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What is school travel planning?

School Travel Planning (STP) is a community-based approach to increase physical activity by encouraging active forms of transportation (I.e. walking, cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading and scooting) for the school journey. Public health nurses use the STP approach when working with the participating local schools.
School Travel Planning is a model that looks at addressing barriers to and incentives for walking to school as a way to take action on active school travel.
The School Travel Planning (STP) approach gets school and community stakeholders working together to create and implement active school travel plans that use the Five E’s of the STP model.
Key aspects of the STP approach include:
  1. Partnership and collaboration involving school boards, schools, municipalities, parents, students, public health and community partners such as police services and environmental organizations.
  2. STP facilitation to bring everyone together and coordinate activities at the individual school level. For the On the Move project, Public Health Nurses from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit are the STP facilitators. 
  3. A comprehensive Active School Travel (AST) Action Plan which is developed by school stakeholders based on the unique needs of the individual school community. Implementation and evaluation of the AST Action Plan generally carries over from one school year to the next.
To ensure a broad and sustainable approach, the AST Action Plan is designed to address five areas called the 5 E’s: Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement and Evaluation.
Education: Actions meant to build skills, confidence, and awareness to allow students to walk and wheel to school safely (E.g. traffic safety training, cycling skills workshops, school route mapping). Education can also occur about the added benefit of STP to human health and environment health (E.g. few greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner air to breathe).
Encouragement: Actions to inspire students, parents and school staff to try active ways to get to and from school (E.g. walk and wheel events and celebrations, the walking school bus, iwalk or iwheel club, champions of change for climate change).
Engineering: Actions that create safe and accessible school sites, neighbourhoods and routes to school (E.g. traffic and wayfinding signage, parking restrictions, crosswalk improvements, crossing guards, installation of bike racks, school site location and design).
Enforcement: Actions to ensure traffic and parking rules are obeyed to improve safety around schools (E.g. monitor speed, ticket traffic violations, supervise student drop-off locations).
Evaluation: Actions that use data to design solutions, measure success, and demonstrate impact (E.g. walking and cycling audit, school travel survey, traffic counts, community walk about and family travel survey). 
The 6 Phases of School Travel Planning 
  1. Set up the project
  2. Assess conditions
  3. Develop AST Action Plan
  4. Implement AST Action Plan
  5. Evaluate progress
  6. Keep it going
Find out more from Ontario Active School Travel and the School Travel Planning Toolkit.
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