Providing Free or Reduced-Fare Student Bus Passes to Reduce Truancy

At a Glance:

Location: Los Angeles, California

Date: 2013

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Lifelong Learning

Determinants of Health: adverse childhood experiences,education,justice system

Affected Population: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, Children and Youth, People Living in Poverty

Research Methods: Literature review, Quantitative research

Community Types: urban

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This health impact assessment (HIA) evaluated the potential academic, health, and economic impacts of subsidizing the costs of student bus passes in Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles County School Attendance Task Force (SATF) was interested in developing a program to further subsidize the cost of bus passes for low-income students in order to increase school attendance. During town hall meetings hosted by the SATF, students cited transportation as a major barrier to school attendance, and suggested developing a free or subsidized bus pass program. Providing access to free or affordable transportation options can affect student school attendance, the financial stability of their families, arrests and court referrals for fare evasion, and their ability to access community resources. These factors are likely to have a short-term impact on students’ educational attainment, on their likelihood to engage in criminal activities, and on their own and their families’ stress levels. Student educational attainment has the potential to influence a variety of intermediate and long-term health determinants, including incarceration, teen pregnancy, substance misuse, and mental health. In addition, increasing financial resources for families can allow them to spend money on health-promoting goods and services, including healthy food and preventive services.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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