ERIC Number: EJ759537
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jul-13
Reference Count: N/A
Sack, Joetta L.
Education Week, v24 n42 p32-35 Jul 2005
Loudoun County, Virginia has seen a population explosion since the early 1990s, going from just over 50,000 residents to about 250,000 today. And its growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future as demand for housing pushes Washington's suburbs farther and farther outward. The school system's enrollment of 44,014 students is more than double the 18,270 students enrolled 10 years ago. Further, the district predicts it will have more than 63,000 students in another five years. Such growth "keeps the [school bus] routing system in chaos," says Michael Lunsford, the district's director of transportation. Each day, his staff pores over computerized maps to design bus routes that pick up the most students while avoiding the most congested routes. With an average of five new schools opening in the district each year, the transportation division spends its summers overhauling bus routes. Most routes have been downsized, either picking up fewer students or going to one less school, to deal with the increased traffic. One contributor to the congestion is the way school sites are planned, some school facility researchers say. Most high-growth districts are not planning well for schools and are not focusing on building small community schools. Increased traffic congestion has led to other problems: The number of minor accidents in Loudoun County involving school buses has increased in recent years. The district has not, however, had any serious injuries of students or its drivers in several years. The Loudoun County district is fortunate to have a sophisticated dispatch system to help manage its transportation fleet. The control room, which is a showcase for modern communications, is open 24 hours a day to monitor security at schools.
Descriptors: Transportation, Counties, Community Schools, School Buses, Enrollment, Population Growth, Employees, School Districts, Elementary School Students, Middle School Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia; Virginia