, first with the Local Aid Resource Center, to get a debrief to learn more about why your application may not have been competitive or may have even been disqualified. This is especially important if you are a community relying on consultant support for application submission.
- Show the problem that you are solving. Do not assume that those reviewing your application will know your community as well as you do. Your application will be reviewed only based on your application materials. Be sure that you are exhaustive in demonstrating the need or problem in your project location and be sure it is clear that your project solves that problem. And remember, a picture (or a map) is worth a thousand words!
- Don’t wait to schedule your pre-application meeting. Pre-application meetings are mandatory and for good reason. These meetings are an opportunity to speak with individuals that know the program and understand what reviewers are looking for. Historically, these meetings have been critical for helping guide projects in a more competitive direction and avoid common mistakes. Schedule your meeting while you still have time to make meaningful changes to your application and project.
- Don’t forget the SAFE in Safe Routes. Getting every person to their destination safely is our number one job as owners/designers of the roadway network. This is even more true when our children are involved. Designing projects with minimum standards in mind is not sufficient to protect children’s safety. Consider every opportunity to include Proven Safety Countermeasures in your design. Want to know where the most dangerous roads in your community are? Check out the Network Screening (High Crash) Lists in our region.
Assistance is available for applicants of Safe Routes funding.
Cross County Connection Transit Management Association (CCCTMA) is the designated Safe Routes Regional Coordinator for South Jersey. For assistance, contact Latifah Sunkett at (856) 596-8228 or email@example.com. NJDOT has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to clarify some important points about Safe Routes.
Did not receive funding for a Safe Routes Application? Find out why!
Projects are selected on a competitive basis. However, some projects are disqualified due to easy-to-correct mistakes, including unsigned resolutions, improper responsible charge, and missing attachments. You can contact NJDOT for a debriefing about your application.
Got Questions? Check out the FAQs
NJDOT has assembled a list of questions that frequently come up during the process. Check out their Frequently Asked Questions handout first as any questions arise as you are putting together your application.
Any other questions? Do not hesitate to ask us!
Contact Alan Huff at firstname.lastname@example.org with any remaining questions. We will work to get the answer or direct you to someone who can.
Do not wait until the last minute!
SJTPO and CCCTMA are happy to assist you but need time to help get you the answers or assistance you need. Give yourself the time to ensure you do not make simple mistakes. You will not have the opportunity to correct mistakes after the application deadline has passed.
Schedule Your MANDATORY Pre-Application Meeting
All applicants must now participate in a Mandatory Pre-Application meeting. This meeting typically includes participants from the Local Aid Resource Center and your local MPO. These meetings can help guide applicants to ensure their projects are eligible for funding, competitive, and have not missed necessary elements. A staff member must be in attendance (in addition to consultants, if any). Communities in the SJTPO region can follow this link to schedule their Pre-Application Meeting.
Attend a Safe Routes Grant Training Webinar
Register for free online sessions, which will provide participants with information about applying for Safe Routes to School grants, presented by the New Jersey Safe Routes Resource Center at Rutgers University.
The session is designed to assist you with making your grant application stronger to turn your project into a reality. Topics that will be covered in this online session include:
- Overview of Federal Aid Programs and the Safe Routes to School Program
- Detailed Review of the Safe Routes to School Grant Application
- Grant Application Process
- Grant Resources, Tips & Strategies
- Q&A with NJDOT Local Aid Staff
Please register for any of the following online sessions:
- Thursday, August 10, 2023, from 10am to 11:30am — register here
- Thursday, September 7, 2023, from 12 to 1:30pm— register here (See the first event, entitled Funding Your Bike/Ped Project)
- Wednesday, October 4, 2023, from 1:30pm to 3pm— register here
The Safe Routes program is funded through the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Aid Program and is being administered by the NJDOT, in partnership with the SJTPO, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA).
County, municipal governments, school districts, and schools are eligible to apply to the program. Nonprofit organizations are not eligible as direct grant recipients for this solicitation. However, nonprofit organizations may partner with a local public agency that will assume responsibility and administration for the grant.
Infrastructure projects include planning, designing, and installing sidewalks, crosswalks, signals, traffic-calming, and bicycle facilities. Operating or maintenance costs are not eligible for Safe Routes funding.
NJDOT is soliciting Safe Routes grant applications for infrastructure projects only. The Safe Routes to School Application Guidance explains the infrastructure program’s eligibility requirements, guides the applicant through the application, and describes the process by which projects are selected.
All applicants will be required to submit their applications using SAGE (System for Administering Grants Electronically). Training and instructions on how to apply are available at this link.
Applications are due by November 17, 2023