What is Active & Safe Routes to School?
Active & Safe Routes to School is a community-based initiative that promotes the use of active transportation to and from school, addressing health, physical activity, and traffic safety issues while taking action on air pollution and climate change. At the forefront of public health agendas across Canada, childhood obesity has become a serious concern with rates tripling over the last 3 decades. A major objective of ASRTS is to address this issue by reducing perceived risks and barriers of active travel to school, and in turn, increasing physical activity among children.
Role of the HEAL
The ASRTS steering committee of St. Thomas, Elgin, London, Middlesex, and Oxford is comprised of many community groups, including the HEAL at Western University. The HEAL has been part of this committee since its inception. Our role on the committee is to help identify challenges and potential solutions to school transportation problems in the region.
HEAL Senior Project Coordinator, Dr. Andrew Clark, was a guest of Daniel Hall and Luis Patricio on their Cycling into…Read more
In February 2020, a multi-disciplinary team led by Dr Jason Gilliland and Dr. Doug Fraser (Dept of Paediatrics) was awarded funding…Read more
HEAL Director, Dr. Jason Gilliland and collaborators received a Project Scheme Grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research to…Read more
HEAL Researcher, Dr. Andrew Clark, HEAL Alumni, along with Active and Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) and the London Middlesex…Read more
St. Thomas, Elgin, London, Middlesex, Oxford Active & Safe Routes to School Committee (activesaferoutes.ca) hosted an Active Travel Story Contest…Read more
On July 18th, members of the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL) were joined by over 40 community partners at Civic…Read more
Engaging both children and their parents is critical to the success of any active school travel (AST) initiative. Yet these…Read more
Kate Berry from Green Communities Canada presents 'Provincial priorities for mobilizing Active School Travel' The Children’s Health and the Environment…Read more
The Human Environments Analysis Laboratory at Western University received funding to support the development of educational materials and messaging to connect Active…Read more
HEAL Project Coordinator and Senior Research Associate spoke about the importance of walking and wheeling to school at the Active…Read more
Vicky Kyriaco from the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority presents 'Active Transportation Policies and Initiatives for Busing Consortia: Ottawa's School Active…Read more
Emily Van Kesteren and Tara MacDaniel from the Middlesex-London Health Unit and Pam Ewart from the Elgin-St. Thomas Public Health…Read more
Laura Zeglen from Green Communities Canada presents School Travel Planning in Active Construction Zones: A Pilot Project at CHEWS. The…Read more
Tim Ross from the University of Toronto presents A Systematic Review of Disabilities Treatment in the Active School Travel and…Read more
Active school travel (AST) is achieved by “walking and wheeling” to and from school as opposed to using vehicular transport.…Read more
Jason Gilliland, Western Geography Professor and Director of the Human Environments Analysis Lab and Urban Development Program, joined CBC's London…Read more
This research uses innovative participatory mapping and qualitative GIS methods to examine how children’s perceptions of their environments influence their…Read more
HEAL researchers, Dr. Andrew Clark, Dr. Jason Gilliland, Katherine Wilson and Kate Schieman along with Sabrina Sater, supervisor of neighbourhood development…Read more
Physical activity plays a fundamental role in the health and well-being of children. The journey to and from school offers…Read more
Active school travel (AST), that is walking and wheeling to/from school, can be a relatively undemanding method for families to…Read more
Most North American (Canada & U.S.) children are not achieving their prescribed levels of daily physical activity. Active school travel…Read more
Dr. Jason Gilliland and Dr. Andrew Clark were recently featured in the London Free Press on the Active and Safe…Read more
Thank you to everyone who submitted a story to the Active Story Contest. Keep an eye out for next year’s contest, which will be launched next October as part of iWalk Month! Check out our Activity School Travel & Climate Change Facilitator Guide if you are a teacher looking for other active school travel activities and curriculum connections.
2018 Story Contest
Check out the Walking to School Short Story and Active School Travel iSpy videos featuring submissions from students at Sir Arthur Currie P.S., Wilberforce P.S., and Princess Elizabeth P.S.
A video of Maham’s Walking to School Short Story sharing the benefits of walking, and wheeling to school.
A video featuring artwork, made by students from Wilberforce P.S. and Princess Elizabeth P.S, sharing the benefits of active school travel, with a focus on social connection and exposure to nature.
- Buttazzoni A, Clark A, Seabrook J, Gilliland J. (2019). Promoting Active School Travel in Elementary Schools: A Regional Case Study of the School Travel Planning Intervention, J Transp Health,12: 206-219. doi: 10.1016/j.jth.2019.01.007
- Gilliland, J., Maltby, M., Loebach, J., Xu, X., Luginaah, I., Shah, T. (2019). Is Active Travel a Breath of Fresh Air? Examining Children’s Exposure to Air Pollution During the School Commute. Spatial and Spatio-Temporal Epidemiology.
- Wilson, K., Coen, S. E., Piaskoski, A., & Gilliland, J. A. (2018). Children’s perspectives on neighbourhood barriers and enablers to active school travel: A participatory mapping study. The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe Canadien. doi: 10.1111/cag.12488
- Wilson, K., *Clark, A., Gilliland, J. (2018). Understanding Child and Parent Perceptions of Barriers Influencing Children's Active School Travel. BMC Public Health. 18: 1053. doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-5874-y
- Paddle, E., & Gilliland, J. (2018). Equal Opportunity Streets: Assessing the Equity of Publicly Provisioned Street Trees in Walk Zones Surrounding Elementary Schools. Environmental Justice,11(4), 154-164. doi: 10.1089/env.2017.0002
- Buttazzoni, A. N., Coen, S. E., & Gilliland, J. A. (2018). Supporting active school travel: A qualitative analysis of implementing a regional safe routes to school program. Social Science & Medicine,212, 181-190. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.07.032
- Buttazzoni, A. N., Van Kesteren, E. S., Shah, T. I., & Gilliland, J. A. (2018). Active School Travel Intervention Methodologies in North America: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine,55(1), 115-124. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.04.007
- Loebach, J., & Gilliland, J. (2016). Neighbourhood play on the endangered list: Examining patterns in children’s local activity and mobility using GPS monitoring and qualitative GIS. Children’s Geographies,14(5), 573-589. doi: 10.1080/14733285.2016.1140126
- Clark, A., & Scott, D. (2016). Barriers to Walking: An Investigation of Adults in Hamilton (Ontario, Canada). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,13(2), 179. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13020179
- Clark, A. F., Bent, E. A., & Gilliland, J. (2015). Shortening the trip to school: Examining how children’s active school travel is influenced by shortcuts. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design,43(3), 499-514. doi: 10.1177/0265813515614678
- Clark, A. F., Scott, D. M., & Yiannakoulias, N. (2013). Examining the relationship between active travel, weather, and the built environment: A multilevel approach using a GPS-enhanced dataset. Transportation,41(2), 325-338. doi: 10.1007/s11116-013-9476-3
- Clark, A. F., & Scott, D. M. (2013). Does the social environment influence active travel? An investigation of walking in Hamilton, Canada. Journal of Transport Geography,31, 278-285. doi: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2013.06.005
- Larsen, K., Gilliland, J., & Hess, P. M. (2012). Route-Based Analysis to Capture the Environmental Influences on a Childs Mode of Travel between Home and School. Annals of the Association of American Geographers,102(6), 1348-1365. doi: 10.1080/00045608.2011.627059
- Larsen, K., Gilliland, J., Hess, P., Tucker, P., Irwin, J., & He, M. (2009). The Influence of the Physical Environment and Sociodemographic Characteristics on Childrens Mode of Travel to and From School. American Journal of Public Health, 99(3), 520-526. doi: 10.2105/ajph.2008.135319
Climate Change & Active School Travel
A scoping literature review was conducted by HEALab student Alina Medeiros. The following PowerPoint presentation is the results of this work. For more information about this review, please contact the HEALab at heal @ uwo.ca.
Climate Change Toolkit
We have created a guide that contains all the information needed to promote active travel and combat climate change at your school. All of the resources centre around the three themes of this campaign: Walk to School; Take the School Bus; and Idle Free for the Kids. In this guide you will find resources such as a facilitator's guide, social media campaigns, school announcements and newsletters, and activities with curriculum connections.
Posters (11 x 17)
Colouring Sheets (8.5 x 11)
Activities with Curriculum Connections
Social Media Posts & Messages
Additional iWalk Resources
Key components of the School Travel Plan (STP) are baseline and evaluation phases. The baseline data is used to develop an action plan, while the information collected during the evaluation helps to develop steps for sustainability and celebrate successes. The HEAL helps with these phases of the STP by setting up surveys and analyzing the data collected. Two surveys are used at both the baseline and evaluation phase – one for parents and one for students in grades 4 to 8 who have parent/guardian consent. From these surveys, the following documents are created:
- A PowerPoint with response statistics, characteristics of students’ journeys to/from school, and information regarding barriers to active school travel for parents and students;
- Locations of concern map and summary enable communities to identify where the largest barriers to active school travel are in the school neighbourhoods to develop action items to address the issues within these areas; and
- Traffic count summaries enable the results of the traffic count to be presented clearly and concisely to the school community
The follow-up report is created when the school is in the final phase of their STP. This report summarizes the initiatives that have taken place within the school to promote active and safe travel to/from school.
For more information on this process, or to start the process in your school please contact email@example.com.