If a local educational agency (LEA) provides transportation for its general school population, then it automatically is obligated to provide students with disabilities transportation to any special education program to which it assigns those children. If the LEA is not in the practice of providing transportation to the general student population, then it must decide on an individual basis, whether a student with a disability requires transportation as a related service to benefit from his or her special education.

Transportation is a related service as defined by Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 300.34(c)(16) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and can include travel to and from and between schools; travel in and around school buildings; and specialized equipment such as special or adapted buses, lifts, and ramps. A child's individualized education program (IEP) team is responsible for determining both if transportation is required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education and related services and how the transportation services should be implemented.

If the IEP team determines that a child with a disability requires transportation as a related service in order to receive a free appropriate public education, or requires supports to participate in integrated transportation with nondisabled children, the child must receive the necessary transportation or supports at no cost to the parents.

Transportation needs for students with disabilities who request transportation as a related service are determined on a case-by-case basis by each student's IEP team. The IEP team utilizes evaluation information from a variety of sources, including but not limited to, parent information, other related services assessments, medical information, assistive technology assessment, and other information from the student's multidisciplinary team evaluation.

Decisions regarding transportation as a related service must be guided by the principle of least restrictive environment (LRE); therefore, students with disabilities must be transported with neighborhood peers who are not disabled unless restricted by health or safety considerations. When modifications to standard transportation are necessary, transportation personnel shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in the development of the IEP. The IEP shall clearly state the transportation needs/modifications identified by the IEP team. If future circumstances require significant changes in services, any team member, including transportation personnel, may request that the IEP team reconvene to reconsider the student's transportation needs.


U.S. Department of Education Questions & Answers on Transportation
Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations, section 300.34. Related services
D/M SELPA Policies & Procedures, Chapter 5, Appendix C - Transportation Guidelines

Additional Resources