Skip to Main Navigation

Traffic Safety Facts Banner

Number 98                                                                                             June 1995
U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590



The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored the development and evaluation of a new pedestrian safety program to protect school bus riders in elementary grades (kindergarten through 6th grade). Walk-Ride-Walk: Getting to School Safely was developed by Dunlap and Associates, Inc. The program consists of seven one-half hour lessons with individual Teacher's Guides, three student videos, a poster of the danger zones around the bus, and videos and brochures for bus drivers and parents. The complete program is available through the National Safety Council. 

Children represent a significant proportion of pedestrians killed and injured in traffic crashes. While the actual school bus trip is among the safest forms of transportation, there are nevertheless substantial pedestrian risks associated with the total trip as the child walks to and from the bus stop, waits for the bus in a traffic environment, gets on and off the bus at home and at school, and sometimes crosses the street to and from the bus. Most school bus related fatalities are pedestrian fatalities. 

The course was developed from a systematic analysis of existing curricula, audiovisual materials, crash data, and state laws and regulations on school bus pedestrian safety. A total of 113 school bus pedestrian safety behaviors were considered appropriate for inclusion in the curriculum. The safety behaviors are embodied in seven lessons:

  1. The Danger Zone -- identifies areas around the school bus where the driver and child can't see each other.

  2. Walking Near and Evacuating the Bus -- this lesson is a bus drill that reviews danger zones and emergency evacuation procedures.

  3. Crossing the Street -- for young children, crossing the street midblock with and without parked cars, and, for older children, procedures to follow at intersections and in parking lots.

  4. Walking to the Bus Stop -- getting ready for school and walking to the bus stop.

  5. Arrival of the Bus -- waiting at the bus stop, the meaning of the bus signal lights, and boarding the bus.

  6. Riding the Bus -- safe bus riding procedures.

  7. Crossing to and from the Bus -- crossing the street to the bus, leaving the bus, and crossing the street from the bus. 


Program Evaluation

The classroom materials were evaluated in the East Ramapo Central School District, Spring Valley, New York. The District encompasses a multicultural community that has urban, suburban, and rural areas. Evaluation consisted of a knowledge test, a staged test of student skills in exiting the bus and crossing the street, observations of children actually waiting for and boarding the bus during the morning run to school, and discussions with teachers and principals. Participation in the program led to statistically significant and operationally meaningful improvements in many important safety knowledge items and behavioral skills. Teachers and principals were positive about the program and found the materials user friendly and technically sound.


Program Materials Availability  

The National Safety Council (NSC) is distributing the program under the title Walk-Ride-Walk: Getting to School Safely. NSC plans to embark on a nationwide promotional effort to encompass professional meetings, catalog entries, and personal presentations.  

To order the program materials, contact the National Safety Council at 1121 Spring Lake Drive, Itasca, Illinois, 60143-3201, 1(800) 621-7619, or fax at (708) 285-0797.

To obtain a copy of the technical report, A Pedestrian Safety Training Program for Elementary School Bus Riders, write to Dr. Alfred Farina, Office of Program Development and Evaluation, NHTSA, NTS-32, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590 or send a fax to (202) 366-7096. 

Or contact The National Bicycle and Pedestrian Clearinghouse at 1(800) 760-6272 or fax at (202) 463-6625.


 U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway
Traffic Safety
400 Seventh Street, S.W. NTS-33
Washington, DC 20590

Traffic Tech is a publication to disseminate information about traffic safety programs, including evaluations, innovative programs, and new publications. Feel free to copy it as you wish.

If you would like to receive a copy contact:

Linda Cosgrove, Ph.D., Editor,
Evaluation Staff Traffic Safety Programs
(202) 366-2759

U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
1-800-424-9153 (TTY)