Students at 12 schools throughout the province will get more exercise and fresh air as part of their daily commute when the second year of the Active School Travel Pilot Program kicks off.

The Active School Travel Pilot Program is designed to increase the number of students using active transportation, such as walking or biking, in their daily commute between home and school. The program is administered by BC Healthy Communities Society.

The Province’s initial two-year investment of $400,000 supported program development and the participation of 11 schools in January 2021. An additional investment of $280,000 this year means students at 12 new schools will take part.

Participating schools can request as much as $10,000 to implement their projects and receive access to capacity-building tools and resources from BC Healthy Communities Society. The program helps municipalities, school districts and parents work together to plan walking and cycling improvements that meet specific needs in the neighbourhood, including:

  • regular encouragement events and incentives to increase regular walking and biking to school;
  • assessment, such as a best-route-to-school mapping project;
  • skill-building and safety education opportunities for students and parents;
  • expansion of slow street projects to reduce traffic volume immediately around school areas;
  • shared bikes, scooters and skateboards for students; and
  • amenities and infrastructure improvements, including bike racks and improved signage.

The Active School Travel Pilot Program supports goals set out in the Province’s CleanBC Roadmap as well as Move. Commute. Connect., B.C.’s strategy for cleaner, more active transportation. Outcomes from both years of the program will inform future initiatives to increase walking and cycling to school for students and their families.

BC Healthy Communities Society is a provincewide not-for-profit group that facilitates the ongoing development of healthy, thriving and resilient communities.  

Quotes:

Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure –

“Walking and wheeling to school offers so many benefits to students, from physical and mental health to better educational outcomes. Encouraging youth to choose green transportation options instead of relying on cars also means safer, less congested school zones and cleaner air in our communities.”

Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education –

“Student health and well-being are a priority for our government. Regular physical activity and positive mental well-being are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle, especially for children. I’m proud to see our government investing in innovative programs like the new Active School Travel Pilot Program. This program will support students to have healthy and active lives while safely getting to school.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“We are helping more students get to school in a fun and healthy way that reduces pollution and traffic congestion. Through our CleanBC plan, we’re working with local schools and communities to support clean transportation like walking, cycling and rolling.”

Lynette Collins, vice-principal, JN Burnett Secondary, Richmond –

“The Active School Travel program allowed us to respond to a real desire from students themselves, particularly around more support for cycling to and from school. Students now have more opportunities to be active together, and the wider community also benefits. We even see other cyclists in the community making use of the bike tool stations we’ve installed. This program in many ways has been the jumping-off point we needed, and we’re excited for our active travel plans for JN Burnett in the years to come.”

Learn More:

Active School Travel Pilot Program: http://bchealthycommunities.ca/active-school-travel/

Move. Commute. Connect., B.C.’s Active Transportation Strategy:  www.gov.bc.ca/active-transportation  

CleanBC Roadmap: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/