Walking and bicycling are common ways for children to travel to and from school, but are also effective ways to reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, and other health issues. Since children are not born with the knowledge and skills needed to interact with traffic while walking and bicycling, it is essential to teach them the rules of the road, how to navigate streets and intersections, and how to be safer while walking and biking. Training children how to be competent and safer pedestrians and bicyclists gives them lifelong safety skills they will use throughout their lives.
A walking school bus (WSB), which is a group of children walking to/from school under adult supervision, provides physical activity, teaches pedestrian safety skills, and provides supervision to help reduce concerns about children traveling to/from school. With increased school transportation budget cuts, many districts have eliminated courtesy bussing. As a result, the number of students walking/bicycling to and/or from school and those driven by parents has steadily increased. To help reduce traffic congestion around schools, walking school buses offer a practical travel option for those living near school. Many different types of walking school buses have been successful, and each school’s WSB program may differ depending on the neighborhood, volunteers, traffic, and school policies.
The Florida Safe Routes to School Walking School Bus Program provides information about walking school buses, how to plan a route, and how to teach safe pedestrian behavior. For more information about Walking School Buses, including training videos from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, see below: