School Travel Planning
News & information about the Canadian School Travel Planning Pilot Project
Pilot Project Near Completion
The pilot test of School Travel Planning across Canada School Travel Planning National Pilot Project:
is nearing completion: School Travel Plans are complete STUDENT SURVEY
and implementation is well underway, with some actions
started or completed long before the Action Plans were Hands-up Classroom Survey
even finalized. The Provincial Progress articles in this Ask students: “How did you travel to school this morning?”
issue of STP News share some successful implementation School Name: ________________________________________________________________
Grade: _________________ Room/Class #: _____________ # Students: _____________
stories. Teacher: ___________________________ Dates: Mon ___________ to Fri ____________
Please aim to complete survey by <insert deadline>.
Since School Travel Plans are living documents, Weather Walked
School Public Carpool
(2 or more
(Just my Other? Total
part-way* Bus Transit
intended to be revisited on a regular basis, the process Mon
will be ongoing at our original 12 pilot schools. However, Tues
to evaluate the effectiveness of the School Travel Planning Wed
process, the pilot test includes a final data collection Thurs
component. This data collection will take place in the
next few weeks, and will include: Daily Avg =
• a hands-up survey of the students in their classrooms Total/5
*Walked at least one entire block.
about how they got to and from school each day for
Hands-Up Classroom Survey Template
a full week (at all pilot and control schools);
• a family survey collecting information about travel
patterns, as well as attitudes about and perceived in a final report which will include recommendations for
barriers to active transportation (at just the pilot revisions to the tools and process in preparation for the
schools); next phase of this important work—a nation-wide launch.
• focus groups with School STP Committees and Thanks to some additional funding received from
Municipal STP Committees (for pilot schools only) to Public Health Agency of Canada for this quarter, two
gather feedback from pilot participants about the STP research projects are being conducted to collect informa-
process; and tion about how to modify the STP tools and process for
• an exit interview with the principals of control schools two unique communities within Canada—First Nations
to gather anecdotal information to explain any travel and French-Speaking communities. Final reports for these
mode changes noted in the student surveys. projects are scheduled to be completed by March 31.
Once the final data is collected, data entry and anal- This research will provide the recommendations needed
ysis will begin. The University of Toronto will handle that for pilot tests in these communities, which are planned as
portion of the project, then the results will be summarized part of the nation-wide launch.
Ontario Nova Scotia Alberta British Columbia*
* Until the end of June 2008, the Way to Go! School Program was the official partner in BC. After this time, when funding from the Autoplan
Broker Road Safety Program ended & the program discontinued, work on the STP pilot continues through key Way to Go! individuals.
What is School Travel Planning?
School Travel Planning brings together community stakeholders to identify
barriers to active transportation for each school and develop a written action
plan for addressing those barriers. The flexibility of the School Travel Plan
framework being tested in this pilot project allows communities to customize
their approach to fit local circumstances.
What is the planned for STP
post-March 31, 2009?
A comprehensive draft of a plan for a
Through a five-step process (see table below), each school writes a nation-wide launch of School Travel
School Travel Plan, with assistance from the community stakeholders, that Planning has been written, and will be
includes an action plan describing steps they plan to implement such as: modified based on lessons learned from
• engineering improvements at or near school sites—e.g. pedestrian crossings, the pilot. This plan has been designed
repairs/upgrades to sidewalks, signage; to take STP to a new level in Canada,
• introduction of school infrastructure—e.g. bike shelters, bike racks, lockers; where it will not be dependent on grant
• education—e.g. traffic safety education for pedestrians and cyclists, funding from a single source, but rather
education about personal security; will be funded by all three levels of
• community mobilization—e.g. walking school buses, walking buddies, government, from multiple departments,
ride sharing; as well as from suitable corporate
• encouragement—e.g. celebrations of physical activity and environment, sources. This will be a true partnership!
event days, recognition and rewards for walking/biking. For more about funding for the next
phase of this work, see the “Funding for
the Future” article on page 7.
Where Are We At?
School Travel Process At-A-Glance
Phase Who’s Involved Outcomes Status
Program Set-Up • Local council • Relevant stakeholders contacted & Municipal Completed at all pilot schools
• School STP Steering Committee established. in NS, ON, AB & BC.
• School Travel Plan • Selected school committed to participating in
Facilitator School Travel Planning project.
• Overall goals determined.
• Timeline developed.
Data Collection • School Travel Plan • School STP Committee is established. School STP Committees
& Problem Facilitator • Baseline data collected (classroom and family established at all pilot schools
Identification • Council (GIS, data surveys, maps of where students live and best in each province. All baseline
analyst) routes, traffic/ pedestrian/cyclist counts, data collected.
• Students, parents & walkabouts) and analyzed
teachers • Wider school community consulted.
• Wider school • Issues summarized to take to the School STP
community (residents Committee.
or business owners)
Action Planning • School STP Committee • Plan of action is written for dealing with All School Travel Plan documents
• Sometimes experts/ challenges identified and achieving stated goals. written.
specialists from • School Travel Plan document is written that
Municipal STP Steering summarizes background information and outlines
Committee the detailed action plan that includes initiatives,
timelines and assignment of responsibility for
• School Travel Plan is signed off by all stakeholders.
Implementation • Stakeholders responsible • Tasks outlined in action plan are completed. Implementation underway.
for each action as per • Outcomes communicated to school community.
the action plan
Ongoing • School: parents, • Post-implementation data collection is done Final data collection scheduled
Monitoring teachers, students to evaluate progress toward goals. The plan is for mid-March 2009.
• School Travel Plan tweaked if necessary.
Issue 3 Spring 2009 Page 2
Social Outreach for Walking
by Arthur Orsini, STP Facilitator, BC
“But as your mum, I want to meet the parents of the kids that would be in your walking group.” Those words – in the
middle of our mock-debates with Year 5 students – seemed to sum up the social link missing in our efforts to promote
walking to school. I was in Ms. Bradley’s class at Maungawhau Elementary School facilitating student debates where
we were trying to identify what it was going to take for these 10- and 11-year-olds to earn the independence to cross
Auckland’s Mt. Eden Road in on their own. Our result was the “Consent Card” activity, which has become the source
for a couple of modified activities currently taking place in BC’s STP pilot schools.
The Consent Card is a simple “licence” given to parents of participating students at a morning coffee/juice
information session. Beforehand, students were given an activity workbook with resources for their family to practice,
model and assess safe walking along their route to school. The parent decides when to give the Consent Card to
their child – and they can list any conditions they feel to be
necessary on the back.
The information sessions to launch the activity are
catered to particular “pizza slices” of the school catchment
area. In this way, parents living on the other side of Mt.
Eden Road met together and shared concerns and strategies
to get their kids safely to school with fewer car trips. After
very little discussion, parents who regularly walked to
school were ready to assure other parents that they do,
and would continue to, “keep an eye out” for the safety
of senior students crossing Mt. Eden Road. These informal
conversations help to broaden the social outreach of the
school community and make it more likely that families will
recognize each other, wave, greet and chat along the walk
At Riverview Park Elementary in Coquitlam BC, the
Consent Card is called a “Licence to Walk” and the Riverview Park driveway is closed on Walking Wednesdays...
school hopes to strengthen each family’s social network by
including a page in the activity booklet for addresses, email
and telephone numbers of friends and neighbours along the
family’s walking route. The activity was launched at a recent
monthly Walking Wednesday on February 4, 2009.
Also, Pleasantside Elementary in Port Moody BC recently
launched the Pied Piper Walking Groups activity. Here,
senior student leaders have collected names from a map of
participating school families to create walking groups that
include one student from each grade. This approach aims to
address circumstances that indicate families tend to be less
acquainted with neighbours if their children are in different
grades. By forming groups with students from Kindergarten
to Grade 5, Pleasantside also hopes to strengthen the
school community’s social networks with more familiarity
along the walking routes to school. ...and that means a lot more room for cartwheels!
Issue 3 Spring 2009 Page 3
Small Steps for School Communities, Big Steps Towards Change
by Bev Esslinger, STP Facilitator, AB
Making changes that affect behaviours to examine traffic issues in the to model and promote a healthy
and actions takes time. One could community. lifestyle and encourage parents
describe the School Travel Planning St. Clare School also registered as well as students to add to their
initiative using the famous quotation, for International Walk to School physical activity that week. They asked
“That’s one small step for a man, one Week as part of their campaign everyone to make a special effort to
giant leap for mankind” as schools take walk, ride a bike or blade to school.
steps to change their school culture. Parents were encouraged to walk with
St. Alphonsus school has set up their children. Parents were advised
a STAARRS committee (St. Alphson- to make sure they were aware of their
sus Active Routes to a Safe School) child’s regular pathway to school and
which kicked off a year-long focus on to provide safety tips along the route,
encouraging students to walk or bike and to help model and encourage a
to school with the aim to: street wise and health minded lifestyle.
• teach children the skills to walk, St. Clare hosted a special activity
bike or bus safely; for their phys ed classes where
• encourage physical activity; and students were given a shoe – on this
• reduce traffic congestion, pollu- shoe they were to record the date
tion and speed near schools. they walked to and from school
Their first step was participating in on the outside, and inside make a
International Walk to School Day on mark if they walked to school and
October 8 when students were encour- another if they walked home from
aged to walk or bike to school; walk school. For those who took the bus,
to the bus stop; or for those who need they could walk three laps around
to rely on their vehicles, simply park a Signs to improve safety around schools the playground to count as either to
block from the school and finish their or from school. The chart of student
commute with a stroll to St. Alphonsus. progress was posted in the gym and
Since then, STAARS has been at the end of the week the student in
actively educating their school each division as well as the class who
community about the benefits of walked the most were rewarded.
walking to school and the safety St. Clare is planning a Health
concerns regarding traffic issues, and Wellness Day where specialists
etc. They have put information in the are coming to share with students in
monthly newsletter and presented 45 minute classes the benefits and
information at School Council incentives to get active! Active & Safe
meetings. They have also run a Bus Routes to School will be one of the
Safety poster contest throughout workshops presented to students.
the school. They had school-wide St. Basil is planning to host a
participation in Winter Walk Day on special day with Calgary Police and
February 11. Health Region coming to talk about
They are now working reaching benefits of getting active and walking
out in the community, working with to school as well as education on the
the Renfrew Community Association Alberta students en route to school safety aspects to consider.
Issue 3 Spring 2009 Page 4
Variety of Activities Underway to Promote Active Transportation
by Colleen Cooper, Public Health Nurse, Injury Prevention Program
Waterloo Region has been busy School. Williamsburg Public School supported by the three municipalities
working on many aspects of the (JK - 6) does not have a ring road (Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo)
School Travel Planning process, from and cars are not allowed on school who currently fund the training.
data collection to implementation. property. The workgroup is interested Bussing to the training will be
Below are some of the highlights of to find out if travel patterns are provided by the local Transportation
the work that has taken place since similar at the two schools. Stay tuned. Consortium.
the last issue of the newsletter.
Walking School Bus Leader School Travel Planning
School Traffic Survey Training Workshops
In September 2008 an intensive The STP community workgroup The second annual School Travel
traffic survey was undertaken at W.T. provided training to students in Planning workshops will take place
Townshend Public School, a JK to those schools who were running March 31 to April 2, 2009. School-
Grade 8 school in Kitchener. The Walking School Buses (WSBs). based workgroups made up of one
findings indicated that the majority In September 2009 the training teacher, up to ten students and
of students at this school use active will be incorporated into the half interested parent volunteers will be
transportation to get to school. Over day training that is provided to all invited to attend a two hour planning
five days, 61%-65% of the students standing and bus safety patrollers. session. They will leave the session
walked to school in the morning This plan has been endorsed by the with a plan to be implemented by
and 81%-85% walked home from Waterloo Regional Police Service and June 2009.
school. Despite the high numbers of
walkers, the traffic congestion around
the school, particularly at dismissal,
was still problematic. This is a very
compact neighbourhood with very
little on-street parking available.
This school was the last to be
built by the Waterloo Region District
School Board to feature a “ring-
road.” This ring-road is open to cars
in the morning but not after school.
Is the convenience of morning on-site
drop-off contributing to the number
of children who are driven? Does the
presence of older (grade seven and
eight) students result in older siblings
walking with younger siblings? The
municipal workgroup would like to
look more closely at school travel
patterns to try and answer such
There is a plan to conduct a
second intensive traffic count this
spring at another school in the same The ring-road out front of W.T. Townshend Public School in Kitchener
neighbourhood, Williamsburg Public
Issue 3 Spring 2009 Page 5
Walking School Bus “WOW”s Students at
École Grosvenor-Wentworth Park School
by Cheyenne Dickinson, STP Facilitator, NS
The Walking School Bus program at École
Grosvenor-Wentworth Park School is
“WOW”ing all of the students taking part.
The school launched their first Walking
School Bus route in October, and it’s been go-
ing strong ever since. On average, about 25
students take part each Wednesday, when staff
members meet students at a shopping plaza
on the corner of Castle Hill Drive and Kearney
Lake Road – about half a kilometre from the
school – and accompany them on their walk to
The school has combined their Walking
School Bus initiative with the WOW program,
which stands for “We Often Walk or Wheel.”
The WOW program was developed by Nova
Scotia’s Active & Safe Routes to School pro-
gram as another way to encourage children
and youth to walk and wheel more often. The
idea was borrowed from a similar program in WOW card (front and back view)
Students keep track of how often they walk one kilometre away by
using WOW cards and receive rewards or road. Weather permit-
recognition from the school for their efforts. At ting, this group could
Grosvenor-Wentworth Park, once a student fills also use the nearby
their card (10 trips), they get to choose a prize “School Trail” through
from the school’s “treasure chest”. The cards, Hemlock Ravine Park for
as well as posters promoting the program, are their trip to school.
provided for free by Active and Safe Routes to Even with only one
School. route, the Walking
The program has benefited from the ad- School Bus program
dition of some welcome, albeit unexpected, has already become an
participants. “Some of the students that arrive important part of school
on the 8:10 bus have actually started walking culture at École Gros-
down with staff to pick up the other students venor-Wentworth Park
from the plaza,” says École Grosvenor-Went- School, says principal
worth Park School principal Alyson Hillier. Hillier. “It’s become a
Plans are in the works to launch a second bit of a school project, a
Walking School Bus route in the spring for real reflection of school Walking School Bus at École
students from the Cresthaven Drive area, about spirit.” Grosvenor-Wentworth Park School
Issue 3 Spring 2009 Page 6
FUTURE PLANS School Travel Planning News
is an e-newsletter that will be
Funding for the Future published three times per year
(Spring, Fall & Winter) during the
As described in the Q&A section on page 2, the current pilot test is just one pilot project.
step toward making active transportation a high priority for all Canadian
students. Plans for the next phase of School Travel Planning have been
developed and steps have been taken to find funding from multiple sources.
Corporate Funding Already Received Colleen Cooper, Writer
Green Communities Canada is pleased to announce that George Weston Cheyenne Dickinson, Writer
Bev Esslinger, Writer
Limited and Loblaw Companies Limited have made a donation to the national
Jacky Kennedy, Writer
roll-out of the School Travel Planning project. Work is now underway to start
Arthur Orsini, Writer
the national roll out of the project in April 2009, once the current phase Stephanie Hahn,
of developing the model STP framework is complete. Both George Weston Editor & Graphic Design
Limited and Loblaw Companies Limited are excited to support School Travel
Planning in Canada as it fits their mandate to encourage and promote the
health and fitness of Canada’s children.
“George Weston Limited and Loblaw Companies Limited are delighted
to support the innovative and important work of Green Communities and the PUBLISHED BY:
School Travel Planning Project. As the largest food retailing and distribution
companies in Canada, we feel we have a vital role to play to help Canadian
children stay healthy and get active. Together we can make a difference.”
Tamara Rebanks, Director, Community Affairs, George Weston Ltd and Peggy
Hornell, Sr. Director, Community Investments, Loblaw Companies Ltd. How to reach us...
Expansion of STP Through Strategic Partnership Box 928, Peterborough, ON K9J 7A5
Green Communities Canada is thrilled to be working with Metrolinx Phone: 1-877-533-4098 ext. 411 or
(www.metrolinx.com) on the “Stepping it Up” project, aimed at testing the 416-488-7263
Canadian model School Travel Planning framework developed through the Fax: 416-488-2296
national pilot project. Stepping it Up will take place over three years in Hamilton
and the Region of Peel. Funding is provided in part by Transport Canada’s
ecoMOBILITY program. The project will be implemented by Metrolinx (lead), What we do...
Green Communities Canada, City of Hamilton, Region of Peel, and the Green Communities Canada
University of Toronto. (www.greencommunitiescanada.org)
is a national association of non-
profit organizations that deliver
innovative, practical environmental
solutions to Canadian households and
NATIONAL NEWS communities.
Production of these materials
Final National STP Meeting Scheduled has been made possible through
a financial contribution from the
Public Health Agency of Canada.
A national face-to-face meeting of provide feedback about the project
The views expressed herein
all the key project team members and suggest recommendations for do not necessarily represent
for this pilot project is scheduled adjusting the tools and/or School the views of the Public Health
for mid-March in Vancouver BC. At Travel Planning process moving Agency of Canada.
this meeting, the STP Facilitators will forward.
Issue 3 Spring 2009 Page 7