Within BVSD's Transportation Dept. sits a two person operation called TO School. Its responsibility is to reduce car trips to and from schools to make school zones healthier and safer for children. TO School hosts Safe Routes to School programs, annual walk and bike to school days, and last year helped to lobby successfully for an EcoPass program for its 4000 staff members.
One of its more recent innovations is Trip Tracker, a program that encourages and rewards walking, biking, busing and carpooling to school. Students are rewarded monthly with Trip Tracker Dollars that they can spend like real cash at participating, kid-friendly local businesses like ice cream and frozen yogurt shops, a local fun park (mini-gold, go-karts, batting cages, etc.), a used book store, a used sporting goods store, coffee shops and restaurants.
Last year Trip Tracker was in three middle schools and parents reported that it motivated their families to save over 100,000 miles of school driving. This year the program is in 12 schools including elementary, middle and high schools with over 1000 students actively participating. The Trip Tracker Dollar rewards are based on parents reporting monthly trip numbers via an emailed survey and the dollars are distributed in school cafeterias during lunch. Distribution is done primarily by parent volunteers as the program transitions into increased parent involvement and support. Students throng to the Trip Tracker table to get their dollars and happily wave them about and show them to their friends. More and more kids sign up each month.
The current list of participating businesses has grown to 17 with 23 locations. BVSD buys dollars back from local businesses at 50 cents on the dollar. Trip Tracker has been able to support its buyback program through local grants and limited fundraising from participating parents. They expect to give out over $50,000 in Trip Tracker dollars this year that will go right back in to the local economy (locally-owned businesses only). Further information about the program is available at bvsd.org/tracker.