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Facts and Figures: How Do Kids Get to School?

February 11, 2017

You probably spend a lot of time thinking about your own commute, but how much time do you spend thinking about kids’? Unless you’re a school administrator you probably haven’t given a lot of consideration to school commutes. How far are they, on average? And do most kids take the bus?


 Let’s take a look at some of the most eye-opening statistics to know about how kids get to school.



Important Stats and Trends

The American School Bus Council estimates that over 50% of kids get to school on the old-fashioned school bus. That number hasn’t changed much since 1969. More than a third of school children have always taken the bus to school, it turns out. Only about 13% of kids walk to and from school and less than 2% take public transit.


Today, it’s estimated that over 40% of all children are driven to school in a family vehicle. This includes carpoolers, of course, and it should be noted that more kids take the bus home from school than arrive that way. 


The rate of children that walk or bike to school has dropped sharply in the last four decades. At peak, nearly half of all school children walked or biked! Why the change? Concerns over route safety, bullying, and the distance between home and school are likely culprits.


Who Takes the Bus?

The largest contingent of bus-riders is naturally, the ones that live furthest from school. Over 65% of K-8 students who travel more than 2 miles to school take the bus. School buses show the highest correlation of any mode of transit between distance from home and ridership; car ridership, for example, drops off a bit once kids live more than two miles from school.


Students who live in dangerous, high-traffic areas are especially likely to take the school bus, perhaps because doing so makes them 70 times more likely to arrive safely at school. School buses are particularly important to low-income communities in which families are less likely to have cars. Bus access shows the most positive effects on attendance for homes in which the mother doesn’t work, or that have a greater-than-average travel time to and from school.


Safety and the School Commute

There’s no argument that regularly attending school is the best thing a child can do. But is getting there worth it? Understandably, parents and school administrators are continuously working on ways to make the commute safer; bike-friendly communities, school bus trackers, and incentivized carpooling are a helpful start.


Statistically, the big yellow school bus is by far the safest way to transport kids to school. Only 8% of all school commute-related fatalities can be attributed to buses while over 70% involved personal vehicles. Pedestrians, surprisingly, were over four times as likely to be killed by a school vehicle than by another unrelated car.


How do kids in your community get to school? UbicaBus is working hard to make the school commute safer, simpler, and more transparent. Contact us to find out more.






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