A global study of 11 countries found that 26 percent of adults send their children to school via a “school bus” or related vehicle. However, more than half of the adults agree that communities need to do more to make streets and roadways safer for students traveling to and from school.
Morning Consult sampled 22,000 adults in the online survey conducted between Oct. 9 and Oct. 26. It was commissioned by reflective sheeting patent holder 3M. Participants live in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
In addition to taking school buses, at least the regulated yellow types that operate across North America, the survey found that the other top ways children get to school are walking (39 percent), riding in a personal passenger vehicle (36 percent), and taking public transportation (22 percent.) Editor’s note — The survey allowed for more than one answer to be selected.
Plus, almost half of the respondents stated that they are very concerned or somewhat concerned about transportation and roadway safety when children are traveling to and from school. The survey also reported that 29 percent of adults are most concerned about transportation and roadway safety during longer trips outside of the community, while 18 percent are most concerned when children are traveling to and from school.
When asked specifically on parental concerns about getting their children to and from school safely, 38 percent said they are very concerned, and 34 percent stated they are somewhat concerned. Additionally, 44 percent of respondents said they believe overall transportation access is an issue in their community. Seventy-eight percent of adults either strongly or somewhat agree that their communities need to do more to make streets safe for children traveling to and from school.
In terms of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, 33 percent of adults stated that overall transportation has become more dangerous.
“The results of our global survey reaffirm that improving road and transportation safety around the world must remain a top priority, especially as the number of traffic collisions rises in many countries,” stated Dan Chen, president of 3M’s transportation safety division, which manufactures Diamond Grade School Bus Marking Series. “As many of us are making travel plans for the first time in almost two years, our mission to help get families home safely has never been more important.”
North America Representation
When looking at only U.S. respondents, which are comprised of 2,000 adults, the survey stated two-thirds said they are concerned about getting their child to and from school safely. Plus, 48 percent of Americans said their children travel by car to school, whereas 38 percent stated their children travel via the school bus.
Additionally, 16 percent take public transportation, 15 percent walk, 8 percent travel via a motorcycle, 7 percent travel on a bicycle, another 7 percent take a taxi or rideshare, 6 percent stated they scooter and another 6 percent said not applicable. The question was multiple-choice, with more than one answer allowed.
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The survey also found that many Americans experienced heightened concerns about transportation and roadway safety since the onset of COVID-19. Thirty-five percent of Americans say they believe transportation has become more dangerous due to the pandemic. Additionally, 40 percent of 18- to 34-year-old respondents reported that a close family member or friend was seriously injured or killed in a traffic collision, more than any other age group surveyed, with almost half of those incidents taking place over the last 18 months.
U.S. traffic-related fatalities also increased throughout the pandemic. The survey noted the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data that seems to confirm American perceptions reported in the survey, with “… the number of U.S. traffic deaths in the first six months of 2021 hit 20,160 — the highest first-half total since 2006, and more than 18 percent higher than the first half of 2020”
Canada also was represented by about 2,000 adults, with 62 percent of them indicating they are concerned about their children traveling to and from school safely. Meanwhile, 71 percent of respondents agreed that their local communities should do more to make streets safe for children traveling to and from school. They also reported that 40 percent of their children get to school via a personal vehicle, 36 percent walk, and 26 percent take the school bus.