Walking School Bus

A walking school bus combines safety, fun, and fitness while walking to school! 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

What are the 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:

  • Reduce traffic congestion near and around schools within the community
  • Address busing reductions or eliminations for students
  • Decrease air pollution resulting from fewer gas emissions
  • Have students arrive on time and ready to learn

How are Walking School Bus Routes Determined?

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?

Print out the Walk Assessment Checklist which can help you assess the walking school bus route and determine the next steps.

Is It Easy to Start a Walking School Bus?

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.

Getting Started Toolkit

Build Your Safe Routes Team
Walk and Bike to School Events
Estimating Improvement Costs
Walking School Bus
Planning a Walking School Bus