Decision Tools for Assessing Transportation Impacts of School Policy and School Choice- FY09 Tech Plan

Principal Investigator(s):

Elizabeth Wilson, Former Associate Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


  • Julian Marshall, Former Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

School transportation decisions are made within a context of declining school budgets, increasing fuel costs, statewide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rising obesity rates in children. This study is at the nexus of important issues directly affecting transportation and technology. This research focused on developing a prototype analysis tool for the St. Paul school district, which could eventually be expanded to other districts in the state and nation. The tool is designed to robustly assess (1) children's travel to school, (2) effects of school transportation policy on school bus travel, and (3) specific environmental impacts of school bus transportation policy. Estimating current and future travel needs and quantifying differences in service, miles traveled, greenhouse gas emissions, and child exposure rates can assist policy makers in spending limited education dollars. Analyzing school bus transportation costs through multiple school choice scenarios makes it possible to evaluate the impacts of school choice policy on school transportation.


Project details:

  • Project number: 2009044
  • Start date: 08/2008
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Planning