Hundreds of Students Participate in San Francisco’s First-ever Carpool 2 School Week

Misha Olivas, parent at Creative Arts Charter School, driving her carpool to school 

Last month, more than 400 students carpooled to school in San Francisco’s first-ever Carpool 2 School Week. From March 10-14, 11 public, charter, and private schools participated in this inaugural event to encourage families who normally drive alone to school to try carpooling instead.

While more than 50 percent of elementary school families in San Francisco drive to school, less than five percent currently carpool. SF Environment launched Carpool 2 School Week to raise awareness about the benefits of carpooling and help families establish new carpools with similar commutes to school.

“One of my daughter's best school friends lives just a couple of blocks from us in Glen Park, yet both families drove separately to school each day,” said Allison Arieff, a parent at Children’s Day School, one of the schools participating in Carpool 2 School Week. For Arieff, Carpool 2 School Week gave her the encouragement she needed to give carpooling a try.

“We stopped talking about how great it would be to carpool and finally started doing it. For the last several weeks, we've been carpooling four out of five days to, and often back from, school and it's been transformative for all of us,” she added.

To encourage participation, families that carpooled to school during the week of March 10th and logged their trips on the free ridematching network were entered to win prizes. Three carpooling families at Alvarado, Sherman, and Alice Fong Yu elementary schools won prizes generously donated by the Bay Aquarium, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Creative Arts Charter School was named “Poolest School” in San Francisco for its active promotion of carpooling and strong family participation in Carpool 2 School Week. A total of 143 Creative Arts students carpooled over the course of the week, and 34 families signed up for– the most of any participating school.

Parents, principals, teachers, and school staff were critical in contributing to the success of Carpool 2 School Week and drawing attention to the benefits of carpooling. Families that choose to carpool, even just one or two days a week, help contribute to reduced congestion, better air quality, and safer streets around schools.

For families like Arieff’s, carpooling to school may be the new normal. “The kids are motivated to get out of the house on time so they can see each other, and the parents are happy to have the morning off. I can’t believe we didn't start doing this back in kindergarten!”

More information

Find a carpool partner now

San Francisco Safe Routes to Schools program 

Bike & Roll to School Week (April 21-25, 2014) 

SF Environment's School Education program