The implications of school choice on travel behavior and environmental emissions

Elizabeth J. Wilson, Ryan Wilson, Kevin J. Krizek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


We examine the implications of school choice on walkability, school travel mode and overall environmental emissions. In developing this proof-of-concept model we show-and quantify-differences between city-wide schools and their neighborhood school counterpart. Our analysis demonstrates how children attending city-wide schools may have heightened travel distance, greenhouse gas emissions, and exposure to bus fumes. Using available data along with a series of informed assumptions we figure the city-wide school had six times fewer children walking, 4.5 times as many miles traveled, 4.5 times the system cost, and 3-4.5 times the amount of criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. By providing bus service, the overall miles traveled (and resulting emissions) decreased 30-40% compared to the scenario without bus service, however system costs were higher for both the neighborhood and city-wide school (no pollution externality costs were factored in).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-518
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Child travel
  • Environmental impact
  • School choice
  • School transportation


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