, Director, State & Local Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
In 2008, the United Way of 1000 Lakes identified transportation as a key barrier in Itasca County, Minnesota. That work noted that these transportation problems most specifically impacted low income workers, students, and senior populations in Itasca County. A subsequent study by the Humphrey School identified a number of strategies to address these issues. Regarding student transportation, the study recommended a number of items, including the creation of an After School Circulator program that would extend transportation services to students after school hours. A question was raised regarding the feasibility of using school buses to provide additional transit options to all members of the general public. The Humphrey School team subsequently examined this question, finding that while such arrangements are permissible under Minnesota law, funding for such service needs to be identified and significant coordination between school districts and potential users is required.
This research builds upon the findings and recommendations of both the Area Transportation Study and follow-up work on use of school buses to enhance transportation options for students in Itasca County. Geo-spatial analysis methods, focus groups, and research into best practices were used to identify possible transportation options for students in Itasca County.