Public Transportation Is Good for Kids

Using transit gives children experiences, skills, and perspectives that they won’t get riding in a car.

December 10, 2018, 8:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink

Child on Train

Creative Commons CC0 / pxhere

Nidhi Gulati writes that public transit offers much more than just a mode of transportation. For children, it provides opportunities for cognitive development, as they learn to navigate public transit systems. Less exposure to pollution and vehicle collisions also improves their health and well-being.

Furthermore, riding transit helps children with social skills and autonomy, lets them experience the built environment, and helps them better understand their place in it, says Gulati:

Children who ride the bus or train know how the world around them looks, sounds and feels, allowing them the opportunity to develop a more acute social awareness. It also exposes them to the various mini-interactions — from saying hello to strangers, the courtesy nod, pardoning yourself before brushing past someone, politely asking for a seat on a crowded bus or tackling less than desirable elements — all staples on the humble bus.

In addition, traveling by transit gives parents more chances to engage directly with their children than they might have while driving, notes Gulati. Transit is also crucial in providing adults access to job opportunities, affordable housing, and other services—factors that in turn influence and improve the lives of children.

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