SafetyFirst supports a local non-profit organization called “TransOptions” whose mission is to “deliver programs and services that improve mobility, the environment and overall quality of life in northwestern New Jersey” This is done in a number of very interesting ways. TransOptions helps residents, employers, employees and commuters to analyze and understand traffic in this region — better still, they offer alternatives and education to increase efficiency, safety and sustainability.
One of the programs I’ve learned more about in recent days is their “walking school bus” program. Here’s how they describe it:
WALKING SCHOOL BUS PROGRAM
A Walking School Bus is just like a regular school bus, but without the walls and seats, and instead of wheels, we use our feet. Walking in greater numbers makes you more visible to drivers thereby increasing the safety of the children walking.
How it Works:
- Identify a Walking School Bus “Driver” to be in charge of chaperoning the walk to school. Identify and establish walking routes from various “drivers” homes and locate “bus stops” along that route where other children can gather and be “picked up.”
- The “bus” will travel to the school while picking up other children along the way, and are escorted to the front door of the school building.
- Identify more than one “driver” to switch off responsibilities and make it flexible for everyone.
This is an interesting way to help assure that local children get to school safely (and on time). TransOptions works with local schools to help coordinate “walking school buses” and map out “safe routes to school” for families.
I found a neat video online that further illustrates how this works. Take a look:
SafetyFirst’s monthly Ten-Minute Training Topic for August was on driving safely near school zones — helping drivers raise their awareness of the need to be vigilant in looking for children walking to school.