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  • Writer's pictureSheila Islam

Youth Task Force Puts Students in Charge of Their Transportation Futures

Updated: Apr 16

One pillar of TransForm’s Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) High School Program is the Youth Task Force (YTF). The Youth Task Force has been around for over a decade and now includes students from more than 40 schools. Four times during the school year, a group of high school students gathers to plan upcoming events to encourage their peers to walk, bike, roll, or take shared transit to school and activities.

Between 15 and 23 students representing 12 high schools attend each Youth Task Force meeting to plan events like International Walk & Roll to School Day, the Golden Sneaker Contest, Reboot Your Commute, and Bike to School Day. The YTF also comes together to work on student-led activities, like themed walk and roll to school days, elementary school engagement, and student transportation problem-solving projects, to name a few. 

Some Youth Task Force meetings include inspirational speakers. For example, Haleema Baroocha, TransForm’s 2023 summer intern who authored our Ride Fearlessly report on transit safety, recently spoke about the Not One More Girl safety initiative she helped create that centers girls and gender-expansive youth in reimagining safety for riders on BART.

“Youth Task Force gives students the opportunity to learn about transportation advocacy in a hands-on way rather than theoretical,” says Stephanie Jim, Safe Routes to Schools Program Co-Director. “Our hope is to nurture and inspire the next generation of green transportation champions.”

Task force members extend their efforts beyond scheduled SR2S events. Two students at Irvington High School in Fremont, junior Katie Fong and senior Madi Ding, created and conducted a survey of their classmates. The questions helped assess attitudes about transit and the level of safety youth experienced getting around in their community. The survey found that almost 65% of students traveled 10 minutes or longer to get to school, and over half got to school by car. Around 20% reported changing their commute mode in recent years, showing the potential for Youth Task Force members to help their peers try walking, rolling, or taking transit. 

It’s not too late for high school students to join the Youth Task Force. Some high schools recognize the Youth Task Force service as volunteer community hours that fulfill the requirements of certain classes, and the experience is an asset on resumes and college applications. Students can use this form to sign up. 

YTF is a fun way to connect with other young people interested in green transportation, get community service hours, and support your school community in discovering the joy of active and shared transportation. 


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