We are excited to announce that we have begun an in-depth School Travel Planning (STP) project in partnership with the Lawrence Grassi Middle School (LGMS) and the Town of Canmore. This project will help us determine how we can improve the school journey and encourage more children to walk or wheel to school. The project is the recipient of a $5000 grant from the Alberta Traffic Safety Fund.
The first step is to gather data about the school trip from:
- Classroom Surveys
- Family Surveys
- Traffic counts and traffic observation
- School walk-about & bike-about
The data will be analysed by STP Facilitator and CCC board member Mandy Johnson who will chair a stakeholder committee comprised of representatives from the town council, municipal staff, Biosphere Institute staff, the RCMP, the school principal and a student representative. Based on the data analysis, a school travel plan will be drafted for review and endorsement by the committee that will include short-term and long-term action items to improve active travel to school.
Why is School Travel Planning Important?
School Travel Planning has had much success in increasing children’s physical and mental fitness and reducing traffic congestion and emissions at schools across the nation. While the rates of walking and biking to LGMS are already considerable, there is always room for improvement. At the school’s open house on Sept 15th, we discovered many ways the active trip to school could be improved to make it safer and more enjoyable by speaking with students and parents.
This simple journey can mean so much. Benefits of walking or wheeling to school include:
Physical health – Walking or cycling to school regularly can help children get daily physical activity and establish habits that will help them avoid chronic disease and lead healthy, happy lives.
Mental strength – Students who get physical activity in the morning arrive more alert and ready to learn – and studies show they score higher on tests.
Environmental well-being – Reducing the number of cars at schools will decrease carbon dioxide levels and help mitigate the effects of global warming.
Happiness – Children who walk or cycle the route to school understand their connection to their surroundings; they find joy in plants, animals, and other people, which leads to less stress and less depression.