If you live or work in either Mercer or Ocean County, Greater Mercer TMA is your Transportation Management Association (TMA). Greater Mercer TMA (gmtma.org) delivers programs and services that promote and provide transportation choices designed to reduce congestion, improve mobility, increase safety and further sustainability. GMTMA partners with schools and communities throughout Mercer and Ocean Counties to implement a variety of safe walking and bicycling programs including Walk/Bike to School Day events, Bike and Pedestrian Safety Presentations, Bicycle Rodeos/Skills Clinics, Walking School Bus, Frequent Walker Programs, and a variety of other classroom, summer camp , and community activities designed to teach walking and bicycling safety.

Greater Mercer TMA has recently released the New Jersey Walking School Bus app to help make it easier for families to set up a walking school bus in their neighborhood. In a walking school bus, there is no bus at all. Instead, parents and children walk  to and from school together. A walking school bus can be as simple as two families taking turns walking with their children to school, or with more structure, a route with a timetable, designated stops and adults signed up to volunteer. It’s a great way for students and parents to get more exercise, make new friends, and reduce traffic and harmful air pollution getting to school. In addition, children arrive at school refreshed and ready to learn.

With the New Jersey Walking School Bus app parents easily create and plan walks and can search by elementary school for existing walking groups, or create a new walking group and invite neighbors to join. Once the group is set up, plans can be made to walk to and from school with parent leaders. A text message within the walking school bus group lets parents know when students have arrived safely at school.  The app can be used throughout New Jersey and is available for Android and IOS.  Just search for it in the App Store and get started with a walking group today!

To encourage families to try out the app, GMTMA is sponsoring a “Step into Spring- Ready, Set, Win!” campaign, that includes a contest open to parents and their children in Mercer County and Ocean County. To take part in the contest, parents download the New Jersey Walking School Bus App, create an account, join an existing walking group- or create a new one, and schedule and participate in walks to or from school. Every walk to and from school with the app gets entered to win prizes. The more you walk the better your chances of winning! A random drawing will be conducted from all entries on June 9.  Prizes include a $100 gift card for the winning walking group and $250 for the school of the winning walking group to be used for walking and biking programs, and prizes for parents and children.

To learn more about the New Jersey Walking School Bus app and the many other programs offered by Greater Mercer TMA, be sure to visit their website https://gmtma.org

If you don’t live or work in Mercer or Ocean Counties don’t worry, there is a TMA in your area ready and willing to help you make your community safer for walking and bicycling.  To find your TMA, visit https://www.saferoutesnj.org/find-your-srts-regional-coordinator/