UDOT develops app to encourage kids to walk to school

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HOLLADAY, Utah -- The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) developed a new app to try to get more kids walking to school. Some parents in Holladay have been using the 'Walking School Bus' app.

"Over the last 25 years, we've seen a decrease in the number of kids walking and biking to school by about 65 percent. That`s a big deal," said Cherissa Wood, UDOT School and Pedestrian Safety Manager.

UDOT came up with the idea for the Walking School Bus app two year ago, after seeing a significant drop in the number of kids walking to and from school.

"It gets groups together, encourages people to walk and for them to feel like their kids are safe walking to school," said Darci Hall, a parent of two children at Howard Driggs Elementary,
Hall will be in charge of walking the group of kids whose parents have signed them up. She said the ability to send group messages within the app gives her peace of mind.

"When you get to school, you can alert the other parents that their children are safe. I think parents love to hear that my children have made it," Hall said.

Parents have the ability to deny access to people they don't want in the group, according to Cherissa Wood, UDOT School and Pedestrian Safety Manager.

The app also tracks the distance walked, calories burned and emissions saved. It is free and available for iPhone and Android.

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