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.