PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — This year is the 25th anniversary of International Walk + Roll to School Day, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation wants more students and their families to participate.

Walking, biking or rolling to school, as opposed to being transported in a vehicle, gives kids more opportunities to spend time outdoors and also improves the air quality.

Portland is already well-known for its biking culture, and has been recognized by the likes of The New York Times and Forbes for ranking among the top bike-friendly cities.

In fact, one Alameda Elementary School Teacher has already encouraged students to swap out their yellow school bus for a “bike bus” as a part of their morning routine.

In Sept. 2022, KOIN 6 reported, “The bike bus rolls out every Wednesday morning, rain or shine, and it usually has between 130 and 170 kids riding along.”

The teacher who leads the bike bus, Sam Balto, recently celebrated having 30% of the elementary school students participating in the ride.

PBOT’s Safe Routes to School program has also led the effort to provide alternative ways to get to school. The program serves more than 100 schools by implementing safe pick-up and drop-off practices, teaching students about traffic safety and more, according to the city of Portland.

“I’m immensely proud of the work our Safe Routes to School team has accomplished by working with schools and families to get more kids walking or biking to class,” PBOT Director, Chris Warner, said. “In our family, walking and rolling with our children to school when they were young was a delightful daily ritual. I’m excited to see so many schools across our area have planned events to commemorate the day. It’s amazing to see Portland families developing the habit of biking, walking, and rolling during their morning commute to school.”

To help with the success of International Walk + Roll to School Day, the Safe Routes to School program has given supplies and prizes, such as reflective shoelaces and stickers, to 21 schools throughout Portland.

“Nothing brings a smile to my face like seeing Portland students geared up on their way to school,” Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said. “PBOT continues to make data-driven decisions to improve infrastructure and street crossings near Portland’s approximately 120 schools to get drivers to slow down and encourage more families to come together as they walk and roll to school.”