One school bus can hold up to 80 elementary students or 50 middle school students. That can reduce a lot of pollution caused by cars that wait in long school drop-off lines. And as school buses become equipped with more efficient exhaust systems, the benefits for cleaner air are even greater.
Definition: TrafFIX— 16 buses to FIX Traffic. Half are circling Green Valley, Vista Grande, and Los Cerros Schools in Danville, and half are circling Walt Disney, Country Club, Neil Armstrong, and Pine Valley Schools. If 97% of your friends and neighbors recommend it, why not give it a try?! What other services get that vote of confidence—your auto mechanic, your dentist, your legislator?!
“Unmitigated success.” These strong words are being used to describe our program to “fix” commuter entanglements in the school traffic around targeted schools in the San Ramon Valley. And yes, it is “our” program because all of us are paying for the program through the Measure J sales tax for transportation in the San Ramon Valley (Passed with over 71% approval in 2004). Less than two years ago, a joint powers agreement among four government entities (Danville, San Ramon, Contra Costa County, and the SRV Unified School District) forged a congestion relief plan that paints our town “green.”
If our 16 TrafFIX buses were full, they could replace up to 1000 single car trips. That congregation of trips would save parent stress, whisk kids through intersections more safely and reduce air pollution. Nothing generates more air pollution than our cars—idling at the Caldecott Tunnel, idling at untimed stoplights, and idling on our school grounds. Luckily, the Tunnel construction has broken ground, Danville continues to refine its stoplight signal timing, and the TrafFIX program took off with unimagined success.
The TrafFIX directors surveyed 579 parents—343 who use the TrafFIX buses and 236 who don’t.
Result? Over ninety-two percent are very likely to use Traffix next year and 97.2% are likely to recommend TrafFIX to other parents. So who doesn’t ride the bus? Forty-one percent of those who don’t ride TrafFIX cite the short distance between their home and school. The remainder are likely to give it a try next fall.
Look at the statistics that are important to moms and dads:
Satisfied with buses: 100%
Reliability of bus schedules: 98%
Location of bus stops: 95%
On time performance: 95%
We touted a program that is Simple, Safe, and Smart. Use our website to determine the “simple” part. At RideTrafFIX.com, 49% are viewing bus route schedules, and 21% are purchasing bus passes on-line.
Finally, we get to the crucial question because this is, after all, a traffic reduction program, not a school program. Indeed the benefits for the school are a wonderful byproduct of taking time to send kids to school safely—keeping YOUR kids away from dangerous, unpredictable intersections—like Green Valley and Diablo Road.
QUESTION: Since the beginning of the school year, do you believe that traffic congestion near the school your children attend has improved? 86% of users and 75% of nonusers rate it MUCH IMPROVED!
Next year, we offer “more of the same”—same bell schedules at school, same safe drop off zones, same very strong support by school leaders, and virtually the same available routes. When you offer great service, “more of the same” is our best advertisement!
Karen Stepper is Vice-Mayor, Town of Danville and Chair of Traffix Congestion Relief. You can call the Town of Danville Transportation Department for a complete copy of the survey. If you have any questions, please write to Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views of the column represent the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the council.