Active & Safe Routes to School (Ontario)

Organization Sponsor: Green Communities Canada (GCC)


Program Description

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) describes a community-based road safety program that aims to make a child’s journey to and from school safer. It may also encompass other goals such as reducing child pedestrian injuries, promoting safety, creating a cleaner environment by reducing traffic congestion, and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. The program utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that can be modified for the needs of specific communities, and it is for this reason that the promotion perspective of the program varies from community to community.

The program works to embrace the definition of security by first identifying community risks, whatever they may be, and utilizing this knowledge to foster motivation and intention to deal with the risks and associated consequences. The definition of safety is also considered as the program works with the local community to increase social capital and create a culture of care.

The success of the program is that it works within a community at the local level to systematically identify needs, create partnerships for a stakeholder group, and disseminate information though a public education campaign. Community members are empowered to promote the development of a sustainable program in order to reclaim neighbourhoods and motivate further engagement towards change. The program is efficient, scalable, flexible, draws on experience and is extremely proactive

Strategies For Sustainability: 

The movement is supported by a large network of Canadian organizationsthat believe active transportation on the trip to and from school increases health and happiness and creates daily fitness habits for life.

Impact Of Program: 

Active & Safe Routes to School is a national movement dedicated to children’s mobility, health, and happiness.

Evaluation Tools: 

Evaluation Document:

Title: Active & Safe Routes to School

Source: Road-related Neurotrauma and Road Safety: Opportunities and Challenges for Prevention Science

Key Elements Towards Success: 

What you’ll find on this web site:

A variety of programs designed to engage students and encourage walking to school. Numerous case studies show what communities like yours are doing to get students walking, cycling and otherwise using active travel, andresearch shows these methods are effective. To create greater and lasting change by making your school community more walkable, consider School Travel Planning. For links between well-being and active school travel, explore sustainable happiness

Challenges To Meet Them: 

Children know that using active transportation to and from school is part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s good for the environment and it makes them feel happier. A recent Ontario study indicated that a whopping 42% of children are driven to school. 

Why don't more children travel actively to school?

The reasons are complex. The built environment is not conducive to walking, parents drive their children everywhere, schools are getting further away, children can’t bike to destinations, Canadian weather is challenging, common family structure and lifestyle is changing, and some news stories add to parental fear for children’s safety. How can a family overcome these barriers without help?

Length and Stage of Project: 

In 1997 the Greater Vancouver Regional District decided to fund The Way to Go! School Program, which was and still is very similar to Toronto’s program

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