The Walking School Bus
A walking school bus consists of a group of children walking to school with one or more adults, usually picking up more children at predetermined stops along the route.
Walking school buses can be:
- two or three families taking turns walking their children to school
- a planned route with meeting points, a time table and a schedule of trained adult volunteers
- once a week, month, on special days or everyday
There are so many benefits of a walking school bus!
Students and Children:
- Have fun
- Learn pedestrian safety with adult guidance and supervision
- Engage in physical activity
- Foster healthy habits that could last a lifetime
- Explore their neighborhoods
- Socialize and meet new friends
- Gain independence
- Arrive at school ready to learn
Parents and Volunteers:
- Spend more time with their children
- Meet and socialize with other families
- Address concerns about their children walking to school
- Save gas by leaving the car at home
Schools and communities benefit by:
- Reducing traffic congestion near and around schools within the community
- Addressing busing reductions or eliminations for students
- Decreasing air pollution resulting from fewer gas emissions
- Having students arrive on time and ready to learn
Route selection will be guided by the locations of interested families and students.
Route selection will be influenced by:
- routes that are safe
- walking conditions that are good (i.e. sidewalks are present)
- street crossings that are safe
- behavior of motorists
- location of crossing guards
Conduct a walk ability audit and note the following:
- Is there room to walk?
- Is it easy to cross the street?
- Did the drivers behave well? Did drivers slow down?
- Was the walk pleasant?
Start a walking school bus today! Identify key people and willing partners (school leaders, principal, PTOs, parents, police) to help with the planning.
Considerations for a successful walking school bus include:
- Achievable — how often, how soon?
- Manageable — size of school, number of routes, number of participants
- Contactable — can you reach parents, teachers, principals, students?
- Recruitable — can you get volunteers? how many are available?
- Walkable — are there sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing guards, traffic signals, etc?
If you are interested in planning a walking school bus, here are details on how to get one going in your community.
You can also contact your SRTS Regional Coordinator for assistance in starting a walking school bus.