Often Overlooked Effects of Reliable Transportation
When we look at the effects of families with reliable transportation, oftentimes we focus on the very easy to correlate: getting to school on time, not missing job opportunities that mean further commutes, being able to more easily participate in extracurriculars, not spending hours on public transit. However, a family with reliable transportation also benefits from the education levels achievable, the social skills built, and the quality of family time spent together.
Transportation & Education
The Urban Institute and several other entities have spent time looking at the effect of reliable transportation on a child’s education. From getting to school on time and avoiding tardiness, students benefit from not having to rely on a public mode of transportation like buses. Buses offer a sufficient option for families without their own vehicle, but this mode creates more chances of unpredictable lateness, more time spent in transit, and more time waiting for the bus (often in unsafe conditions).
Not only are kids more likely to be involved in extracurricular activities if they have a reliable transportation option, they are also more likely to attend schools with better academic performance. When families have their own mode of reliable transportation, they have the choice to drive their kids to a preferred school. This often means they have the opportunity to score better test scores, attend higher quality of programs, and participate with better peer groups.
Social Skills Learned
For many kids, after school programs are where they spend their afternoons. Some of these programs focus on the academic tutoring side while others promote athleticism, art, or interest groups. Whatever the interest, extracurricular activities have proven time and time again to improve not only a student’s academic performance but their social skills as well.
If a student does not have reliable and safe transportation, they are less likely to build social relationships with peers and authority figures that can impact how they see themselves and plan their future. Part of having better social skills means students develop a better self image and coping mechanisms. In order for kids to develop emotional maturity, they need consistent and positive social interactions that are often missed by those unable to participate in afterschool activities.
Just as important as the availability of transportation to and from school or extracurriculars is the quality time spent with family members. For many students, anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple of hours are spent in transit each school day. This limits the amount of time they get to spend with their siblings, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and other family members.
Studies have shown that spending quality time with family helps with cognitive development and resilience while decreasing feelings of depression and aggression. So, time with family helps us grow and staves off some of the negative results of being alone. Families with students and guardians who use public transportation are spending the time they would normally devote at home to family in transit. This is an easy fix that can affect entire communities.
The effects of reliable transportation are all positive. There are places in the country where reliable public transportation is available, however, more often than not, families are wasting valuable time in transit. It seems unfair that some kids should suffer loss of development simply due to an unpredictable transportation system.
If you want to help kids grow and their families progress, join us at The HUB Garage in our mission to provide reliable transportation.