An Analysis of Special Needs Student Busing

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

policy - disability, mode - bus, place - north america, ridership - young people


special needs children, bus transportation, disability, health and safety


Population growth can lead to public school capacity issues as well as increased school bus utilization, which, in turn, can result in longer school bus transport times for regular and special needs students. Special needs or medically fragile students are children with special health care needs who are at increased health and safety risk. It is common practice to provide special needs students with specially-equipped buses and/or special classroom environments with specific facilities or services. However, the assignment of student services to schools is regularly made without regard to bus transportation considerations for special needs students. Considering the potentially negative impact of long school bus rides on these students, we present the first systematic, integrated analyses of special needs student busing and classroom assignments. We provide models and algorithms for maintaining administration-based transportation financial performance measures while simultaneously designing smarter transportation networks considering both student geographical location and service needs.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by the Journal of Public Transportation, copyright remains with them.