Download the document: Saving Money and Time with Active School Travel

Did you know your school can save money and time by prioritizing active school travel?

Many educators and school principals see the health and environmental benefits of active school travel, but are concerned that extensive programming will be costly or time-consuming for schools. In reality, there are many ways that active school travel can save principal and teacher time, and lead to cost savings for schools and school boards. Green Action Centre’s Active and Safe Routes to School Program has compiled this document to meet growing interest and to show that even without these cost and time saving benefits, the effort towards active school travel will also support curriculum and gain priceless environmental and health benefits.

This document shows that for a fraction of today’s transportation budget, Manitoba Education and school divisions can reduce transportation costs while setting the groundwork for students to lead much healthier lifestyles through active school travel policies and actions. This can be achieved by adopting policies to implement School Travel Planning across the province, with leadership from Manitoba Education. A decisive shift from busing-only to integrated School Travel Planning policies can control financial burden by persuading stakeholders to share the duty to ensure students get to and from school safely.

Photo credit: Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Why are School Travel Planning policies important?

Currently, active school travel is not considered by Manitoba Education or many school divisions to be part of overall student transportation services. Manitoba Education and school division budgets are geared more towards motorized transportation (including school buses). The road and sidewalk infrastructure accommodates, and in some cases indirectly encourages, children being driven to and from school. Manitoba budgeted expenditures for 2009-2010 show that, on average, $440 per enrolled student is currently allocated to school busing – yet many students do not benefit at all from this expenditure. Individual schools that wish to encourage active school travel are faced with raising funds for secure bicycle racks and storage facilities for inline skates and skate boards – which is enough of a barrier to lead to the outright discouragement of active school travel. School Travel Planning policies bring all community stakeholders together to make active travel a safe and realistic choice for a greater number of families, while educating citizens and pooling community resources efficiently for all users.