Earth-friendly commuting isn’t solely for working folks—in the Seattle area, students of all ages make up a huge percentage of daily commuters when school is in session, and a large percentage of college students are still driving to school alone. For younger students, co-transportation is sometimes their only option, so school-aged kids are generally the best at alternatives such as carpools, walking, biking and of course, riding the school bus. However, some commuting tools that are good for adults are not as available to children—such as walking alone—due to parents’ worry about safety.
What can a student of any age heading back to school do to lower their transportation footprint? And do so in a planned, safe manner? A few ideas to get you started are listed here.
Nothing beats the power of commuting by foot.
Safe Routes to School by Feet First is a natural first step. They offer safety education and tools to get started safely walking and biking to school. They also have safe route maps available for many area Elementary schools.
Walking is awesome.
If you’re not yet convinced that walking can be awesome, watch the video Safe Routes to School & Communities Putting Prevention to Work.
Plan your route with a Walking Map.
Plan your route in advance with a Walking Map from the City of Seattle. Pay attention to those hills, and remember that construction sometimes can get in the way of the best plans in our growing city…so allow extra time for your first walks while you test out the route.
Carpooling builds community.
Carpools are another natural option for the convenience for parents and caregivers, and for lower transportation costs and footprints. High schools, colleges and universities often offer reduced rate carpool parking, or special carpool parking spots that are closer to school buildings. For example, the University of Washington offers several carpool options and resources. For parents, often the best way to find carpool buddies is to pay attention to who else is dropping off and picking up at school, then offer to share duties. Or check in at your child’s school or PTA.
Bike to school!
Organize a Bike to School event like Bryant Elementary’s feat last May, which Seattle Bike Blog calls the “biggest bike to school ride in Seattle history.”
All aboard—the bike train!
A fun way to commute by bike (and safe for kids) are bike trains! Wouldn’t it be cool to build a bike train to commute to work, too?
Car2Go for when you’re running late.
For older students, Car2Go is a great option, especially if you normally use public or foot-powered transportation like walking or biking, and you’re running a little late or have to carry a lot of stuff one day.