Active School Transportation

Active and Safe Routes to School is an initiative geared towards encouraging families to choose active transportation for the trip to and from school. Active transportation refers to any form of human-powered (non-motorized) travel such as walking, cycling, using a wheelchair, scooter, or skateboard. Students who are bused can also be encouraged to use active transportation to get to the bus stop. Active transportation increases physical activity, improves physical, mental and emotional health while also benefiting our environment .

The Issues

  • Childhood obesity rates are increasing.
  • The number of students walking to school has been steadily decreasing over the past 25 years.
  • Automobile dependency is contributing to increasing greenhouse gas emissions and negatively impacting the environment across Ontario.

An Opportunity

In working together, school administrators, teachers, parents, other school board staff, public health departments and municipalities can implement an Active and Safe Routes to School Program focused on promoting active transportation. Green Communities' Canada Walks collaborates with organizations and schools across Canada to help support active school travel initiatives and manages the School Travel Planning process. The Ontario Active School Travel website contains numerous resources to support schools and communities in getting more kids walking and wheeling to school.

The Benefits

Students who reside in the walking area benefit from a daily walk (or bike, or skateboard, or scooter ride) to school in many different ways.

This simple journey can mean so much:

Physical Health

Walking or cycling to school regularly gives your child opportunities for daily physical activity that will help him or her avoid chronic disease and develop healthy habits that may continue into later years. ParticipACTION recommends that children accumulate several hours’ worth of light movement every day. Walking to school is a perfect opportunity to get it; more than half the body’s muscles are designed for walking; it is a natural movement that is virtually injury-free.

Mental Focus

Students who get physical activity in the morning arrive at school more alert and ready to learn – and studies show they score higher on tests. Studies show the power of concentration is increased for up to 4 hours after a 20-minute walk!

Environmental well-being

Up to 25% of the morning rush hour traffic is attributed to the school commute. Reducing the number of cars at schools improves air quality, creating healthier environments where children spend a great part of their day.

Fun and happiness

Those who walk and cycle the school route enjoy a deeper connection to their community and find joy in nature and people along the way; all of which leads to less stress and less depression.

Graduated independence

The walk to school provides a great opportunity for students to gradually know their community and take incrementally greater responsibility for themselves and younger children.

Responses to Parent Concerns:

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Featured Videos:


Watch and Learn More

Edgewater P.S. Walking at the Edge program

Stepping It Up: How to Get Active on the Trip to School Through School Travel Planning

Walking Your Kids to School

Kids Say Walking to School is Healthy, Fun and Good for the Environment

How to Get Active on the Trip to School

Sidewalks are for Kids

Crossing Safely at Traffic Lights

October is Walk to School Month!

Useful Links

Active & Safe Routes to School

The Walking School Bus

Thunder Bay Active Transportation

Thunder Bay Active Transportation Programs

Safe Cycling Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Health Unit: 2017 School Travel Planning Information Survey Summary Report

Thunder Bay Health Unit - Spring into Active School Travel!

EcoSuperior - Active and Safe Routes to School

Get Active Tips for 5-11 year olds

Get Active Tips for 12 - 17 year olds

More Resources

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Colouring Pages:

Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay is a student transportation consortium of these 3 school boards:

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Suite 2001, 715 Hewitson St. Thunder Bay, ON. P7B 6B5 • Phone: (807) 625-1660 • Fax: (807) 622-5818