History of VicHealth's Walking School Bus

Visit our Walk to School page for VicHealth's current work in this space. 

In Victoria in 2001, VicHealth led the development of the Walking School Bus Program. The program was piloted in four local council areas. Based on the success of the pilot, the program was expanded gradually over five phases to include 58 council areas.

All funding has been allocated. The final phase of VicHealth funding for the Walking School Bus program finishes in 2011.

The effectiveness of the Walking School Bus program has been analysed since its foundation. See the publications below.

Building on the successes and knowledge gained from running the Walking School Bus, VicHealth is now funding new programs aimed at getting children more physically active and independent.

At present, VicHealth is funding six councils to 2011 through its Streets Ahead program; this is a comprehensive and flexible project aimed at increasing children’s active transport and independent mobility in all aspects of their daily life, including getting to and from school.

Walking School Bus Pilot Program 2001–2002: Key learnings

In 2001, Victoria University was contracted by VicHealth to undertake a multi-project evaluation of the first 12 months of VicHealth's pilot Walking School Bus Program.

Walking the Walk

Between 2001 and 2007, 58 local councils and partnered organisations engaged schools to establish Walking School Buses. This report analyses the main facilitating factors and barriers to implementation by examining data collected between 2003 and 2005 from 12 council areas funded during phases 1 and 2 of the program.

It's more than just walking!

This is a research report (August 2007) that showcases the value-adding impact of the Walking School Bus Program on local environments and communities. The report highlights and illustrates improvements to the built environment in areas around Walking School Bus schools. The strengths and weakness of the program is also reported and a range of recommendations to increase the importance of active transport for school children have been identified.

Lively Neighbourhoods: Inspirational stories from Victoria's Walking School Buses

The success stories featured in this publication (August 2006) all demonstrate in their own way the impact a Walking School Bus Program has had on their community. The stories reflect one of four major themes: community connectedness, infrastructure improvements, diversity and inclusion, active transport initiatives. 

Participation rates

Many Victorian councils have implemented Walking School Bus programs. For information on participation numbers download: