Here’s why school buses are always yellow

Back in April 1939 and armed with a $5,000 grant supplied by the Rockefeller Foundation, Columbia University Teachers College professor Frank Cyr took a tour of ten states to gauge the extent of school transportation issues. What he found proved that student transportation was in a sorry state—many students had no dependable way to get to school and the ones who did often traveled in unsafe, unstandardized buses in the over 100,000 school districts that existed back then (in contrast to the roughly 13,000 that exist today). One of the huge variations in school transportation that he saw? Bus color.

Seeing a need to fix this system, Cyr organized a conference—one that would change the future of school buses forever. School officials and transportation specialists convened to set much-needed standards for buses, including those for color, height, and width as well as safety rules that hadn’t previously been set or that varied by state.

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20. Emory University (Goizueta) (GA)

Full-time enrollment: 350

2016-2017 tuition: $57,000 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 33.1 percent

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19. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) (PA)

Full-time enrollment: 428

2016-2017 tuition: $61,440 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 30.3 percent

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18. University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)

Full-time enrollment: 574

2016-2017 tuition: $40,015 per year (in-state); $56,138 per year (out-of-state)

2016 acceptance rate: 36.4 percent

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17. University of Texas—Austin (McCombs)

Full-time enrollment: 521

2016-2017 tuition: $34,296 per year (in-state); $50,296 per year (out-of-state)

2016 acceptance rate: 28 percent

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16. Cornell University (Johnson) (NY)

Full-time enrollment: 580

2016-2017 tuition: $61,584 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 27.6 percent

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15. University of California—Los Angeles (Anderson)

Full-time enrollment: 734

2016-2017 tuition: $52,272 per year (in-state); $55,159 per year (out-of-state)

2016 acceptance rate: 20.7 percent

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14. University of Virginia (Darden)

Full-time enrollment: 678

2016-2017 tuition: $57,790 per year (in-state); $60,108 per year (out-of-state)

2016 acceptance rate: 26.5 percent

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12 (tie). Duke University (Fuqua) (NC)

Full-time enrollment: 896

2016-2017 tuition: $63,200 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 22.1 percent

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12 (tie). New York University (Stern)

Full-time enrollment: 790

2016-2017 tuition: $66,588 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 23.1 percent 

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11. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor (Ross)

Full-time enrollment: 801

2016-2017 tuition: $59,350 per year (in-state); $64,350 per year (out-of-state)

2016 acceptance rate: 26.3 percent

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9 (tie). Columbia University (NY)

Full-time enrollment: 1,326

2016-2017 tuition: $68,792 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 14.1 percent

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9 (tie). Yale University (CT)

Full-time enrollment: 694

2016-2017 tuition: $64,200 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 19 percent

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8. Dartmouth College (Tuck) (NH)

Full-time enrollment: 567

2016-2017 tuition: $66,390 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 22.4 percent

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7. University of California—Berkeley (Haas)

Full-time enrollment: 502

2016-2017 tuition: $56,009 per year (in-state); $57,560 per year (out-of-state)

2016 acceptance rate: 12 percent

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4 (tie). Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

Full-time enrollment: 809

2016-2017 tuition: $67,938 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 11.7 percent

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4 (tie). Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL)

Full-time enrollment: 1,301

2016-2017 tuition: $66,462 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 20.1 percent

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4 (tie). Stanford University (CA)

Full-time enrollment: 833

2016-2017 tuition: $66,540 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 6 percent

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3. University of Chicago (Booth)

Full-time enrollment: 1,185

2016-2017 tuition: $66,540 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 23.6 percent

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1 (tie). Harvard University (MA)

Full-time enrollment: 1,871

2016-2017 tuition: $63,675 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 10.7 percent

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1 (tie). University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

Full-time enrollment: 1,708

2016-2017 tuition: $67,516 per year

2016 acceptance rate: 19.6 percent

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There were many different bus colors in the United States before this conference; several districts even planned to have red, white, and blue buses as a way of promoting patriotism among students. Cyr presented his new options to education officials, a reported “50 shades ranging from lemon yellow to deep orange-red.” The matter was settled quickly. Yellow, or “National School Bus Glossy Yellow,” as it is officially called by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, was chosen for its high visibility and the way it emphasized the bold, black writing that would be on the side of each bus to denote its respective school district, important factors for vehicles that travel during early morning and late afternoon hours. Color has always been important to our daily routine—check out the reason our traffic lights are red, yellow, and green. Thirty-five states made the changes promptly, and every state was on board by 1974.

Dubbed the “father of the yellow school bus,” Frank Cyr’s legacy has definitely affected your life if you ever rode a school bus or saw that familiar hue pulling up to your stop on a dusky morning. Now, find out the 12 things your child’s school bus driver wishes you knew.

The post Here’s Why School Buses Are Always Yellow appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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