Local officials celebrated International Walk to School Day during the week of Oct. 3 in an effort to promote healthy living and clean air.

In Prince George’s County, students and staff at Greenbelt Elementary School and Hollywood Elementary School in College Park participated in the event, which encourages students and adults to walk to their local schools.

The county also used the day to launch its Safe Routes to School Program, which will provide $1.2 million to the county to improve sidewalk networks leading to 11 schools. The program comes in conjunction with speed control camera being put in place in hopes of slowing down drivers in several of the county’s school zones.

In Washington, D.C., Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood walked to school with students at Anne Beers Elementary in Southeast.

“As students across the country take to the streets this year for International Walk to School Day, it’s critical that parents and caregivers make safety their top priority,” LaHood said in a statement. “Whether they’re walking to school or heading down the block, children need to know to look both ways, use crosswalks, and stay alert to stay safe.”

Meanwhile in Montgomery County, students and staff at Captain James Daly Elementary joined with County Executive Isiah Leggett for a variety of activities to celebrate the event.

The initiative began in 1997 when the Partnership for a Walkable America sponsored a National Walk Our Children to School Day in Chicago. By 2002, all 50 states were participating with more than 3 million participants walking to school.