AEFP 45th Annual Conference

Toward a Meaningful Impact through Research, Policy & Practice

March 19-21, 2020

Are We There Yet? Findings from a National, Cross-Sector Survey of Parents on K–12 Transportation

Andrew D. Catt, EdChoice,

Many families who choose to enroll their students in a school other than the one assigned to them encounter transportation challenges. This research looks at attitudes and issues of K–12 parents related to school transportation using approximately 1,500 responses to a national survey. Respondents include about 550 district school parents, about 350 charter school parents, about 350 religious private school parents, and about 200 non-religious private school parents. We explore differences in modes of transportation across different schooling sectors between the onset of the school year and after the school year has started and why changes occurred, how far and for how much time children of different schooling sectors travel to get to school, and parental satisfaction with school-provided transportation and differences across schooling sectors. We explore parents’ transportation experiences in inter- and intra-district choice environments, as well as charter and private school choice environments. We also explore what differences exist across community types, focusing on differences between those in small town/rural areas and those in urban/suburban areas. Results from our survey can provide policymakers, educators, and educational entrepreneurs important insight when attempting to provide and increase transportation options for all students.



I don´t know if you included a question that would address the location where the respondent lives or the level of urbanicity, or if you have enough representation of different levels of urbanicity or geographic regions, but it would be interesting to see how school transportation use or preferences differ for urban, suburban, and rural respondents.

Hi Ngaire, I have city or ZIP for school of attendance for nearly all respondents, and I have the name of school attending for the majority of respondents. I could definitely code for the locale based on school, and there's representation in the majority of geographic regions to segment them. I'm hoping to do this in a deeper dive analysis of the data after our organizational report is published in the coming months. I'm especially interested to see what differences emerge for small town/rural compared to suburban and urban. Thanks!

This is very interesting work here, Andrew. The question that this leads me to is whether TPS, charter, and private school parents in the same communities report similar or different experiences with transportation issues. TPS families may report the same issues within a school district or region as charter or private, or it may be different within a community. Of course, there could even be some incentive-driven preferences to make transportation less of a problem for private schools than charters, at least in areas where charter students equal a drop in revenue for the TPS while private school students do not. It would be really neat to survey families for transportation maps and compare routes based on school type.

Hi Greg, Since I have city and school name for the majority of respondents, I could eventually map by school child attended for hopefully a fair share of them. The downside is having to drop respondents who put initials of the school, such as FCS. Going by city alone might be the easier route. I like the idea of mapping out respondents and creating a variable for MSA or something similar. Access to family-level transportation maps would be amazing. I've gotten into drive-time analyses in the past couple of years and analyzing routes would be probably be a lot of fun, and thank you for the suggestion. I'm not sure of the best way to collect those though. Any ideas?

Great poster and interesting work. It rings true in terms of public discourse on charter schools and transportation, but I find the religious schools most interesting and why there might be differences between charters and religious schools.

This is really interesting Drew. I'd be interested to see what the results looked like if you were comparing schools in the same areas--it would be interesting to know to what extent differences in, say, perceptions of safety varied due to differences in locations.

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