How the School Bus Got Its Yellow Color

How the School Bus Got Its Yellow Color

School buses are probably the most easily identifiable vehicle on the road — after all, they’re huge and yellow. Every day, these buses transport millions of students across the US to and from school. Besides the regular commute, buses also provide field trip transportation for Philadelphia, PA students. So how did students get to school in the past, and how did school buses get their signature yellow color? Let’s take a brief look at the history of this fascinating vehicle.

1800s – Before motorized transportation was widely available, most students walked to school, or they rode on horse-drawn carriages. Toward the end of the century, the Wayne Works company began manufacturing horse-drawn carriages that would take students to school.

1914 – At the beginning of the 20th century, the automobile industry was rapidly expanding. Wayne Works decided to use a motor on their school carriages. However, no other improvements were made to the basic design, and students were not well-protected from the elements.

1930 –  Following a Ford dealership owner who built a bus with steel panels in 1927, Wayne Works built the first bus using all steel panels and safety glass windows. This was a vast improvement over previous school buses. However, parents were still concerned about their children’s safety.

1939 – This year represents a major turning point in school bus history. It was in this year that Dr. Frank Cyr from Columbia University organized a conference that would establish a set of national standards for school buses. The committee came up with 44 standards that would improve the safety of school buses for students across the country. Many of these standards are still in place today, although more have been added over time. The standards designated the height and length of a school bus, construction materials, and the inclusion of emergency exits. Perhaps most notably, however, was the standard color: yellow.

The official color is now known as “National School Bus Glossy Yellow.” It was chosen because people notice this color more quickly in their peripheral vision than they do other colors. This reduces the likelihood of other motorists colliding with a school bus. In fact, school buses are a safer means of transportation than cars, trucks, public buses, or trains.
At Yellowbird Bus Company, we think that school buses are the best way to travel. Some people even choose to rent a wedding bus for their Philadelphia, PA event. No matter where you go, we can transport you safely and reliably. Call us today for more information.

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