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Re-Thinking the School Bus

May 5, 2009

Three Cheers for the bus driver, the bus driver, the bus driver…

It’s iconic and a staple of many children’s school days. From the hippie bus driver in the front to the elite section in the back, school buses have been an essential part of many people’s educational experience. However, communities from as far as Italy to cities here in the U.S. are re-thinking the bus (or car) as the only way to get to school. Is the school bus going the way of lunchroom soda machines?

Transporting children to and from school is a fundamental part of the school day. But for children who are within walking distance, does a Walking School Bus provide a new opportunity to reduce emissions while enhancing children’s health? Given the obesity epidemic in the U.S., it is an alternative with great merit. The recent New York Times article, “Students Give Up Wheels for Their Own Two Feet,” highlights the impact of this model for a community in Italy.

Paramount to the success of the Walking School Bus model is safety, an important commitment at FedEx in both our workplace and the communities we serve. For the past ten years, FedEx has supported child pedestrian safety initiatives through Safe Kids Worldwide, including International Walk to School Day and local safety improvements, helping make the journey to school safer and reducing the number of childhood injuries. Efforts like the Walking School Bus are in line with the innovative thinking needed to reduce emissions, increase safety, and enhance childhood health.

FedEx is committed to create a more efficient and environmentally-conscious company, reducing our emissions 20% by 2020. We are constantly exploring innovative ways to reduce carbon and identify partners who can help us do the same. For example, in New York City, we use many foot couriers, reducing emissions and freeing up roads for other commerce. FedEx is also investing in sustainable transportation systems that help reduce carbon emissions, create more efficient supply chains, increase commercial activity, and make cities safer places to live. The Walking School Buses align with our commitment to create new options to get from Point A to Point B.

There will always be a need for the yellow school bus. But families and communities should consider how a simple concept like the Walking School Bus could reduce costs, improve children’s health, reduce emissions and provide opportunities to teach children how to be safer pedestrians.


Social Responsibility Team Members Julia Chicoskie and Brandon Tidwell contributed to this blog.

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