Walking to school has undeniable benefits for mental and physical health. APS has long encouraged use of active transportation, and APS SRTS is always on the look-out for new resources to make it easy for students who live within established walk zones to travel to school using muscle power.
Walking School Buses are one way to make walking to school easier for families while maximizing the health benefits of walking for students and reducing congestion and pollution in neighborhoods around schools. A Walking School Bus is defined as a group of students walking to school with one or more adults. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their students to school or as structured as a planned route with meeting points, a timetable and a schedule of trained volunteers. This WalkArlington blog post sums up the Walking School Bus experience quite well!
In Spring 2022, APS Safe Routes to School, Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation 55+ program, WalkArlington and the Arlington County Commission on Aging/Positive Aging, Inclusion and Enrichment Committee joined forces to pilot an intergenerational Walking School Bus at Oakridge Elementary School. It was such a success that CBS Evening News came to Arlington to walk to school with our student “passengers.” Here is correspondent Jan Crawford’s story.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET ON BOARD?!
APS SRTS is looking for student “passengers” and senior adult leaders
to join our intergenerational Walking School Bus pilot.
For more information, please contact APS Safe Routes to School Coordinator.
OAKRIDGE FAMILIES READY TO GET ON BOARD NEXT YEAR?
Complete and submit the Oakridge Pilot Walking School Bus Interest Form.
We’ll use the information you provide to develop a route and pick-up schedule
to coordinate with other families and our volunteers!
THIS BUS IS US!
APS has updated, customized and consolidated resources to support formation of Walking School Buses through:
- Reaching out to PTAs, school communities and families for input on guidance and resources needed to support formation of Walking School Buses
- Adaptation of existing Walking School Bus resources to comply with COVID-19 guidance
- Sharing of communications templates for school/family outreach
- Coordination with PTA and school community on outreach to families about the benefits of Walking School Buses and resources available to “make it easy” to organize locally
- Technical assistance with Walking School Bus start-up and use of maps and route planning resources
- Provision of supplies/equipment to support Walking School Buses (such as fluorescent vests, masks, and encouragement items)
- Allocation of Safe Routes to School grant funds to support Walking School Buses pilot programs
Drawing on resources developed by the Safe Routes Partnership, National Center for Safe Routes to School, Virginia Department of Transportation, and Safe Routes to School coordinators in the DMV to support safe, active school transportation, APS SRTS has put together this Tool Kit to help you get started with Walking School Buses and Bike Trains in 2021-22.
APS Walking School Bus Tool Kit and Resources
- Getting Started with Walking School Buses and Bike Trains
- 1 Walking School Bus GUIDANCE
- 2 Walking School Bus INTEREST FORM
- 3 Walking School Bus WEEKLY SCHEDULE
- 4 Walking School Bus PARTICIPANT CONTACT FORM
- 5 Walking School Bus SRTS Optional WAIVER-CONSENT FORM
- 6 Walking School Bus SIGN-BANNER DESIGNS
- 7 Walking School Bus OUTREACH FLYER
- 8 Walking School Bus SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES
- SRTS Guide to Walking School Buses
- SRTS National Partnership Step-by-Step Guide to Walking School Buses
- Walking School Bus 101
To support communities and neighborhoods who are interested in organizing Walking School Buses and Bike Trains, APS SRTS has also assembled Walking School Bus and Bike Train Kits, which include:
- Yellow SRTS Masks for Students
- Fluorescent Vests for Adults
- Frog Lights for Backpack Straps and Bike Handles
- Reflective Safety Items such as wristbands, zipper pulls and clip-on flash lights
- Bike Seat Covers (for Bike Trains!)
- Signs/Templates for Signs
- Copies of Share VA Roads in English and Spanish
- BikeArlington Maps and WalkArlington Walkabouts Brochures
Kits are available to Leaders with established Walking School Buses and Bike Trains on a first come, first served basis, while supplies last. Contact APS Safe Routes to School Coordinator.