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School Travel Planning (STP)

School Travel Planning (STP) is being used across Canada. It is a community based approach to increase the number of children choosing active transportation modes to get to and from school. School Travel Planning works to uncover any active transportation challenge in the school communities, and identify how they best can be overcome.

Part of the process of developing a STP is determining any barriers that may prevent children from walking and biking to school. With the parent surveys, walkabout, traffic observations and discussion groups, the STP Committee identifies their hot spots in the school neighbourhood. City engineering staff then determines what infrastructure suits the neighbourhoods and if necessary, plans for changes in the school neighbourhood to increase safety.

To date, City of Vernon has undertaken five School Travel Plans for Ecole Beairsto, Ellison, Harwood, Mission Hill Elementary School, Silver Star and Okanagan Landing Elementary schools. Alexis Park Elementary School will be continuing their School Travel Planning this fall.


School Travel Planning brings community together to develop the best active routes to and from school. Benefits are:

  • Increased physical activity for good health
  • Students have ¬†improved focus, arrive more alert and ready to learn with active commute to school
  • Physical activity has been linked to improved academic performance
  • An active travel to school can have a positive effect on children’s mental health by improving their happiness
  • Improved children’s safety and safer neighbourhoods
  • More pedestrians mean more ‘eyes on the street’, and children and family walking groups get to know their neighbourhoods
  • Reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, cleaner air helps the children who suffer from asthma and other air quality-related
Harwood Elementary
Harwood Elementary Traffic Observation 2009
What is a Walkabout?
A walkabout is a data collection tool where stakeholders (the Municipal School Travel Plan Committee) take the time to walk through the neighbourhood surrounding the school, viewing the journey through a child’s eyes using a checklist provided by the national program outline. This helps stakeholders develop a better understanding of the issues being faced by students and their families. The school photo albums of each school (above) show some of the photos taken during the walkabouts. After the walkabout stakeholders discuss hot spots and how can these be improved.
Okanagan Landing Elementary
Okanagan Landing School Walkabout 2009
What is a Traffic Observation?
This process involves the stakeholder committee and the STP school committee stationing people at each entrance to the school to track items such as: number of pedestrians/cyclistis/vehicles arriving via that entrance, unsafe behaviour such as illegal parking or
U-turns, unsafe crossing or roads by pedestrians etc.
Ellison Elementary
Former Councillor Jack Gilroy at Ellison Elementary  
Morning Traffic Observation 2009

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RDNO Greater Vernon Water Coldstream City of Vernon, BC City of Vernon, BC