Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Program Encourages Parents to Organize ‘Walking School Buses’
Per Montgomery County:
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 24, 2021
With the return to in-person instruction this fall, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Safe Routes to Schools program is encouraging parents to organize a “Walking School Bus” to enable young students to safely walk to schools in their neighborhoods. Walking school buses provide a safe and fun way for children to get physical activity as they travel to and from school with adult supervision.
A walking school bus is a parent-organized effort similar to a carpool group but rather than share driving responsibilities, adults supervise a group of kids walking to and from school. Each “bus” walks along a set route, with one or more adults leading the group of children. The walking group picks up, or drops off, children at designated stops, similar to a traditional school bus. Walking school buses also provide a safe way for parents to help each other with the demands of getting children to and from school in an outdoor and socially distanced manner.
“Ensuring the safety of children walking to school is our priority,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “The ‘Walking School Bus’ program is a great option for families who are rethinking the ways they get to and from school. This is a safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly program.”
Safe Routes to School programs, which encourage and enable children to safely walk and bicycle to school, often include walking school buses in their activities. A variation on the walking school bus is a bicycle train where a group of children and adult leaders ride to school together.
There are many benefits to participating in a Walking School Bus, including:
- Increasing daily physical activity
- Opportunities to learn about and practice road safety
- Saving money on gas and reduce car emissions
- Reducing traffic in school zones
- Meeting other families and making new friends
- It is fun
The program is a partnership between MCDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools program, Montgomery County Public Schools, and the Vision Zero Initiative. Schools can sign up for free information by signing up for the Safe Routes to School newsletter here.
“We are encouraging students to stay healthy, active and safe by walking to school,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Walking school buses are a great opportunity to teach children about traffic safety, it strengthens community ties and helps to reduce traffic and carbon emissions.”