The Walking School Bus

Why did we select this case

The Walking School Bus, reinvents the transportation mode of taking children to school, saving parents stress and time and reducing traffic pressure.  This case  study is a good example of how a simple, low cost community initiative can have a great impact on various dimensions.

About the case  

As parents worry about their children safety while walking or cycling to school, parents in turn land up driving their children to educational centres on a daily basis.  This subsequently creates traffic congestion, puts more pressure on parents and guardians, and also decreases physical activity for students. Conceived by Australian creative planner and urbanist David Engwicht in 1992, the Walking school Bus is an initiative that involves an adult volunteer  (often parents) walking children on a set route, to and from school, who collect children from various stops. This is a free service, and all children are welcome, regardless of whether their parents are involved as volunteers. This provides a simple, low cost measure. 

Other benefits for children include, socialising with other children while they walk, making it into an activity,   and learning the rules of the road. This system also saves parents time and stress, it reduces fuel cost, and emission, and frees up road space. This initiative often has the support of a local authority and/or the school, but can be self-organised and run by parents and students. Another version of this is the bicycle train, where the mode of transport is a bike.  The Walking School Bus has has become a global phenomenon, widely adopted in the U.K. and other parts of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. To learn more about how to set this up in your city, read the Australian Governments Walking School Bus guide


In 2010, Western Australia had established 39 active Walking School Bus routes at 26 primary schools. Routes are approximately six miles, and surveys revealed that there were more than 10,000 "trips" made in the first three terms of the year. During the same period, these efforts saved nearly 3.5 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

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