**Mark your calendars – The next Province Wide Count is October 23rd – 27th, 2017**
Completing the Picture: Mapping how Children fit into the Transportation Landscape
Our Active and Safe Routes to School Program conducted a two-year study of active school travel in Manitoba.
Thanks to funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, we are leading the first ever province wide count to learn more about how children are getting to school in Manitoba. Using our BikeWalkRoll software, teachers across the province will be conducting 30 second surveys for one week in February and May of 2016 and 2017. The data we generate will help move us forward as we make active transportation and healthy living a priority for children in Manitoba, and help everyone make better, healthier, and safer decisions. Stay tuned for the results!
We will be publishing our findings from this study shortly! Stay tuned!
To complete a survey on BikeWalkRoll, simply ask the students in your class how they traveled to school, and record the various modes of transport. This can be conducted through a simple hands up survey, or any other method that you may find easier.
The five transports modes to record are:
*Wheelchairs, skateboards, scooters, and roller blades
We recommend two options for inputting this data: 1) record the information from the survey on paper and input later, or 2) directly add the information into the app as you conduct the survey. Please note that the transport mode recorded should be the one employed for the majority of the trip. To enter your survey data, you can either hit the “Add a school” button or you can find your school on the map.
Enter the data by typing in the number of students who employed each travel mode into the corresponding mode. After all travel modes have been accounted for, select “Enter”, and watch as the site generates a score for your school. You can then compare this score to other schools in Winnipeg and across the world!
Here are some things to keep in mind when conducting your surveys:
- You have the option of completing a practice survey by selecting “Try a practice survey” on the website’s main page.
- “Who did you survey?” has a drop-down menu from which you are able to pick a grade or grades, and it allows you to select one or two grades per classroom. Teachers with combined classes of more than two grades will need to choose the grades that best reflect their class.
- Each classroom teacher will need to create an account in order to add their data to the survey. An e-mail confirmation will be submitted once an account has been created.
- This tool can be used to spark discussion about the importance of walking and biking to school for classes, so feel free to explore the site. It is currently being employed by schools across the world, so hop onto the site with your students, and compare your school’s score with others across the world. The site can be used anytime, so you can conduct a survey at any point-try and see how much you can improve your class score over time! Studies have shown that kids who walk or bike to school learn better, are physically and mentally healthier, are more independent, and demonstrate improved decision making. Schools with high rates of Active Transportation also see a reduction in vehicle congestion around the school, cleaner air due to less vehicles around the school, and less accidents and injuries. Active kids are healthy kids, and make for healthy schools and communities.
Why should my School and Division Participate?
Numerous studies have shown many benefits to having children walk or bike to school, including:
1) Improved health through physical activity Canada received a grade of “D” for active transportation in the 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card, with only 24% of Canadian children regularly walking or biking to school. Children who walk and bike to school have higher physical activity levels throughout the day, helping them meet the recommended 60 minutes of activity daily. This level of activity helps prevent childhood obesity and supports healthy bones.
2) Cleaner air as less vehicles are on the road; schools with high traffic volumes have poorer air in the immediate area around the school as parents drive their kids to school. Air quality around a school suffers when dozens of parents sit in idling cars while their children jump out. Air pollution has contributed to childhood asthma rates doubling between 1980 and the mid-1990s. Asthma rates remain at historically high levels and cause 14 million missed school days every year. Walking and biking to school is healthy for kids, healthy for communities, and healthy for the planet.
3) Safer streets as vehicle traffic is reduced; schools that are able to increase the number of children walking and biking to school regularly witness a corresponding drop in vehicle traffic in the immediate area around the school.
4) Better learning as studies have shown that students who walk or bike are able to concentrate better; a MASS experiment in Denmark in 2012 showed that students who walk or bike to school displayed an “increased power of concentration, and the effect of this ‘exercise’ lasted all morning”
5) Safer communities as more people are on the streets every day; the more people walking and biking on the streets in a community makes for more eyes to look out for criminal behaviour, reducing the opportunity for criminals to commit crimes unobserved.
6) Reduced Carbon emissions as less vehicles are on the road, helping to combat climate change, and reduce the adverse effects that correspond with a changing climate.
7) Improved Safety for Children: The 2015 ParticipACTION report found that “Canadian children are eight times more likely to die as a passenger in a motor vehicle than from being hit by a vehicle when outside on foot or on a bike.” If we want to protect our children both from short term injury as well as long term health complications, we should encourage them to walk or bike to and from school.
8) More inspiration and opportunity for outdoor Play: As children are able to explore and become comfortable in their community, they are more likely to find inspiration in the outdoor spaces in their community that they might otherwise miss while travelling in a vehicle.