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Key Initiative

Changing the School Commute

Move Minnesota is helping create the next generation of confident public transit riders through our work with high school students in the Twin Cities.

The Issue

High school is a pivotal time for building independence and learning life skills. For the past half century, independence has been synonymous with learning to drive and getting a car. But car traffic at arrival and dismissal times decreases safety around schools for students walking, biking, and rolling–and also increases congestion, air pollution, and climate pollution in our communities. These issues have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic due to school bus driver shortages, which have further encouraged driving to school.

The Solution

We can help foster independence by empowering young adults to use transit safely and successfully. Move Minnesota has partnered with Twin Cities high schools to dive deep into the challenges and opportunities facing school transportation and high school students. Using a lens of environmental stewardship and life skills development, our team is helping to motivate behavior change and build a cultural shift to normalize public transit use among high school students. Our work elevates the voices and perspectives of young people on issues that matter to them around transportation.

Why It Matters

Ensuring youth are able to use public transit not only helps them get where they need to go today, it prepares them to be well-rounded, self-sufficient adults well into the future. By taking the bus or train to and from school, work, and after-school activities, high school students can learn to navigate their city for daily trips, and also connect their individual transportation decisions to real-world problems and solutions, like those tied to climate change.

Our Objective

Learning how to use public transit is an important skill that can help a high school student build independence and confidence. Our desire is to develop life-long transit users who understand their connections to the world around them and feel empowered to make a positive contribution to society. To achieve this, we work to:

  • Listen to the concerns of high school students and learn about the barriers they encounter.
  • Teach high schoolers the basics of how to use Metro Transit.
  • Help high schoolers discover the connections between public transit use and clean air, financial health, and community connection.
  • Empower students to change their commute choices from car rides to public transit, and to continue this way of getting around into their adulthood.

Move Minnesota is a valuable partner.

Erica Wacker, Saint Paul Public Schools Administration
Speaking to on decarbonizing schools

Public Transit Serves Students

  • Saint Paul high schools located within a half mile of a high-frequency transit route are a special focus of this programming.
  • In 2022, Metro Transit had 54 participating high schools using Student Pass, the unlimited pass program for high school students, with 15,508 passes in use. 
  • “The share of teenagers with driver’s licenses in the 16-19 age group declined from 64 percent in 1995 to just under 40 percent in 2021.”
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Move Minnesota is partnering with middle and high schools in Minneapolis and Saint Paul to help students and their families transition to public transit.

What We Can Offer

  1. In-classroom instruction to teach students the basics of how to take public transit to school and for everyday trips. We have curriculum ready to be integrated into the classroom.
  2. Experiential transit trips for students. We will teach trip planning skills, tips for boarding the bus, how to transfer, and navigating public spaces.
  3. Fun, interactive transit education-based activities for students, educators, and parents at community and school-centered events.
  4. Support to educators who are teaching their students transit as a life skill.
  5. Resources to support educators, parents and caregivers, like helpful one-pagers on “Preparing Students for Transit” and “Safety for Students on Public Transit

Students and Parents Say

“I think riding transit has done a lot for my son’s confidence.

– Erin H., Parent and Volunteer | Saint Paul Public Schools

“Riding transit to school has given me skills for adulthood I don’t know where else I’d learn.

– High School Student | Saint Paul Public Schools

I’m the kid who wanted to talk about transit!… I enjoyed talking to [Move Minnesota] at the jobs fair.”

– High School Student | Saint Paul Public Schools

“It’s more convenient for [my student] to take transit because we can ride it together as I commute to work.”

– Parent | Saint Paul Public Schools

“More knowledge about routes would help, [and] knowing how to ride the bus.”

– High School Student| Saint Paul Public Schools


Twin Cities Educators, School Staff, Parents, and Caregivers

Let our team assist in teaching students how to take public transit. If you are affiliated with a local middle or high school and would like to know more or get involved, please reach out!