On the Move to School: Active Transportation for children in Quebec (Canada)

By News Editor / Updated: 06 May 2015

Launched in 2005, it will be in every region of Quebec by 2010. This project will provide more involvement with municipal technicians training them in facilities design to support implementation of school travel plans, while continuing education and encouragement activities in the schools.

Background & Objectives

Over the last twenty years the number of Canadian children walking and cycling to school is decreasing fast and the number of overweight children does not stop growing which has negative impacts on their health.

“On the move to school” is precisely an educational program to raise awareness of children and show them the benefits of walking and cycling to school: it can, not only improve their health and fitness but also the environment, and motivate the decision makers to improve walking and cycling conditions.

The main partners in the project are:

  • Société de gestion du Fonds pour la promotion des saines habitudes de vie
  • Agence de la santé publique du Canada
  • Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon
  • Fonds vert du gouvernement du Québec
  • Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT)
  • Ville de Montréal

Implementation

The program is based on 3 themes: safety, health and the environment. Every school involved in the program gets support from Vélo Québec for 3 years, after which tools are left with the school to enable its personnel and parents to continue the promotion of active transportation. The program includes the organization of activities and initiatives to raise awareness and introduce solutions regarding active commuting at the primary and secondary school levels. A school travel>plan is also developed and implemented in every school through the collaborative effort of the program urban planner, involved parents, town planner and engineer, school committee and police services.

To disseminate the program and inform parents, brochures, newsletters and L’aller-retour magazine for kids are regularly produced and a web site is upgraded regularly as new material becomes available. As well other activities such as animation in schools, workshops, mapping of residence, etc. are being offered to schools and families. The main obstacles identified are the fear of accidents and the distance between home and school.

Conclusions

For the 2008-09 year, 85 schools with over 25,000 students in 6 regions across Quebec have signed up to promote 'Active and Safe Routes To School' (ASRTS). By 2010-11, “On the Move to School” will be available province-wide in 210 schools from kindergarten to high school.

The program is well suited for the student’s age range chosen, & is being adapted for teens. It does not increase teachers’ workload and it is free of charge to the school. It allows parents “education” on active transportation, health and environment. But the program must offer specific activities suitable for each school based on their needs.

Because of the success of the pilot phase, Vélo Québec seeked the collaboration of experienced and knowledgeable regional partners who know well their area and can expand and replicate the program. From a 1-year pilot project limited to the metropolitan area in 2005-06, Vélo Québec wishes to extend “On the move to school!” to all Québec regions before 2015.

No new udpates as of 2011.

Topic: 
Walking and cycling
Archive
Country: 
Canada
City: 
Quebec
Contact: 
News Editor
Author: 
Annick St-Denis
06 Aug 2009
06 May 2015