Steps to success
Goal: foster the skills, confidence, and awareness to allow students to walk and wheel to school safely
Stakeholders: schools, school boards, police services, public health
Examples: traffic safety training, cycling skills workshops, school route mapping
- Many communities offer school-based pedestrian or traffic safety presentations and workshops for free or at a nominal cost. Contact your municipality, public health unit or school board to find out more.
- CAA’s School Zone Safety Brochure and Ontario Road Safety Resource provide information and tips for students and parents for their journey to school.
- CAA’s School Safety Patrol Program educates student volunteer patrollers in Ontario.
- A Bike Safe/Walk Smart educational DVD is available on request. Or have a look at the classroom notes:
- Additional information sheets:
- Our Bike to School webinar showcases Canadian bike education programs, ways to enable students to cycle to school, and ideas for celebrating Bike to School Week.
- Active & Safe Routes to School Cycling Resource Manual shows schools, school boards, and municipalities how to get more students, parents, and school staff biking.
- Some communities offer school-based bike rodeos that teach students key cycling skills. Contact your municipality, public health unit or school board.
- For more about cycling skills training see Tips for Organizing successful Bike Rodeos and the 10-Step Handbook for High School Bike Projects.
- Can-Bike has collated these useful cycling education videos.
Examples of education-focused initiatives:
- The Be Smart Walk Safe pedestrian safety campaign was developed as part of the Toronto STP program.
- Project LifeCYCLE was a two-year initiative to provide students at seven Toronto elementary schools with the skills, equipment, confidence, and inspiration to cycle to school and for leisure.
- The Ontario ECO Schools program includes an Active Transportation Campaign Kit to help schools achieve certification through active school travel initiatives.
- Create a Routes to School Map of popular walking routes to help motivate families to choose active transportation. Maps can also identify suitable drop-off locations so that students who are driven can “walk-a-block-or-two.” Contact us for further information.
- The Planet Protectors Academy’s Keep Cool Program is an engaging, curriculum-linked digital classroom resource that teaches elementary students about environmental issues. The program inspires students to become climate action superheroes and change their energy and transportation habits.
- Clean Air for Kids is an innovative program developed in the City of Hamilton to educate elementary students about improving neighborhood air quality.
- Making Tracks, developed in Nova Scotia, is a suite of training and resources to build student competence in active travel by foot, bike, scooter, skateboard, and rollerblade.
Goal: inspiring students, parents and school staff to try active travel modes
Stakeholders: school staff, school councils, school boards, elected officials, public health
Examples: walk and wheel events, walking school bus, iwalk iwheel club
Walk and Wheel events
School communities can promote walking and wheeling by participating in seasonal events that are celebrated by schools across Canada every year:
- October: Walk to School Month
- February: Winter Walk Day
- April/May: Spring into Spring
- May/June: Bike to School Week
Visit our Walk and Wheel events page for information and resources.
Walking School Bus
A Walking School Bus is a group of children walking together under the supervision of one or more leaders or “drivers,” following a prescribed route and schedule. Like a regular school bus, a Walking School Bus offers a safe, dependable, healthy, and green way for children to get to school instead of being driven by car.
Read more, including case studies, in Creating Safe Routes for Active School Transportation and in the Ottawa Walking School Bus Pilot Project Report.
For useful tips on setting-up a Walking School Bus see the Step-by-Step Guide published by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (USA).
The iwalk-iwheel Club is a free program for schools in Ontario. Membership includes access to news, information, and resources to track journeys. The iwalk-iwheel club is made possible thanks to a donation from the Canadian Automobile Association – South Central Ontario. To learn more and join, contact us.
- The Greening Tree activity encourages students to walk and cycle more and celebrates their achievements visually.
- In this short video students talk about their walk to school and why they encourage their peers to try it.
- Creative ways to add interest, value, and entertainment are outlined in the Town of Ajax ASRTS Manual and the Action Plan Inspiration Guide.
Goal: creating safe and accessible school sites, neighbourhoods and routes to school
Stakeholders: school staff, boards, municipalities
Examples: traffic and wayfinder signs, parking restrictions, crosswalk improvements, crossing guards
- Invite school and municipal representatives to complete a group walkabout survey of the neighbourhood to assess traffic and identify built environment barriers to active travel.
- Many communities support active school travel by providing School Crossing Guards at key intersections near schools. The Ontario Traffic Council’s School Crossing Guard Guide provides guidance on how municipalities can determine the best locations.
- The Guide to Safer Streets Near Schools: Understanding Your Policy Options in the City of Toronto. This toolkit helps schools and residents improve traffic safety in their neighbourhoods.
- School Traffic Safety in the City of Toronto. This summary of research by the Hospital for Sick Children, York University, and the University of Toronto addresses the benefits and risks of walking and wheeling to school. Studies examine built environment factors, vehicle vs. child pedestrian collisions, the role of adult crossing guards, driver behaviours at school drop-off, parent perceptions of traffic danger, and the effectiveness of some common traffic calming techniques.
- School Siting & School Site Design for a Healthy Community addresses the role of school location and site design to better support active and sustainable school travel modes.
- Design Guidelines for School Site & Adjacent Lands Planning
Goal: ensure traffic and parking rules are obeyed to improve safety at and around schools
Stakeholders: police services, municipal bylaw staff, school staff, boards
Examples: monitor speed, ticket traffic violations, supervise student drop-off locations
- The Guide to Safer Streets Near Schools: Understanding Your Policy Options in the City of Toronto. A toolkit to help schools and residents improve neighbourhood traffic safety.
Goal: use data to design effective solutions, measure success, and demonstrate impact
Stakeholders: school boards, public health, ASRTS and STP Facilitators, municipalities
Examples: walking and cycling audit, school travel survey, traffic counts, family travel survey