milton work session walking school bus

Milton Community Development Director Parag Agrawal presents plans for the Walking School Bus app at a July 13 City Council work session. As one of four grant recipients of Georgia Tech’s Georgia Smarts Community Challenge, the city used the funding to develop an interactive app that connects parents with children walking to and from area schools.

MILTON, Ga. — Milton’s Walking School Bus app is on track to be available for public use as soon as this fall.

The app, created in partnership with Georgia Tech, connects parents with students walking to and from school and allows users to coordinate group walks. The city has previously held public meetings to hear from the public on the app’s development.

Project planners presented the latest updates on the app, including a working prototype, at the July 13 City Council work session.

In 2019, Milton was one of four communities selected by Georgia Tech for its competitive Georgia Smarts Community Challenge. The program provides grant funding to governments in Georgia to implement smart community technology in their jurisdictions. Recipients partner with Georgia Tech researchers and gain access to the school’s technical assistance and advice.

The other three 2019 recipients are the City of Woodstock, Columbus Consolidated Government and Macon-Bibb County.

Milton decided to channel the funding into improving its Downtown Crabapple area, Community Development Director Parag Agrawal said. The area is currently undergoing a transformation to increase walkability and contains three local schools: Crabapple Crossing Elementary, Northwestern Middle and Milton High School.

The city ultimately decided to develop a Walking School Bus app to encourage students to walk together with a supervisor while improving safety for pedestrians. App features include tracking trip supervisors and live updates on when the trip is complete.

“Our project was rated as the highest-rated project in 2019,” Agrawal said. “The project is about technology. It’s about public health. It’s about the environment. It’s about transportation.”

Agrawal said planners hope that if the app proves successful, Fulton County Schools may implement it countywide.

Preliminary testing for the app is slated to begin in August, and Milton is planning to host an online event Aug. 24 to showcase the project. Once testing concludes, the app is expected to launch in September. The city is planning to monitor the app usage for the next three years.

Julia Grochowski is a Reporter with Appen Media Group and covers Roswell.

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