Sustainability: Why the UK needs school buses 

The issues with school commuting and sustainability. 

With growing concerns about climate change and reducing resource availability, everyone is looking to be more sustainable going forward. 

This is the same in schools and particularly in school travel. More students are being encouraged to walk to school now more than ever. However, for some students, this is not always an option, due to factors such as distance, safety and disability. 

The simple answer to this problem is having a school bus service. 

In this article, we look at how a lack of focus on transport sustainability, affects schools and the communities they serve. 

Environmental sustainability 

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Overuse of cars as school transport 

The main form of transport used in the UK (other than walking) is by car (across both primary and secondary school). Whether that’s their parents driving them to school or by taxi. More cars on the road mean an increase in pollution and the effects of air pollution. Not only does increased air pollution affect global warming, but it also affects health. Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. In 2010, the  Environment Audit Committee  considered that the cost of health impacts of air pollution was likely to exceed estimates of £8 to 20 billion.  

Long-term (lifetime) effects of air pollution increase the likelihood of cardiovascular & respiratory diseases and lung cancer. Air pollution’s short-term effects (hours/days) impact lung function, exacerbate asthma and increase respiratory & cardio hospital admissions.

This is worrying as car usage is naturally higher in areas around schools. This needs to be changed. Using school buses and other more sustainable forms of transport are shown to reduce air pollution.

Effects on congestion

Additional congestion caused by the ‘school run’ affects other commuters. More congestion impacts pollution. Idle vehicles produce up to twice as much exhaust emission as an engine in motion. This is why reducing congestion and the number of vehicles on the road is so important environmentally. Schools have a part to play in this.

Cultural sustainability

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Additional pressure on parents

For parents with children not within walking distance of the school, there is a huge pressure to provide transport for their children. There is also even more pressure on parents who may not have a car.

School is like a transport hub

For all students’commutes, the destination is the same and likewise, when travelling home the start point is the same. The school.

Sustainability mindset

Instilling a healthy mindset of sustainability in the next generation is paramount if we are to reverse the effects of climate change. Introducing them to sustainable transport like school buses is an easy way of doing that.


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