The City of Carlsbad has partnered with Carlsbad and San Marcos Unified School Districts and six local schools to form a pilot carpool program that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing a safe and convenient way for parents to get their children to school.
In August, the Cool Rides School Carpool program has been launched at three schools in the Carlsbad Unified School District:
Aviara Oaks Elementary
Aviara Oaks Middle
The program will be launched at three additional schools in the spring of 2020.
The pilot project team consists of city staff members, social scientists and transportation consultants. They are working with school principals and parent-teacher associations to educate parents on the new program, recruit participants, and facilitate matching of potential carpoolers. The team members are attending back-to-school events at each school to distribute flyers and other tools to help parents interested in carpooling identify each other. Teachers have been asked to assist by introducing the carpool program during back-to-school night and providing parents with program materials.
Increasing carpooling at elementary and middle schools will help reduce vehicle miles traveled and time spent queued up with engines idling, which spews exhaust fumes into the air. Fewer cars on the road can also reduce traffic congestion in local neighborhoods.
For parents, carpooling means fewer days in drop-off and pick-up lines, so they can get to work earlier or have time to do other things. For students, it’s a fun way to start the day with fellow classmates. Carpooling can reduce school traffic at drop-off and pick-up times, making those periods safer and less stressful.
Promoting carpooling by parents of schoolchildren is another tactic the City of Carlsbad is employing to meet the goals of its Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce emissions of such greenhouse gases as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The plan’s goals emerged during the community’s Envision Carlsbad process, which identified sustainability as one of the City of Carlsbad’s core values.
City of Carlsbad Climate Action Plan Administrator Mike Grim said that joining a carpool can have several benefits.
“The Cool Rides School Carpool program will improve air quality at the schools and in the surrounding community by putting fewer vehicles on the road,” Grim said. “It not only will benefit the climate, but it will build community by connecting neighbors.”
City staff and transportation consultants will use the Cool Rides pilot program to develop an effective school carpooling program that they can apply to other schools.