It’s not rocket science to figure out that the bigger the vehicle, the more emissions are going into the atmosphere.
School buses definitely fit into the large vehicle category; and their frequency of use could be problematic to the environment, but with depreciating school systems stuck with limited funds, there’s not much to be done about it.
However, there are some examples to take note of, which are transforming the meaning of commuting to school.
Bicycle bus: Some Dutch educators have come up with a pretty creative mode of transportation for kids. The bicycle bus is succeeding in getting students to school in the Netherlands, while also allowing them to get exercise and help the environment. Unlike in many areas in the United States, kids in the Netherlands are already bicycle friendly, but these educators have expanded on that notion and made it less individual, and more collaborative. The buses hold around 11 kids up to age 12, and are also staffed with an adult teacher. Together, they provide enough power to pedal the “bus” to and from school. These bike buses bike buses cost around $15,000 each, which according to Treehugger is “twice the cost of fuel consumed by each regular school bus per year in the United States.”
Walking school bus: Another similar alternative to school buses are “walking school buses.” It is exactly what it sounds like: a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. The walking school bus originated due to concerns about the safety of kids walking or bicycling to school alone. Advocates say a walking school bus can alleviate the fears parents may have about letting their kid go off to school when not riding the traditional bus. The creation of a walking school bus is also a great community organizer, because it often entails getting the local school board, faculty and other parents involved to help it succeed.
Green school bus: A pretty remarkable student got involved in his district’s transportation issues, and created GreenShields, a project seeking to “green” up the traditional exhaust heavy buses found all over the country. The student, Jonny Cohen, noticed one day that “the shape of the school bus was not aerodynamic,” so he built, with the help of his science teacher, an attachment to solve this problem. A GreenShield, angled on the front of the school bus, is a clear, plastic addition which can redirect the airflow of the bus, making it less resistant and saving gas.
Electric school bus: A school district in California was the first in the country to receive a brand new, all-electric school bus called a Trans Tech Bus eTrans all-electric Type A school bus. Or for the twisted-tongue prone, an eTrans bus. This vehicle also keeps in mind children with disabilities by featuring special seats, as well as wheelchair access, something lacking in outdated school bus designs. These buses help the environment and unify communities.
Can’t go wrong there.
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