The Walking Bus Guide By T. Allatt and S. Marshall Lollypop Publishing Pounds 25 www.thewalkingbus.co.uk
A walking bus is an escorted group of children walking to and from school, picking up and dropping off "passengers" at predetermined points. It's a simple idea, and it's easy to see the advantages: car use is reduced, children get exercise and socialise more, parents can get off to work (or join the walk). Importantly, too, children are introduced early, as escorted pedestrians, to the skills of dealing with traffic. There are lots of variations: in a rural area the route might be "walk plus bus", for example, or "bus plus walk".
There are dozens of issues and risk assessments to address: finding and training adult escorts; choosing routes; fixing insurance; gaining the support of parents, school and LEA. It's likely that many embryonic walking bus discussions never make it to the street. That's where this book comes in. Written by two women with direct experience of sustainable transport initiatives in general and walking buses in particular, it covers all the detail, including photocopiable leaflets and posters. Most importantly, the authors emphasise that although the walking bus seems like a fun idea, it's actually a very serious, highly organised project: "Always bear in mind," they remind us, "that walking bus rules are deliberately very regimented for extremely good reasons."