Bellwether Education Partners’ three new reports address school choice, greener alternatives, and safety issues associated with various modes of transportation taken to and from school. File photo courtesy Scott Goble

Bellwether Education Partners’ three new reports address school choice, greener alternatives, and safety issues associated with various modes of transportation taken to and from school. File photo courtesy Scott Goble

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An education advisory firm has released three reports on vital issues that are shaping student transportation: school choice, greener alternatives, and safety issues associated with various modes of transportation taken to and from school.

Bellwether Education Partners’ new reports build on its recent slide deck report, “The Challenges and Opportunities in School Transportation Today,” and its 2017 report, “Miles to Go: Bringing School Transportation Into the 21st Century.”

The newly released reports dive deeper into school transportation topics that deserve closer examination, according to the education firm.

Here are the details on the new reports:

•    “Intersection Ahead: School Transportation, School Integration, and School Choice” pinpoints three school choice models — magnet schools, diverse-by-design charter schools, and controlled choice district enrollment — that focus on creating integrated schools, provides case studies for each model, and reviews their implications for school transportation.

Recommendations include states ensuring that adequate funding is comparable across school sectors and incentivizing equitable transportation; districts and schools considering approaches such as depot models, or multi-district or multi-charter transportation partnerships; and education, transportation, and housing leaders working together on integration strategies.

•    “School Crossing: Student Transportation Safety on the Bus and Beyond” reviews historical changes in how students get to school and the safety concerns of each mode of student transportation.

The report includes recommendations for how different types of communities can improve student transportation safety, such as school leaders and local governments partnering with families on safety education efforts; district and school leaders working with government officials on stop-arm violation enforcement and advocating for infrastructure improvements; and lowering speed limits and implementing traffic calming measures in school zones.

•    “From Yellow to Green: Reducing School Transportation’s Impact on the Environment” examines strategies for school districts to reduce their transportation carbon footprint, including retrofitting diesel school buses with technologies that reduce emissions; replacing diesel school buses with propane, compressed natural gas (CNG), and electric buses; and encouraging walking and bicycling.

Recommended strategies include collecting data on how students get to school to understand the environmental impact and identify areas for improvement, and supporting innovative partnerships and multi-sector collaboration.

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