Since the initial pilot program launched in three Toronto schools by Green Communities Canada (GCC) in 1996, the active school travel movement has grown to encompass every municipality within the GTHA and myriad other communities across Canada.
In 2015, 144 of schools across the GTHA participated in Bike to School Week, and many municipalities have created formal policies to support and encourage infrastructure and programing for active school travel.
For a look at how the movement towards active and sustainable school travel is progressing around the GTHA, check out this Milestones (coming soon) chart and the success stories below.
Successes and Lessons in Ontario
In 2013 Metrolinx, in partnership with Green Communities Canada, created the report: School Travel Planning in Action in Ontario: Successes and Lessons in Active and Sustainable School Transportation. Using interviews with STP experts across a diverse sample of schools, the report summarizes the common success factors and provides case studies of effective programs.
A Regional Campaign for Cycling
Bike to School Week is an annual campaign created and promoted through a partnership between Metrolinx, CultureLink and many stakeholders across the GTHA. Its purpose is to focus attention on cycling as a potential travel mode by encouraging schools, parents and children to get involved in fun, safe, and engaging programs throughout the campaign.
In 2015, 144 schools across the GTHA got involved, with 16,225 students participating. As a result, 79% more students biked to school during Bike to School Week and 76% said they would be more likely to do so in the future. See the Bike to School Week Report for more details.
To register your school for Bike to School Week 2016 (May 30-June 3) visit: biketoschoolweek.ca
How Walking Turned Students into Civic Leaders
Using the Photovoice approach, students in Hamilton, Ontario took to the streets, mapping out their own routes to school and taking note of what they saw and experienced along the way. Gaining insights about their community and their own sense of purpose in improving what they realized were unsavory aspects of their environment, they presented their findings to other students and discussed ways to make changes.
The simple act of walking to school not only increased the students’ street smarts, it engendered a sense of civic duty that might otherwise have remained a vague concept instead of an active personal effort. View the Photovoice report here.
Stepping It Up
The Stepping It Up pilot project used the Canadian School Travel Planning (STP) model and Smart Commute workplace program to promote active and sustainable modes of school travel for students, families and staff. Find out more here.
Peel Gets Active
A series of three short videos, Walk & Bike to School in Peel, encourage active transportation for health and academic benefits. Parents and their children are urged to travel safely to and from school.
Taking Policy Action
Hamilton supports active school travel
In 2015, The Trustees of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) voted unanimously to endorse the Active and Sustainable Active School Travel Charter, proving their commitment to active school travel. Currently, the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, and the HWDSB have pledged to work together to improve active and sustainable school transportation. Find out more here.
Toronto District School Board
The TDSB created its Charter for Active, Safe and Sustainable Transportation in 2013 to promote safe, active, and sustainable transportation and their charter reflects the principles of Ontario’s Foundation for a Healthy School.
Toronto Catholic District School Board
TCDSB created a Transportation Demand Management Plan in 2013. Their plan has two priorities; one to inform our stakeholders about the transportation choices and options and how they impact our local environment; and two to provide the tools and understanding to allow our stakeholders to make positive transportation choices that work with their daily routines.
Halton District School Board
HDSB created its Active Transportation Charter in 2013. Students and their families and staff who make active transportation a choice over automobile travel, experience benefits in mental & physical health and well-being, are more prepared to learn, and promote community connections.