School Transportation: An Educational Module & Cost Calculator to Support School Siting & Transportation Decision Making

(STRIDE #2013-032S)
Note: These courses and the information contained within are solely for educational purposes and are not to be used for profit.

To access the module and resource tool, contact Dr. Noreen McDonald at

This product makes the connection between school site selection, nearby residential development patterns and implications for school system transportation operations and costs. The school siting issue is included, and the STRIDE-funded education module (hosted on a UNC website) and school site selection decision support tool (referred to as the School Travel Cost Calculator, which estimates public and private transportation costs for potential school sites) is released for usage by the general public.

Description / Agenda for the Webinar
The public and private costs of school travel are substantial; for example the annual public cost of providing transportation to school in the U.S. is estimated at over $20 billion annually (Safe Routes to School National Partnership, 2012). Research in land use and transportation planning also suggests that there is a relationship between residential built environments surrounding a school site and school transportation mode rates and associated system operation costs.

1. Introduction to the connection between school siting and transportation
This webinar introduces research and school district practitioner perspectives connecting the residential built environment, school site selection and school transportation system planning. After providing a national overview of the issue, researchers will discuss the interconnected objectives and roles of educational facility planning and school transportation operations planning.

2. Findings from UNC / UF study on the local built environment and transportation costs
Following this introduction, the webinar will focus on the design and results from a study recently conducted in North Carolina and Florida that explores the intersection between the local built environment surrounding a school site and school transportation system costs.

3. Implications and Tools for Practice: Education Module and School Travel Cost Calculator
Lastly, the webinar will introduce practitioners, policy makers and student to an education module that provides in-depth information on the relationship between school site selection and transportation costs. In addition, the research team has developed a decision support tool that enables practitioners and stakeholders to compare estimated public and private transportation costs for different potential school sites based on local built environment and residential density factors.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Noreen McDonald
Associate Professor, UNC Chapel Hill

Dr. Ruth Steiner
Professor, University of Florida