Who Takes the School Bus? The Roles of Location, Race, and Parents in Choosing Travel-to-School Mode in Georgia

Key Takeaways:

  • Compared to national averages of travel mode to school, Georgia students (aged 5-17) take more trips to school by school bus (46 percent vs. 33 percent) and fewer trips to school by personal vehicles (48 percent vs. 54 percent). They also are less likely to walk or bike to school (5 percent vs. 10 percent) or take public transit (1 percent vs. 2 percent.)
  • In Georgia, students who live in rural areas and live far from school are twice as likely to be driven in a personal vehicle to school than to take the school bus or use active travel. This is despite policies that require rural students to have access to a school bus.
  • Students who live close to school within an urban area, are older, male, without a driver’s license, and whose parents have a college education are most likely to use the bus to travel to school in Georgia.
  • Black students in Georgia are more likely to take the bus to school than white students. However, this was only applicable to Black and white students, race was not a significant predictor of mode choice to school for children with other racial identities.


  • Collecting state and/or local community travel data is important to better understand the impact of local policies such as bussing on student travel mode choice as well as geographic and demographic indicators that are specific to a single state or community.
  • Safe Routes to School programs should support school bus policies to reduce the burden of personal vehicle travel, especially for students living in distant or rural communities.


  • Researchers used the 2017 National Household Travel Survey to identify travel mode to school for students in Georgia, and which factors such as demographics and household characteristics, and environmental characteristics (such as when school bus trips were taken), impact the likelihood of using a school bus to travel to school.


Speroni, Samuel. “Who Takes the School Bus? The Roles of Location, Race, and Parents in Choosing Travel-to-School Mode in Georgia.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2677, no. 11 (2023): 169–81. https://doi.org/10.1177/03611981231164388.

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