School Travel Planning
News & information about the Canadian School Travel Planning Pilot Project
Pilot Schools Eager to Implement Action Items
Progress is well underway in the pilot test of
School Travel Planning across Canada. The
four pilot provinces—Nova Scotia, Ontario,
Alberta and British Columbia—each have
three pilot schools testing the full model of
School Travel Planning as well as two control
schools that are completing only the data
collection phases of the project. See “Where
Are We At?” on page two for details about
where each province is in the process.
Although the School Travel Planning process
“officially” follows a five stage process—
Program Set Up; Data Collection & Problem
Identification; Action Planning; Implementation;
and Ongoing Monitoring—it has been
interesting to observe how eager schools are Students, HRM Police, Councillor Debbie Hum, Cheyenne Dickinson
to get to the implementation phase once the (Nova Scotia’s STP Facilitator), Janet Barlow of the Ecology
process has begun. Schools are often well aware Action Centre, and Bill Adams from the Insurance Bureau of Canada
of some of their school travel problems before celebrate the successful launch of the Pace Car program at STP pilot
the data collection results come in and take a school École Grosvenor-Wentworth Park School
proactive approach by undertaking preliminary here on the cover). More details about that successful launch can be
brainstorming, often leading to implementation found in the Nova Scotia article on page 5.
of early action plans to bring about change As expected, the School Travel Planning pilot project is providing
immediately. So, although the pilot schools valuable information about:
are still finishing up the writing of their School • how to bring together and motivate a wide variety of community
Travel Plan documents, which outline their stakeholders;
detailed Action Plans, most have already • how to create interest and enthusiasm for change at the school level;
made progress with some implementation and • the level of human and financial resources required for
can check Action Items off their list. thorough data collection and analysis; and
One example is the introduction of the • the need to accommodate differences from province to province
Pace Car program in Nova Scotia (pictured as well as from community to community and school to school.
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 project’s time frame?
The pilot began in the Fall of 2007
and is funded until March 31, 2009.
Through a five-step process (see table below), each school writes a Work will continue beyond that date on
School Travel Plan, with assistance from the community stakeholders, that implementation at the pilot schools and
includes an action plan describing steps they plan to implement such as: possibly on the full process at the control
• engineering improvements at or near school sites—e.g. pedestrian crossings, schools, pending additional funding.
repairs/upgrades to sidewalks, signage;
• introduction of school infrastructure—e.g. bike shelters, bike racks, lockers; Which community stakeholders
• education—e.g. traffic safety education for pedestrians and cyclists, are involved?
education about personal security; The community stakeholders involved
• community mobilization—e.g. walking school buses, walking buddies, vary from province to province
ride sharing; but the project aims to include:
• encouragement—e.g. celebrations of physical activity and environment, school boards, municipalities (traffic
event days, recognition and rewards for walking/biking. engineers, local politicians), police,
public health professionals, parents,
educators and students.
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 (except two
• Students, parents & walkabouts) and analyzed remaining traffic/pedestrian/
teachers • Wider school community consulted. cyclist counts which are
• Wider school • Iissues summarized to take to the School STP planned for this Fall).
community (residents Committee.
or business owners)
Action Planning • School STP Committee • Plan of action is written for dealing with Writing of School Travel Plan
• Sometimes experts/ challenges identified and documents including Action
specialists from achieving stated goals. Plans is underway at all pilot
Municipal STP Steering • School Travel Plan document is written that schools.
Committee summarizes background information and outlines
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 of some action
for each action as per • Outcomes communicated to school community. items underway already.
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 January 2009.
• School Travel Plan tweaked if
Issue 2 Fall 2008 Page 2
NATIONAL SURVEY RESULTS
The University of Toronto, in conjunction with their Built Environment, Active Travel (BEAT) research project, has
partnered with the School Travel Planning pilot project to assist with the creation of survey tools, as well as data entry
and analysis specifically for the STP Family Survey. All data for the Family Surveys from pilot and control schools have
been entered and some initial analysis has taken place. We have provided some of these early results below. Work
is now underway with the University to dig deeper into the survey data for other information as well as to review the
family survey maps utilizing GIS tools.
This graph shows that across the country when you collapse travel modes on the
basis of active (walk or cycle) or passive (anything else), 43.6% of respondents are
active commuters in the AM. This increases to 50.1% in the PM.
This graph shows that the highest number of parents would allow their child/ren
to walk to school if they did not have to walk alone. This could be an indication
of the need for more Walking School Bus programs.
This graph shows that Ontario has the highest number of parents reporting
the use of active modes of transportation to school, while Nova Scotia has
the lowest number.
This graph shows that the trends in reasons for driving were similar in each
province. However, distance and convenience appeared to be particularly
prominent (and probably related) issues in Nova Scotia.
Issue 2 Fall 2008 Page 3
Taking Steps to a Healthier Social Norm
by Arthur Orsini, STP Facilitator, BC
Pleasantside Elementary School held its first Walking Wednesday in May 2008. To prepare, flyers were sent home a
week in advance and on the Monday and Tuesday leading up to Walking Wednesday, several student leaders stood
at the entrance to the drop-off zone handing out reminder notices to vehicles. Standing there with the notices was
actually a bit of a “cover” for two research items. The students had tally sheets to record how many drivers knew
that the drop-off zone would be closed to vehicles on
Wednesday. From these responses, the students tried to Walking to
assess whether the driver thought the event was a “good Pleasantside
idea” or a “nuisance.” (An extra space was available for Elementary
the students to tick if it seemed too hard to gauge the School from
driver’s response.) All this was necessary because a April Road
Walking Wednesday at Pleasantside is not just a fun
event—although it certainly is fun.
It is a committed step to create a healthier social
norm. Pleasantside is taking active steps to promote
walking within the school community to help combat
climate change and to learn safe pedestrian practices.
Pedometers (supplied by the City of Port Moody
Recreation Services) were handed out the day before and
students were instructed to start counting when they left
their homes. When they got to school, sidewalk chalk
was available for the students to write their step count.
School staff led the Walking Wednesday routes. The
principal, Mrs. Tompkins, began the downhill north-west
approach at 8:10am and STP Committee Teacher, Mr.
Williams, started uphill from the south-east at 8am.
Both groups aimed to meet at the school for 8:40am at the Walking to
car-free drop-off zone and parking lot that became a great Pleasantside
place for parents to socialize and students to play tag. Elementary
After classes began, each division tallied their total School
number of steps. (The fact that students were aware of
this upcoming tally might have been a factor in bringing
up the numbers by running around in the parking lot.)
The student leaders reported that “almost all” of the
drivers knew that the drop-off zone would be closed,
and they seemed to be looking forward to the event.
On the whole, everyone seemed to enjoy Walking
Wednesday and more of these event days are planned Playing tag
for the 2009 school year. And, each time this event is in the
held, it might become less necessary for the students drop-off
to hand out reminder notices as more families take zone
the healthy, fun and community-minded approach to
getting to school.
Issue 2 Fall 2008 Page 4
Calgary Schools Have Students Start Off On The Right Foot
by Bev Esslinger, STP Facilitator, AB
St. Basil School, opened in June student patroller locations; and the has a greater degree of autonomy
2006, is keen to have families walk realization that although parents than a normal public school to allow
to school using existing walking perceived vehicles to be speeding in them to offer programs that are
routes with Walking School Buses. the school zone, in fact cars tended significantly different from regular
St. Basil’s School Travel Planning to be travelling within the posted public schools operated by district
working group, consisting of parents, limits. (So enforcement of existing school boards).
City of Calgary Roads, Calgary speed limits is not a solution, but The School Travel Plan Project
Police, Calgary Health Region, a perhaps the posted speed limits are Team at St. Alphonsus conducted
Calgary Catholic School Board too high and need to be revisited.) a walkabout to view the challenges
representative, the Principal, and the Following the walkabout there faced by two large schools on the
Alberta STP Facilitator, conducted was a great amount of energy put same residential street dropping off
a walkabout in June to start the into developing a plan that would and picking up students at the same
development of their School Travel encourage students to use the time. To add to the dangers, the
Plan and identify barriers or areas for existing path system. Parents worked school’s street has no sidewalks and
improvement. over the summer putting together the school bus drop-off point is in
The STP surveys had indicated Walking School Buses for this route conflict with parents dropping off.
parents making u-turns, driver ready for a trial run in September. The walkabout created a
speed and crossing roads as major Across town at St. Alphonsus, renewed sense of commitment to
concerns. The team identified another STP pilot school, work is address the challenges of the staff
potential areas of concern including: underway to address their school parking lot, remove the overgrown
the proposed school bus drop-off travel needs. St. Alphonsus, an hedge that forces students to the
areas; staff parking lot; the painting elementary-junior high school, draws edge of a sidewalk near the curb,
of crosswalks; heavy traffic in the students from a large catchment area and develop strategies to encourage
school zone at drop-off and pick-up; for its programs and is nestled in a students to walk part or all the way
signage; and some walking paths well developed area in Calgary just to school. The new school year
that end abruptly. off the main Trans Canada Highway promises to see parents and staff
Walkabout outcomes included: (16 Avenue) and is situated across working together to develop a School
a commitment from City of Calgary the street from a charter school (a Travel Plan and address the barriers
Roads to paint crossing points for special type of public school which identified.
Early Progress for STP in Nova Scotia
by Cheyenne Dickinson, STP Facilitator, NS
School Travel Planning committees at For Shatford Memorial Elementary
Nova Scotia’s three pilot schools couldn’t in Hubbards, NS work began
wait for the fall term to begin before shortly after the committee had
commencing work on implementing confirmed its goals for the school’s
some solutions to active transportation travel plan. Principal Todd Barter Passing lane eliminated in front of
issues in their neighbourhoods. Continued on page 6... school—dashed line painted over
Issue 2 Fall 2008 Page 5
Table-top Displays Used to Promote Walking to School
by Colleen Cooper, Public Health Nurse, Injury Prevention Program & Jacky Kennedy, STP Facilitator, ON
Over the summer of 2009, the counting of pedestrians and vehicles the creation of a flyer regarding
Region of Waterloo ASRTS committee provided valuable insight about mobility stranger danger, along with a
prepared resources and planned for patterns in and around the school zone. contract for Walking School Bus
the 2008/09 school year. Other activities undertaken by the student leaders to review and sign
Colourful table-top displays Region of Waterloo ASRTS committee: with their parents.
were created for the 16 schools
that are participating in the Region
of Waterloo’s ASRTS intensive pilot
project, including the three schools Can You Find Your Walking Buddies?
that are piloting School Travel
Planning. The centre of the display is
left blank for a map of each school’s
catchment area. These maps are
used to determine the best walking
routes to school. The displays will be Walking is... Walking is...
placed in a prominent spot each time Easy Fun
parents are visiting the school and
will be staffed by two senior students Clean Safe
who can explain the walk to school Healthy Friendly
program and answer questions.
A detailed traffic count was led All Year Round Good For Your Brain
by municipal staff at W.T. Townshend The Walking School Bus
at Westvale Public School...
Public School in Kitchener at the end of
September with assistance from urban 18 in 18 in
planning students from the University of Table-top display created to promote walking to school
Waterloo. This intensive observation and in the Region of Waterloo
...Continued from page 5
was on the phone with the Nova make the crosswalk signs more visible. corner cuts. These changes will help
Scotia Department of Transportation A burnt out bulb in the sign spanning address issues associated with high
and Infrastructure Renewal almost the crosswalk was also replaced. A traffic volume and lack of safe places
immediately to bring a couple of passing lane near the school was to cross on the busy thoroughfare.
concerns to their attention, and their painted over with a double solid line Finally, momentum is strong for the
response was just as quick. Within to further improve pedestrian safety. School Travel Planning process at John
a couple of weeks, a representative Early progress has also been MacNeil Elementary. The committee’s
from the department had visited the made at Grosvenor-Wentworth Park work attracted the attention of the
area and dispatched crews to address Elementary. A new 4-way signal local community paper, the North
issues with the crosswalk spanning has replaced 2-way lights at a busy Dartmouth Echo, which ran an article
the highway in front of the school, as intersection on nearby Kearney Lake on the STP process in its August issue
well as the existence of a passing lane Road. The pedestrian crossing signal alongside pictures of the committee’s
within the 50 km/hr school zone. has been significantly increased from neighbourhood walkabout. Local
The crosswalk area was pruned to the norm of 11 seconds, and the Councillor Jim Smith, who sits on the John
open up the space on either side and intersection also now boasts improved Continued on page 7...
Issue 2 Fall 2008 Page 6
PROVINCIAL PROGRESS School Travel Planning News
...Continued from page 6 is an e-newsletter that will be
published three times per year
MacNeil STP committee, plans to bring back of their car to let vehicles behind (Spring, Fall & Winter) during the
the publication to council to highlight them know that they are participating pilot project.
key issues in his area. A recent visit to in the program. By driving the speed
the area by Mayor Peter Kelly brings limit, Pace Car drivers slow those
hope that the article, and the issues it behind them to the limit as well.
raises, will grab council’s attention. At all three schools, traffic speed CONTRIBUTORS:
All three pilot schools in Nova was identified as one of the top Colleen Cooper, Writer
Scotia recently launched the Pace concerns in the baseline Family Survey. Cheyenne Dickinson, Writer
Car program, a community-based School STP Committees wanted to Bev Esslinger, Writer
anti-speeding initiative that allows be a part of the solution, rather than Jacky Kennedy, Writer
neighbourhoods to take the problem simply asking for increased police Arthur Orsini, Writer
of speeding into their own hands. enforcement. “Traffic safety remains Stephanie Hahn,
Editor & Graphic Design
Drivers sign a pledge to obey the a primary community concern,” says
speed limit, be courteous to other Halifax Regional Police Chief Frank A.
road users (such as pedestrians Beazley. “We like to see communities
and cyclists), and make an effort take their own approach to traffic
to minimize distractions behind the safety at the grassroots level as has
wheel. Pace Car drivers place “clings” been done with the Neighbourhood
bearing the program’s logo on the Pace Car program.”
How to reach us...
Box 928, Peterborough, ON K9J 7A5
Crosswalk area improved out front of one of Nova Scotia’s pilot schools What we do...
Green Communities Canada is a
national association of non-profit
organizations that deliver innovative,
practical environmental solutions to
Canadian households and communities.
National STP Meeting Held in NS
At the end of October, the STP pilot faced at each school, strategies
project team members gathered in for developing an effective STP Production of these materials
Halifax, Nova Scotia for their second document and survey results analysis. has been made possible through
face-to-face meeting to discuss progress One final face-to-face meeting a financial contribution from the
Public Health Agency of Canada.
to date as well as future plans. will be held in British Columbia in
The views expressed herein
With just over five months left February to discuss project results
do not necessarily represent
in the official project timeline, there and plans for continuing and the views of the Public Health
was much to discuss. The agenda expanding School Travel Planning Agency of Canada.
covered: successes and challenges across Canada.
Issue 2 Fall 2008 Page 7