School transportation is a vital component of the education system. Transporting students to and from school safely and efficiently is the responsibility of school administrators, transportation directors, and bus drivers. In recent years, advances in technology and transportation planning have made significant improvements in school transportation.

In this article, we will explore school transportation statistics that shed light on the state of school transportation today.

Key School Transportation Statistics 2023 – MY Choice

  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 25 million students in the United States rely on school transportation to get to and from school.
  • School buses are the most commonly used mode of transportation for students, with approximately 480,000 school buses in operation in the US.
  • School buses travel an estimated 4 billion miles per year, making them one of the largest transportation fleets in the world.
  • The average school bus carries about 50 students, which means that school buses transport approximately 480 million students each year.
  • School buses are statistically the safest mode of transportation for students, with a fatality rate of less than 0.2 per 100 million miles traveled.
  • According to the American School Bus Council, school buses reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 4.3 million tons each year, making them a more environmentally friendly transportation option.
  • In 2019, the average cost of operating a school bus was approximately $70,000 per year, with maintenance and fuel costs being the biggest expenses.
  • The cost of school transportation varies widely depending on the school district and location, with some districts spending as much as $1,000 per student on transportation each year.
  • In some rural areas, students may have to travel long distances to get to school, with some students spending more than an hour on the bus each way.
  • Despite the high number of students who rely on school transportation, many school districts face challenges in providing safe and reliable transportation due to budget constraints and a shortage of qualified drivers.

School Transportation Statistics

  1. Approximately 25 million students ride school buses daily in the United States alone.
  2. The average school bus carries 54 passengers.
  3. In 2019, school buses traveled a total of 4.5 billion miles in the United States.
  4. School buses account for about 25% of all bus transportation in the United States.
  5. The annual cost of school transportation in the United States is approximately $22 billion.
  6. School buses are the safest mode of transportation for students to and from school.
  7. Over the past 10 years, the number of school buses in the United States has increased by 1.5% annually.
  8. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a decrease in the number of students riding school buses.
  9. School transportation has a lower carbon footprint than private vehicles, with school buses emitting up to six times less CO2 per passenger.
  10. School buses are responsible for reducing traffic congestion in the United States.
Table 1: Reasons for school bus driver shortage
Reason for driver shortagePercentage
Retiring drivers42%
Competition for drivers44%
Availability of benefits38%
Hours available to work38%
Time to secure a CDL38%
Table 2: School transportation statistics
Low income families without vehicles20%
Low income families with at least one vehicle80%
Non-low income families without vehiclesLess than 1%
Non-low income families with at least one vehicle99%
Number of yellow school buses in service daily479,867
School bus related fatalities in 202054
School bus related fatalities (2011-2020)Occupants of other vehicles: 70%
Pedestrians: 16%
School bus passengers: 5%
School bus drivers: 5%
Pedalcyclists: 3%
School bus related injuries (2011-2020)School bus passengers: 33%
School bus drivers: 8%
Occupants of other vehicles: 54%
Proportion of students who take a school bus to schoolLow income families: Majority
Non-low income families: Majority
Proportion of special needs transportation18% of students require special needs
Proportion of students using seat belts in school buses20%
Proportion of children achieving recommended physical35%

School Transportation Facts

  1. The first school bus was a horse-drawn carriage that transported students in New York in 1827.
  2. School buses have a standardized color, known as National School Bus Yellow.
  3. School buses have to meet strict safety standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  4. School buses have a stop sign that extends from the left side of the bus to signal to other drivers to stop.
  5. In many states, it is illegal to pass a school bus that has its stop sign extended.
  6. School bus drivers undergo extensive training and background checks before being allowed to drive a bus.
  7. School buses are equipped with various safety features, such as emergency exits, flashing lights, and a crossing arm to keep students safe.
  8. In some rural areas, school buses are the only form of transportation available for students.

School Bus Safety Statistics

Ensuring the safety of students while they are being transported to and from school is a top priority for school districts. Here are some safety statistics related to school transportation:

  1. School buses are the safest way for students to get to and from school. Students are 70 times more likely to arrive at school safely on a school bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends.
  2. An estimated 95% of student fatalities in school transportation-related crashes are not on the bus, but outside of the bus.
  3. In the United States, an average of six school-age children die each year as passengers on school buses. This is a tiny fraction of the more than 400,000 school buses in operation.
  4. School bus drivers receive an average of 40 hours of training before getting behind the wheel of a bus.
  5. School buses are required to meet strict safety standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). School buses must have reinforced sides, cross-view mirrors, flashing red lights, and stop arms, among other safety features.

School Bus Fleet Statistics

School districts must ensure they have the right number of school buses to transport students safely and efficiently. Here are some school bus fleet statistics:

  1. There are more than 480,000 school buses in operation in the United States, making it the largest form of mass transportation in the country.
  2. The average school bus fleet size is 36 buses.
  3. About 60% of school buses are owned by school districts, while the rest are owned by private companies.
  4. The average age of a school bus in the United States is about 9 years old.
  5. A new school bus costs an average of $85,000 to $100,000.

Student Ridership Statistics

Student ridership statistics give insight into how many students are transported by school buses and what factors influence ridership. Here are some student ridership statistics:

  1. More than 25 million students in the United States ride school buses to and from school each day.
  2. Rural school districts are more likely to provide transportation services than urban school districts.
  3. The majority of school buses are used for daily transportation, with only 10% used for field trips and extracurricular activities.
  4. School bus ridership is influenced by factors such as distance to school, weather, and the availability of other forms of transportation.

School Transportation Funding Statistics

Funding is an essential component of school transportation. Here are some school transportation funding statistics:

  1. The cost of providing transportation services for students varies widely across the United States. In some states, the cost is less than $100 per student per year, while in others, it exceeds $1,000 per student per year.
  2. The cost of providing transportation services for students can account for up to 10% of a school district’s budget.
  3. The federal government provides some funding for school transportation through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). However, the majority of funding comes from state and local sources.
  4. School districts are increasingly turning to grants and partnerships with outside organizations to supplement their transportation budgets.

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