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