Best Practice Guide to Carpool Lanes


The school drop-off zone is a crowded, busy place during peak times, and it can lead to frustration for parents, school bus drivers, and anyone trying to supervise the drop-off and pick-up processes. Following best practices when it comes to carpool parking and carpool lanes can make the process smoother and safer for all involved. When your school manages the carpool lane well, you can actually encourage additional parents to set up carpools for their kids, further reducing traffic and helping to speed along the drop-off and pick-up lines.

hese three best practices for carpool parking and overall setup can help your school keep things moving along smoothly.

Start with a Great Design

The key to a successful carpool lane starts with a good design. You can read more about creating your drop-off zone in our blog post, but here are a few quick tips to help you get started:

  • Design the zone so that all traffic travels in the same direction
  • Mark the zones clearly with easily visible paint, signs, cones, and any other necessary markers
  • Keep carpool traffic separate from bus traffic
  • Designate a specific drop-off and pick-up zone large enough for 3 or 4 cars to load or unload at the same time.
  • Design the layout so that students walking or biking to school can access the school without passing through the drop-off zone, or so that they only pass through the zone once.

In addition, you will want to create a few parking spots specifically for carpoolers who need a little extra time loading or unloading. These spots should be located at the front of the drop-off lane, and should be positioned so that they don’t impede the flow of traffic.

Speed Up the Process With Strategies and Tools

There are a number of ways that you can speed up the drop-off and pick-up process.

  • Implement a vehicle tag policy, where each vehicle is provided an identification tag that corresponds to the students they are there to pick up. As the vehicle enters the loading area, the children can be quickly identified and can promptly enter the vehicle.
  • Provide assistants to help children into and out of cars. These assistants can be staff, parents, or volunteers, and act similarly to valets as they open doors, help with bags, and generally facilitate the process. Be sure that the assistants are equipped with safety vests.
  • Create an off-site queue lane. Depending on the design of your school property and the amount of space you have to work with, creating an off-site queue lane may help to keep the drop-off and pick-up process organized. This line can be located in a street adjacent to your school, and allows carpool vehicles to line up and proceed up through the on-site carpool lane. This design helps to keep carpool vehicles out of the way of general traffic and school bus traffic.
  • Develop and institute rules. Your school should design carpool rules and policies and implement these rules at the beginning of the school year. Common rules include no double parking, no dropping off children when outside of the drop-off zone, and no waiting for extended periods of time in the drop-off zone. Assistants present at the carpool lane should be familiar with these rules and should help to ensure that they are enforced.

Promote Carpooling Through the School

Carpooling allows a single driver to drop off or pick up multiple students at once, reducing the number of vehicles in the line and reducing the emissions released around the school building. Promoting carpooling is a great way to cut down on the congestion of your drop-off and pick-up lane.

With GoKid Connect, your school can help parents to plan carpools for kids. Through GoKid Connect, parents can:

  • View other school families on a map to determine which families live nearby
  • Filter the map by grade to find other students around their kids’ same age
  • Reach out and connect with other families through the app
  • Leave a note for other parents about the type of carpool they need 
  • Set up carpools

With 30% of the morning traffic in the U.S. coming from parents driving their kids to school, encouraging carpooling as a school transportation option won’t just benefit your school – it can help to reduce traffic and congestion on a whole.

Meta description: For a safer, more efficient school carpool lane, follow these best practices for carpool parking to keep drop-offs and pick-ups moving smoothly.

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