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: Click here for pdf

Resources

Active Routes to School Maps
Crossing Guard Locations Map

Walk Or Wheel Thunder Bay (WOW TBay)

Walk or Wheel Thunder Bay (WOW TBay) is a program that encourages local families to choose active transportation for the trip to and from school. It is part of a province-wide Ontario Active School Travel project supporting families to enjoy the physical, mental and emotional benefits of having an active journey to and from school.

WOW TBay is run by EcoSuperior and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. It is a partnership that includes staff from Lakehead Public Schools, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay, the City of Thunder Bay, and Thunder Bay Police Service.


WOW TBay Newsletters:

Issue #1 (October 2021)

Issue #2 (December 2021)

***WOW TBay Photovoice Contest - EXTENDED THROUGH MAY 27, 2022***

It's Spring! and Spring means it’s time to get outside and get active! Schools across Ontario can promote walking, biking, scooting, skateboarding, and other fun ways to get to school or around the neighbourhood. April is the perfect time to get active outdoors! Active April is an annual celebration of the new season, encouraging participants to spend more time being active outdoors throughout the month of April.

This April, WOW TBay will help motivate students to engage in active school travel by simultaneously running a Photovoice Contest. The WOW TBay Photovoice Contest is a photography based active school travel promotion initiative that is organized by WOW TBay which is led by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) and EcoSuperior Environmental Programs.

How to enter the contest:

  • Use a digital camera or cell phone to take pictures that relate to the active school travel categories described in the contest information sheet and write a caption or short description of the story behind your picture
  • Download and fill out the Participant Entry Information and Consent Form
  • Email your photo, photo caption, and completed Participant Entry Information and Consent Form to wowtbay.photovoice@gmail.com
  • Each student may submit one entry.

The contest will run from April 1- May 27. Each participant is eligible to win a maximum of one (1) prize. All submissions received before 11:59 pm April 19, 2022 will be eligible for an early bird draw with one (1) prize available (bike accessory kit). The early bird winner will be eligible to win a maximum of one (1) of the three (3)remaining prizes. A total of four (4) prizes will be available. All other prize winners will be drawn randomly on May 30,2022. Your chances of winning depend on the number ofother participants in the contest.

Prizes include: Cycle computer, a wearable fitness tracker, 1 of 2 bike accessory kits including a Yeti water bottle.

Featured Videos:



Watch and Learn More

Walk Or Wheel Thunder Bay (WOW TBay)

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

Posters:


Activities:

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