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Physical Activity: Active transportation for schools


  • Physical activity,
  • Physical environment,
  • Schools,

Active transportation for schools

Active transportation includes anything that uses physical effort to get somewhere, such as walking, cycling, in-line skating and skateboarding. Research shows that working with teachers, parents, students and staff can promote a culture of active transportation in schools.1,2

Let's Walk'n'Roll is a community challenge that encourages residents to travel actively to school, work or to get errands done. The overall goal is to encourage citizens to incorporate exercise into their daily routine for overall health and wellness.

Ways to start

  • Develop active transportation options for students and families to get to school through collaboration with students, guardians and school staff.
  • Provide sufficient, secure bicycle parking on-site.1
  • Create a map of safe routes to school by working with parent groups.2,3
  • Align school travel plans with active transportation plans and policies related to the wider community.2
  • Support development and/or revision of zoning bylaws and community plans to support active transportation and physical activity beyind the school area.4-7
  • Support the development of school policy or guidelines that encourage active transportation among students.
  • Promote active transportation throughout the school year, such as through short events (e.g. ride your bike to school week or reward and incentives).
  • Don’t forget to share success stories of active transportation in the school with the wider community.

For further action to increase physical activity in your community, see

Multi-component community-wide interventions that increase awareness about and provide opportunities for physical activity in your community will have greater impact than implementing one-off strategies.

Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines:

  1. What you expect to learn or change
  2. What you measure and report
  3. How to measure impact

 What you expect to learn about active transportation for schools may include:

  • Learning that the strategy is reaching those you want to reach
  • Increased diversity of active transportation to school
  • Increased number of structures in place that support active transportation
  • Increased alignment between school and community plans
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References- School Active Transportation

  1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Physical activity: walking and cycling. London (UK): NICE; 2012. Available from:
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Physical activity for children and young people. NICE guideline. London (UK): National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; 2009. Available from:
  3. World Health Organization (WHO). Interventions on diet and physical activity: what works: summary report. Geneva (SW): World Health Organization; 2009. Available from:
  4. Garcia J, Beyers J, Uetrecht C, et al. Healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weights guideline for public health in Ontario. Toronto (ON): Cancer Care Ontario, Program in Evidence-based Care; 2010. Available from:
  5. World Health Organization (WHO). Interventions on diet and physical activity: what works: summary report. Geneva (SW): World Health Organization; 2009. Available from:
  6. Brenner DR, Poirier AE, Grundy A, Khandwala F, McFadden A, Friedenreich CM. Cancer incidence attributable to inadequate physical activity in Alberta in 2012. CMAJ Open. 2017;5(2):E344. doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20160044. Available from:
  7. Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations to increase physical activity in communities. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2002;22(4S):67-72. Available from:
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