School Bus Loop

School buses travel about four billion miles each year, and more than 25 million American students ride a school bus every day. These buses provide the safest transportation for getting children to and from school. Data collected by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of travelling by car.

While all new buses must meet EPA's tighter emission standards, many older school buses continue to emit harmful diesel exhaust. Diesel exhaust has a negative impact on human health in general, and especially on children because they have a faster breathing rate than adults and their lungs are not yet fully developed.

One of the easiest ways to reduce school bus emissions, and to save money, is to reduce idling. Many local jurisdictions have codes that restrict vehicle idling, which also applies to school buses. By replacing the oldest school buses in the fleet, emissions can also be reduced. Visit the links above to identify federal grants. Retrofitting existing fleets to use bio diesel is another way to reduce diesel emissions. Bio diesel is diesel fuel oil modified with 0 to 100% biologically derived oils.

Back to School Safety reminders from the National Safety Council

EPA Clean School Bus Program

Minnesota Environmental Initiative's Project Green Fleet

Idle Free Schools  - Toolkit for schools

Denver's Clean Air at Schools:  Most people waste 1-2 entire tanks of gas every year by idling; Just 1 minute of idling puts more carbon monoxide into the air than three packs of cigarettes.

October 22-26:  National School Bus Safety Week

Cover of the book The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up

"The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up":  Order this publication where children children learn about idle reduction and other ways to reduce health risks from diesel exhaust (available in English and Spanish).

NHSTA Safe Routes to School

  • To double the percentage of total trips made by bicycling and walking from 7.9 percent to 15.8 percent;

  • To reduce by 10 percent the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed or injured in traffic crashes.