Active & Safe Routes to School is a community-based initiative that promotes the use of active transportation (walking, biking, bussing and rolling) for the daily trip to and from school. The program addresses health, physical activity, and traffic safety issues while tackling air pollution and climate change.

Active & Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) is a proven way to improve transportation safety and efficiency and increase the number of students who use active modes of travel. The project uses a coordinated and systematic approach over a fifteen month to address infrastructure, behavior, enforcement and educational needs on school grounds and in the surrounding neighbourhood.

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Remember your Back to School Brakes

This September, drivers are being reminded that school zone speed limits will be in effect and drivers are required to slow down and exercise extra caution to ensure the safety of students on the roads and sidewalks around schools. Watch for the signs, 'Remember your Back to School Brakes' around school zones. And take a moment to review the top safety tips for drivers, parents and students.

ASRTS Program Goals

  • Motivate and encourage increased use of safe, active travel for children, youth and their families
  • Identify solutions to address traffic and transportation challenges in and around schools
  • Conduct targeted research to support the case for local investments in infrastructure and for policies which encourage sustainable transportation use.

Who is involved?

ASRTS uses a multi-stakeholder approach including school boards, municipal transportation planners and engineers, public health, local law enforcement agencies, parents, students and school administration. We also invite partners like ICBC Road Safety, BC Transit, Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition and Walk ON! Victoria to play a role in the process.

The CRD has partnered with HASTe BC to deliver this program. HASTe has significant experience successfully planning and delivering Active & Safe Routes to School programs in communities across BC including Squamish, Surrey, North Vancouver and Vernon and Comox. 

Which schools will participate?

Twenty schools were selected for the full ASRTS program, representing participants from 10 municipalities and one electoral area and all four school districts. Additional schools across the region have been identified for a one-time special event and educational support in 2017 to encourage active travel.

The following schools will participate in the full ASRTS program:

  • Braefoot Elementary (District of Saanich)
  • Brentwood Elementary (District of Central Saanich)
  • Cedar Hill Middle School (District of Saanich)
  • Cloverdale Elementary (District of Saanich)
  • Doncaster Elementary (District of Saanich)
  • Galiano Community School (Galiano Island)
  • Hans Helgesen Elementary (District of Metchosin)
  • Journey Middle School (District of Sooke)
  • Kelset Elementary (District of North Saanich)
  • Lansdowne Middle School (District of Saanich)
  • L’ecole Poirier (District of Sooke)
  • Maria Montessori (District of Saanich)
  • Mount Doug High School (District of Saanich)
  • Royal Bay Secondary City of Colwood)
  • Ruth King Elementary (City of Langford)
  • Sangster Elementary (City of Colwood)
  • Sidney Elementary (Town of Sidney)
  • Sir James Douglas School (City of Victoria)
  • South Park Family School (City of Victoria)
  • Willows Elementary (District of Oak Bay)

The CRD would like to acknowledge the leadership and commitment from each of the above listed municipalities and electoral areas in undertaking this program.

What is involved in the program?

Each school will have a dedicated School Travel Planning Facilitator. This person will guide the process at each location and act as the primary liaison and support for the initiative. This person will help to:

  • Establish a project committee: bring together administration, teachers, students, parents, municipal and school district staff to work on this project.
  • Undertake data collection: gather data on how students are currently traveling, where the trouble spots are located, and what the best routes are and why.
  • Create a Best Routes Map: With the advice of project partners, develop a map for students and their families showing different ways to get to each school as well as travel safety information and resources.
  • Identify infrastructure gaps / safety issues / educational opportunities: undertake a walkabout event at each school and in the surrounding neighborhood to identify where the municipality and/or school district could make infrastructure improvements and what educational efforts might be valuable to improve safety, compliance and courtesy.
  • Assist with action plan development: identify what is already underway, what other hard and soft priorities could be addressed to encourage active travel and where there is interest and support to organize student education or engagement projects.
  • Support student education & engagement projects in 2017: support each school in organizing special events, workshops, contests, speakers, class projects etc., with potential for activities to be linked to learning outcomes, leadership programs and/or daily physical education requirements.
  • Cycling skills courses: offer the ability for one or more classes to learn the rules of the road and improve confidence on bicycles. These customized courses include on-road and in-class training appropriate for different ages. We also provide bikes to students without access to one.
  • Undertake follow-up data collection

Each school is also eligible for prizes and incentives. Students are invited to participate in other free active transportation activities and events in 2017.

The ASRTS Project also includes a complementary research initiative in 2017 to enhance understanding of the business case for investing in active transportation infrastructure and provide a supportive policy environment to encourage cycling, walking and rolling.

When will the program take place?

An expression of interest offer was initiated in Spring 2016. All schools in the capital region were invited to apply. School selection was confirmed in June 2016. The program will run from September 2016 to December 2017.

Why is the CRD involved?

Both the Pedestrian & Cycling Master Plan and Regional Transportation Plan identified the implementation of Active & Safe Routes to School programs as priority actions to assist in achieving mode share targets. In 2015, the CRD Board identified one of its Strategic Priorities as “Enable the CRD, local governments and other agencies to advance active transportation infrastructure and programming (including Active & Safe Routes to School)”.

At the local level, ASRTS supports objectives identified in municipal and electoral area Official Community Plans and helps to achieve climate action, community health and civic engagement priorities.

At the school level, ASRTS supports increased physical activity and sense of community which has positive benefits on student well-being and academic performance. ASRTS can help to raise awareness about issues, challenges and opportunities identified by parents, administration and students to make travel in and around schools more efficient, safe and welcome for all modes.

How is this program funded?

The 2016/2017 Active & Safe Routes to School Program has been made possible through the generosity of funding partners including the Real Estate Foundation of BC, The Victoria Foundation and the CRD Traffic Safety Commission.

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Funders

The 2016/2017 Active & Safe Routes to School Program has been made possible through the generosity of our funding partners.

victoriafoundation

trafficsafety-commission

realestate-foundation