Walking school buses and bike trains are formed when a group of children accompanied by one or more adults walk or bike together to school. Routes can originate from a particular neighborhood or, in order to include children who live too far to bicycle, begin from a park, parking lot, or other meeting place (a park-and-walk). As the walking school bus continues on the route to school, the group can pick up students at designated meeting locations.
Walking School Buses and Bike Trains can be informal arrangements between neighbors with children attending the same school or official school-wide endeavors with trained volunteers and structured meeting points with a pick-up timetable. These can be organized via a Back-to-School Orientation through a Carpooling/Ride Matching Program, or during Walk & Roll to School Day.
Parents and guardians often cite distrust of strangers, traffic safety concerns, and lack of time as reasons why they do not allow their children to walk or bike to school. Walking School Buses and Bike Trains address these concerns by providing adult supervision as students walk to school. Use the following materials to get started:
The County of San Mateo Walking School Bus coordination materials
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s Walking School Bus Primer and Tip Sheet for Organizing Bike Trains are great resources for first time organizers
The City of Portland has instructions for how to create walking school bus cut-outs for photos
Walk with Us El Monte is a comprehensive Walking School Bus program with resources to create a formal program and track its effectiveness. (Materials in English and Spanish)