Active School Travel Pilot Program
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 pilot is to support more students to walk, bike and scoot to and from school. The pilot will test adapted materials from existing evidence-based Active School Travel Programs in a small cohort of B.C. school communities from January to December 2022. 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?
The Active School Travel (AST) Pilot Program aims to support B.C. students and families to be more active, more often for the school journey. Using active modes of travel such as walking and cycling allows students to spend more time outside while staying connected with family and peers in a way that ensures safe physical distancing. When school communities invest in developing sustainable projects and plans that encourage students to walk and cycle more often for at least part of their school journey, they also support lasting changes in physical, mental and social well-being for students, staff and families. More walking and cycling also means less traffic congestion around schools, resulting in improved air quality and safer traffic conditions, which supports the safety of students, families, staff and the surrounding community. 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 cohort will receive:
- up to $10,000 in cash funding to support participation in the pilot and implementation of Active School Travel projects, and
- 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)
As participants of the pilot, schools will be required to:
- Agree to participate in the pilot for the entirety of the program term (until December 31, 2022)
- Complete a baseline survey about existing active school travel activities
- Use the materials that are being tested as part of the pilot 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 neighbourhood 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?
The Active School Travel Pilot Program is conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and is managed and delivered by BC Healthy Communities Society.