The Walking Bus....

Submitted by Charles Frost on Mon, 04/23/2007 - 07:51.


From:, comes this interesting story...

Strangely, we don’t appear to have covered ‘walking buses’ yet. No, they are not Fred Flintstone-style mass transit, but a neat, safe way for kids to get to school. They originate in the UK and, according to they are “the nearest activity to perfect exercise.” Essentially, each walking bus has an adult 'driver' at the front and and an adult 'conductor' at the back. The ‘bus’ runs along a specific route picking up 'passengers' at specific 'bus-stops' along the way. The bus runs “rain or shine and everyone wears a reflective jacket. Along the way children can chat to their friends, learn valuable road safety skills and gain some independence.” Seems to us like the perfect way to beat childhood obesity, increase road safety awareness, reduce oil dependence, combat climate change, and create friendlier, healthier, safer communities. We love it! Apparently, after a walking bus was introduced at one UK school, the rate of kids walking to school shot up from 48% to 75%. Hopefully these kids will retain their enthusiasm for self-propelled transport long after they outgrow the 'bus'.

...and from:


What is a “walking bus”?
The walking bus is the latest safe, fun and healthy way to travel to and from school.
Each walking bus had an adult 'driver' at the front and and an adult 'conductor' bringing up the rear. The children walk to school in a group along a set route picking up additional 'passengers' at specific 'bus-stops' along the way.
The bus runs rain or shine and everyone wears a reflective jacket. Along the way children can chat to their friends, learn valuable road safety skills and gain some independence.
All walking buses are different!. They vary to suit the needs of the children and their parents.
Some schools have a number of walking buses and some only have one walking bus. Some walking buses operate only on certain days; other walking buses operate only in morning or afternoon.
A walking bus at your school could be set up to match the availability of the volunteers.

All aboard the bus in Herford:

School children from the Foxholes estate Hertford, boarded their daily walking bus for the first time this month and arrived in school healthy and alert.

With over 300 pupils and situated on a main road, Wheatcroft JMI has had several problems regarding traffic and childrens journey to school. With a large percentage of children living in the Foxholes Estate, a ten minute stroll down the busy road, there was a lot of enthuasism to start a walking bus.
April 2002 saw an extrememly successful "one day special" which attracted over 40 children who braved the wind and rain to try out the bus. This generated much support and interest in the walking bus, with so many parents from the Foxhole Estate volunteering to help, that the bus theortically could run every day with up to 30 children.
However, the main road was an issue and finally it was decided that it was safer for all concerned to wait and then use the new planned footpath and crossing facility.
The New Year saw the opening of the finished footpath and pelican crossing and the launch of the daily permanent walking bus which has proven to still be popular with approximately 30 regular walkers.
It is not unsual for the walking bus to move faster than the traffic on the main road!


There were two good comments posted on the Treehugger site, at

"I believe that David Engwicht, of Street Reclaiming fame came up with the walking school bus idea. He's a wonderful character, and has lots of great ideas for keeping neighborhoods safe and healthy. He's got another book out now, called Mental Speed Bumps that should be on every urban and traffic planner's desk.

The Walking School Bus is also a big component of many Safe Routes to School programs all over the world."


"Rosa Parks Elementary in Woodinville, WA has a 'walking bus' program. In fact, the (brand-new) school has no actual busses at all and only offers the walking option. I think they may have a couple busses for field trips, and that's it. The surrounding community loves it, although I'm not sure how large the district is."



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Walking BUS < I like it!

The best thing that I like about this idea is that it reclaims the street for pedestrian use in a very dramatic way.  No automobile driver would dare speed by a group of children wearing brightly colored safety vests!  This is indeed an active method for reclaiming streest for pedestrians.

As for getting to school via a method that encourages activity and socialization, how about this radical idea > ?

So cool!!!

I am forwarding this link to the principal at Denison School in the beautiful Brooklyn Centre neighborhood.  This is great! It's VERY British, but we have teachers that already practice the principle by bringing their kids to the library in this VERY fashion.