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Monday, 14 August, 2000, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Walking bus up for award
Walking bus makes its way to school
Safety in numbers: Clearly visible on the way to school
A scheme to encourage pupils to walk to school has been nominated for a national award.

The concept of the "walking bus" was launched in 1998 at Wheatfields Junior School in St Albans by Hertfordshire County Council.

Since then, a large number of similar schemes have sprung up across the country, and the organisers of the original are now in the running for a BBC People's Award.

The walking bus initiative involves children joining a "human bus" at designated "people stops" along fixed routes, to walk to school.

Adult and children wait to join the walking bus
Waiting to join the bus at a "people stop"

They are accompanied by adults acting as "driver" and "conductor", and wear fluorescent jackets to ensure they are visible to motorists.

The aim is to provide a healthy, safe and environmentally-friendly alternative to the school run.

The Wheatfields School scheme has proved popular with pupils.

When it started, only half of them walked to school. This figure has now risen to 80%.

When the school day finishes, pupils join one of four walking buses to get them home.

The BBC People's Awards are being held to honour outstanding achievement across the UK.

walking bus sign drawn by pupils
The walking bus is a popular alternative to the school run

BBC viewers, listeners and users have nominated groups and individuals who have affected their lives, in nine different categories.

Wheatfields School has been nominated in the innovation category designed to honour outstanding ingenuity.

A shortlist of nominees will be announced in September, when the public will get the chance to vote for the winners.

A ceremony to present the awards will be held in the Royal Albert Hall, London, on 6 October.

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See also:

08 May 00 | Education
'Walking bus' guide for schools
22 May 00 | Education
Pupils prefer gossip to school run
15 Jun 00 | Education
School run 'not filling roads'
30 Jun 99 | UK
School run under attack
19 May 99 | Education
'School runners' told to walk
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