Clean Air & Safe Routes 4 Schools
The Regional District in collaboration with the Sustainable Transportation Partnership of the Central Okanagan (STPCO) and all partners in the region, will implement the Clean Air & Safe Routes 4 Schools program at several elementary schools to increase participation in active transportation, reduce the number of motorized vehicles used for travel to and from school and reduce school emissions.
The Clean Air and Safe Routes 4 Schools program in the Central Okanagan is a combination of the tool kit School Travel Plan (STP) created by Green Communities Canada and the toolkit Cleaner Air 4 Schools developed by the City of London, England. The development of the School Travel Plan combined with the implementation of school programming has shown to reduce vehicle traffic and increase the number of students using active transportation. School Travel Planning involves collaborative work with multiple stakeholders to produce a plan that addresses safety concerns and necessary infrastructure improvements. The School Travel Plan objectives were expanded to include tools to identify areas of poor air quality around the school, promote students understanding of the causes and impacts of air pollution, and provide ideas for engaging staff, students and parents in improving air quality.
The Regional Air Quality Coordinator helps facilitate the development and implementation of the program and assists with coordinating the Municipal Steering Committees through the region. One municipal committee should be formed for each partner. The committees will be made up of numerous stakeholders that will assist in the planning process, including several municipal departments, Interior Health, RCMP and School District 23.
For each participating school a School Committee should be formed with school representatives and parents. By engaging various partners, the program will create a greater sense of community, add broader implications for schools and neighborhoods in adopting active transportation habits and improved air quality.
The national Children’s Health, Mobility and Happiness: A Canadian School Travel Planning Model project completed in 2012 used Active and Safe Routes to School programming combined with Transportation Demand Management principles to encourage active and sustainable modes of school travel for students, families and staff and some provinces saw a shift towards active travel of up to 6 per cent and some individual schools saw a shift of over 20 per cent.
The proven benefits after the implementation of similar programs include improved play, increased physical activity, improved academic performance, reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality.
The implementation process can take up to 18 months. The Follow up document is done when substantial work has been completed; it varies from school to school. The following schools have started the implementation of the Clean Air & Safe Routes 4 Schools program in our region:
For more information about active transportation and smartTRIPS School Programs visit smartTrips.ca.
Regional Air Quality Coordinator