Walking School Buses and Bike Trains

What is a Walking School Bus (WSB)?

A Walking School Bus (WSB) can take a variety of forms:

  • For families with younger students, adult chaperones are needed. The CDC recommends one adult per three students aged 4 to 6 and one adult per six children for students aged 7 to 9.

  • It can be as simple as families or older students meeting as a group at a certain time and designated location to walk to school together.

  • Some neighborhoods find success creating a schedule with adult chaperones each taking 1-2 shifts a week.

  • A more formal option is to lay out routes with stops, similar to a true bus.

A Bike Train (BT) is similar, except that students are on wheeled devices such as bicycles or scooters, and generally the distances are farther.

How Do I start a Walking School Bus or Bike Train?

  • Talk to neighbors and those already walking your route in the morning, and look in your PTO directory for who might live near you to get started. In light of COVID and the uncertainty of fall school plans, start simple and keep plans flexible. Reach out to your Safe Routes to School representative if you need help identifying a good route to take.

  • The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to start a Walking School Bus, including planning worksheets.

  • Massachusetts Safe Routes to School has a brand new Walking School Bus guide to help get you started.

Evidence of effectiveness found here.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

  • Increased active transportation

  • Increased physical activity

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Improved health outcomes

  • Improved sense of community

  • Increased academic achievement

  • Reduced vehicle miles traveled

  • Reduced emissions