Walking school buses: Leading by example
Transportation engineers and planners are committed to creating non-motorized travel options. Sidewalks and greenways are great alternatives for pedestrians if available and convenient, especially children walking to school.
As a parent and planner, I wanted to see my community use its transportation infrastructure, reduce traffic congestion around schools and take advantage of the built environment. I decided it was time to “walk the walk.”
Six years ago, I helped organize a “walking school bus” within the Town of Cornelius with the other parents in my community. The route begins at a remote drop-off park which also serves as a transit park and ride lot. Together, we lead a group of students on a half-mile walk from this park to Cornelius Elementary School each month. “Walk on Wednesday” is a success. Not only do we get to interact as a community, but we set a positive example for our kids and reinforce healthy habits like walking and exercising. Most of todays’ parents walked to school when they were growing up.
The walking school bus program was created by the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Having parents accompany children on their walk to school has multiple benefits. It encourages children to be physically active, and allowing parents to guide children across roadways helps lower accidents involving pedestrians.
Once we put pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in place, transportation engineers should lead the way for the public to adopt these new accommodations. The walking school bus program is a great way to start making a difference in your community.
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