Alarmed by growing traffic congestion at her own children’s school, and inspired by the Safe Routes to School initiative in the UK, Jacky Kennedy introduced Active and Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) at three Toronto schools in the mid-1990s.
By 2000, the idea of ASRTS was spreading across Ontario. Most often, the program was introduced to each school community as a pilot project led by public health staff, with guidance and support from Jacky Kennedy and Green Communities Canada (GCC).
These early efforts focused on education and encouragement. Although results were encouraging it became clear that a more comprehensive approach was needed to generate significant and sustained increases in active school travel.
- 2006: Based on research into international best practices, GCC adapts School Travel Planning (STP) for Canada. STP is community-based model that systematically addresses barriers and incentives for walking to school.
- 2006-09: The STP model is pilot tested in four provinces and findings are used to develop a detailed toolkit for use by schools and communities.
- 2009-12: GCC and multiple partners introduce STP to more than 120 schools across Canada. The Children’s Mobility, Health and Happiness project is generously funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Public Health Agency of Canada. See Executive Summary.
Currently, active school travel and STP initiatives are underway in various Ontario communities, with local funding to support staff time and program materials.