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Active and Sustainable School Travel

Walking to school
The Big Move

The Big Move sets out a vision that 60% of children in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area will walk or cycle to school by 2031. Studies have shown a declining trend in walking to school, with a 2011 Metrolinx study finding that 36% of children walk to school while 32% are being driven by car. In contrast, 53% of children walked in 1985 and 15% were driven.

Walking and cycling to school provide physical activity, can improve academic performance, promote socialization, and bring a host of other social, economic and environmental benefits for children, families and the broader community.

Stepping It Up

From 2009 to 2011 Metrolinx and its partners led the Stepping It Up project which introduced the Canadian School Travel Planning model at 30 local elementary schools.

Broader project consultations with Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area stakeholders identified a need for:

• active and sustainable modes of school transportation to be formally recognized as part of school transportation, and;
• creation of a supportive context for these modes at the provincial, school board, community, family and individual levels.

Next Steps in Active and Sustainable School Travel

Using the lessons learned from Stepping It Up, Metrolinx is focusing on the development of broader support for active and sustainable school travel. This will involve working with a variety of local and provincial stakeholders, including school boards, municipalities, parent associations and provincial ministries. These school travel stakeholders will work together to explore policy, planning and programming that can support parents and children to walk, cycle and use other active and sustainable methods safely and comfortably for their travel to and from school.

The Word on the Street

Hear what elementary school students have to say about the benefits of being active on the trip to and from school and check out the Teacher’s Guide for classrooms for activities to accompany the video.

Learn from the experts about how schools and communities are using the School Travel Planning method to come together in support of active and sustainable school travel and the benefits that these efforts can bring.

See how students in Hamilton used photovoice on their walk to school to kick-start talk about bettering their community.