Active and Safe Routes to School

The Active and Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) program is a partnership among many organizations to encourage students to use active transportation, such as walking or biking, to get to school. It also promotes safe, walkable neighbourhoods and communities.

Why is the ASRTS important?

Active transportation can be an important source of physical activity for children and youth. It can increase physical activity, reduce traffic congestion around schools, decrease vehicle emissions, and encourage independence in children.

Walking and biking to school can provide students with :

  • Opportunities to be physically active on a regular basis
  • Opportunities to spend time with friends and get to know their neighbourhood
  • Improved concentration and focus at school
  • Less motor vehicle traffic on roads around their school
  • Less air pollution around their school

ASRTS activities and plans

According to a recent study, only 28 per cent of our children walk to school. However, there are many activities available to students, teachers and parents so that more students walk to school and learn the health benefits of being active.

School Travel Planning 

A School Travel Plan allows school communities to launch programs and activities that encourage students to walk, bike and use other forms of active transportation. School Travel Planning brings together people from the community (for example, school boards, public health officials, parents and educators) to help identify barriers and create an action plan. For more information about school travel planning:

  • Check the School Travel Infographics for tools and tips for parents and others to work with their school and community on School Travel Planning.

  • Contact Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region to speak with School Travel Planning staff: 519-744-7575

School Wayfinding Project

In Waterloo Region, a few communities have put up street signs and placed sidewalk games in neighbourhoods around schools. The signs are placed approximately 400 metres (a five-minute walk or a two-minute bike ride) from a participating school. The painted games include hopscotch, paw prints, alphabets and number lines. They make the walk to school more fun. Parents who are driving their children to school are encouraged to stop near the signs and let them walk the rest of the way.

For more information about the School Wayfinding Project, please contact the School Travel Planner at Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region, 519-744-7575. 

Waterloo Region Walking School Bus Program

A Walking School Bus is a group of children who walk to school together. Parents or older students agree to be walking leaders. The group typically follows a specific route and schedule, which has designated "bus stops" where students can join along the way.

Walking School Buses can be as formal or informal as your school chooses. This is a safe, convenient, fun and healthy way for children to travel to school.

For more information about the Waterloo Region Walking School Bus Program, please contact the School Travel Planner at Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region, 519-744-7575.


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