Active School Travel Pilot Program
Participating schools for the Active School Travel Pilot Program have now been announced. For information on future AST program offerings, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
The Active School Travel (AST) Pilot Program is a pilot initiative led by BC Healthy Communities Society (BCHC) and is funded by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
What is the goal of the Pilot Program?
The goal of the Active School Travel Pilot Program is to support more students to use active modes of travel (walk, wheel, cycle, scooter) to and from school. To determine how best to support schools to achieve that, the pilot will test the feasibility and applicability of existing evidence-based Active School Travel Programs in a small cohort of B.C. school communities from November 2020–December 2021. With guidance and support, selected schools will implement plans and activities using a range of tools, resources, and templates provided by BC Healthy Communities.
What are the benefits Active School Travel provides?
With COVID-19 still in our communities, there has never been a better time to support students to be active and connected in their school communities. Walking, cycling and scootering to school allows students to spend more time outside while staying connected with family and peers in a way that ensures safe physical distancing. More walking and wheeling also means less traffic congestion around the school, which supports the safety of students and families. By developing sustainable actions to encourage students to walk and cycle more often for their school journey, schools will be supporting lasting changes in physical, mental and social well-being.
For more information on the benefits of Active School Travel programs, including evidence-based best practice examples of strategies that lead to increases in active school travel outcomes, download this Active School Travel Fact Sheet from Ontario Active School Travel.
Schools who are selected for the AST Pilot cohort will receive:
- up to $10,000 in cash funding to support participation in the Pilot and implementation of Active School Travel projects, and
- exclusive access to in-kind capacity building supports and resources from a team of public health practitioners, community planners, researchers, and evaluation experts at BC Healthy Communities. Such supports may include:
- An online Community of Learning and Practice (CoLP)
- Support with data collection, monitoring, and evaluation
- Phone/digital-based coaching
- Sharing of evidence-based tools and resources
- Capacity building learning, training, planning sessions (Workshops, meetings either in person or via other delivery mechanisms) (dependant on COVID-19 status)
As participants of the Pilot Program, schools will be required to:
- Agree to participate in the pilot for the entirety of the program term (until December 31, 2021)
- Complete a baseline survey about existing active school travel activities
- Use the materials that are being tested as part of the Pilot Program to plan, implement and evaluate your Active School Travel project
- Apply a whole-school approach to program-related activities (i.e. funding cannot be used to support actions that affect only one classroom or grade level - all students must benefit at the school).
- Provide ongoing feedback about the program and materials to BC Healthy Communities
- Submit a (brief) final report that includes outcomes, learnings, and recommendations as a result of participation in the pilot
In order for a school to be eligible to apply to participate in the AST Pilot Program, they must meet the following criteria:
- Preference for inclusion in Pilot will be given to schools located in rural, semi-rural, and suburban communities
- School must be located within a neighborhood setting, with sufficient infrastructure in place to ensure active travel to/from school is feasible for the duration of the Pilot.
- Schools must be able to demonstrate a clear motivation and capacity to engage in active school travel planning, for example:
- A ‘champion’ staff member at the school to lead the project planning;
- An existing school travel plan or program in place;
- A commitment from school partners and/or parents for an active school travel project
- Schools must be willing to promote the pilot to staff and students, and actively encourage participation in data collection and evaluation measures for the purposes of the pilot.
How do I get my school involved?
Applications for the Active School Travel Pilot Program are now closed and participating schools will be announced shortly. For information on future AST program offerings, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
The Active School Travel Pilot Program is conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and is directed and implemented by BC Healthy Communities.