In many places in Sweden one pupil in four arrives to school by car. But to reduce pollution and carbon emissions, make the area around the school safer and give the kids better health there is another way to get to class: “Walking” school buses.
The idea is very simple: One parent passes the houses in the area where the children live, or they all meet at a central spot, and then they walk together to school. There are also “bike-buses”.
One of the advantages of this is also that each parent spends less time taking his or her child to school, and also gets to know the other children better.
When I talk to Fariba Daryani, who has worked to encourage more walk-buses in the Stockholm area since 2003, she tells me the concept has spread widely and that she is often asked to come and talk about the concept in other parts of Sweden.
– This is a very easy way to influence people’s ways of travelling, she says.
Nacka, a neighbouring municipality to Stockholm, has three tips on how to start a walking school bus:
- Contact the families of your child’s class mates that live close to you.
- Make a schedule and decide what to do if someone falls ill. Maybe there are older sisters or brothers who can help out or grandparents who can substitute?
- Decide a “bus stop” close to the homes, where all children can walk safely on their own.
Walk-buses is also one idea from the Chalmers architect students in Alingsås, who I wrote about a few days ago. They suggest that parents take a look at what the way to school looks like. Are the sidewalks broad enough for two kids walking beside each other? Are there other obstacles?
In the booklet Walk-buses this is what we did you can read more about how walk-buses have been created in the Stockholm area.