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stepping it up project updates

School project photo

The Stepping It Up pilot project is making strides towards improving active and sustainable school travel conditions at elementary schools in Hamilton, Brampton and Mississauga.

The project is getting students, parents and staff excited about walking, cycling, carpooling and bussing to school. “We are just getting started and it has improved students’ awareness and their efforts to walk to school,” said a school administrator.

Here’s how the project works at each pilot school:

  • Baseline surveys, traffic counts and a walkabout are completed at the start of the school year.
  • This data goes into the School Travel Plan, which recommends changes to support students and staff in using active and sustainable ways of travelling to and from school.
  • As per the plan, changes are implemented, for example: adding crosswalks and crossing guards, installing bike racks and school route signage, and introducing Walking School Buses and cycling workshops.
  • Follow-up measurements are taken at the end of the school year, and changes continue to be introduced in the new school year.

These improvements are great for helping students travel actively on their short trips to and from school. For school staff, travel distances are longer so tools are being introduced to help with carpooling, such as the Carpool Zone. One staff member said: “While I am comfortable commuting with my vehicle…carpooling would be a good option.”

One parent’s perspective: “I personally find it very satisfying to walk my child to school. It gives me the chance to chat and it's a wonderful start to her day.”

The Future of Sustainable School Transportation

Beyond working with schools, the project is also making connections to address the underlying gaps in providing active and sustainable school travel. In January 2011, Metrolinx hosted the first gathering of school travel stakeholders for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and will continue to foster dialogue about the future of this initiative. Read the Workshop Summary Report.