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How to Drive a Walking School Bus


With 21% of Seattle youth suffering from obesity and 83% of students living within the walk zone of their school, there is a clear need and opportunity to encourage students to walk to school. A Walking School Bus aims to meet this need by providing children with an adult supervised walking group that commutes to school along designated routes. Although research shows that schools in low-income communities have the most to gain from Walking School Buses, these communities often lack the resources needed to organize such programs. Under the assertion that all students should have a right to safe and healthy access to school, this report considers how the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) can support the development of Walking School Buses at elementary schools across Seattle. This report (1) discusses how capacity among schools differ, (2) evaluates case studies of Walking School Buses in Seattle, and (3) looks  toward active transportation campaigns from around the world to synthesize a vision for the future of walking to school in Seattle. The product of this report is a list of recommendations that outline how SDOT can most effectively drive Walking School Bus growth. By raising a generation of active commuters, Seattle can take a big step toward building resilient mobility systems that improve quality of life for all.