A pie chart of Franklin student transportation preferences. 31.8% of the surveyed students walk to school frequently (chart made on metachart.com).

Students get themselves to Franklin in a variety of ways, from walking and biking, to public transit. Some claim to use less common means, such as senior Lev Michaels’ favorite mode of transportation, “Oscar pulls me in a tuk tuk.” As the school year began, my goal was to find the most popular modes of transportation among Franklin students. 

The survey that I shared via Instagram allowed people to select one or more of five modes of transportation that they use most often: walking, busing, cycling, driving, and carpooling. 

Based on the 30 responses that I received from the survey, walking to school is the most popular mode of transportation amongst the surveyed Franklin students, with 31.8% frequently walking to and from school. Franklin student Bella Walker (12), who lives close to Franklin, says that “it would probably be more inconvenient to use any other mode of transportation.” Walking is very convenient for students who live near Franklin because it is easy, free, and consistent. However, getting to school can be more of an ordeal for students who live outside of walking distance.

In second place to walking is driving; about 29.5% of the surveyed students drive themselves or are driven to school by a parent. For those who have access to a car, driving can be very efficient. Driving everyday, on the other hand, also has its drawbacks. Firstly, parking spots around Franklin are scarce. Due to the huge amount of teachers, staff, and students competing for a limited amount of parking, finding a spot within a couple blocks of the school building can prove to be a challenge. Furthermore, driving has become costly with the increase in fuel prices, in addition to the cost of regular vehicle maintenance. Oh, and another setback of driving… climate change and CO2 emissions. If only you could drive without having to worry about any of this! 

That’s right, I’m talking about… carpooling! Let your chauffeur pay for gas! Let them find parking! On top of that, you can also catch up with your friends on the way to school or on the way home. But despite these perks, carpooling requires a certain amount of trust in your driver to be on time. Maybe this is the reason that only 9.1% of the students that filled out the survey said that they carpool often. For possibly the same reason, there was a relatively low percentage of these students that commute using public transportation, at 15.9%.

All PPS high school students have a student ID card that doubles as an unlimited free Trimet Hop Card pass. This makes public transit widely accessible to most of the Portland metro area, a very useful resource for high school students. Franklin student Leaf McQuillen (10) takes advantage of the Trimet bus, explaining that “the bus takes me right to school and is less than a one block walk [from my house].” 

For others, Trimet is a less convenient resource. “I prefer to be driven to school because it is a lot more time efficient,” writes Sophia Goble (12). “The bus is a 10-20 minute walk from my house so I have to get up early when I take it to school.” In addition, you may have to wait for the bus to arrive before you can get on, which can be very unpredictable. And, in rare cases, a bus may be canceled, causing lengthy delays of 15 minutes or longer as passengers wait for the next bus (this happened to me and it made me 10 minutes late to class). Despite these unappealing situations, riding the bus is cheap, easy to navigate, and eco-friendly. 

Speaking of eco-friendly, let’s talk about… biking! Only 13.6% of the surveyed students bike to Franklin on a regular basis. This is rather unsurprising to me (I biked to and from school every day for two years, rain or shine), because most people don’t like to be sweaty, out of breath, or soaked in rain when they arrive at school. But, if you live too far to walk, don’t have easy access to a car or bus, and are looking for a little workout, biking might be just the thing for you.

It was pleasing to see the high percentage of students that walk to school; however, the almost equally high percentage of students that drive and low percentage of students that carpool tells me that carpooling could be used more often by Franklin students. Carpooling, along with public transit, are much more environmentally friendly than driving. If you have ever wondered how Franklin students commute, now you know!

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