Mother walking to school with her children

School Active Travel Program

Program benefits

School Active Travel Planning has many benefits for students, the community, and the environment, including:

  • Increasing physical activity among students, leading to healthier, happier, and more alert learners
  • Creating opportunities to engage with neighbours and socialize on the way to school
  • Reducing car travel to school, in turn decreasing traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollution
  • Inspiring active travel habits early in life to carry into adulthood

The School Active Travel Planning program encourages and promotes walkingcycling, and rolling to school. 

We consult with school communities and other stakeholders to identify school transportation challenges and opportunities. Our focus is to:

  • Encourage more children and their families to walk, cycle, and roll to school
  • Improve walking and cycling infrastructure around schools
  • Increase education and awareness around active transportation

The program is a partnership between the City of Vancouver and Vancouver School Board, and is a direct outcome of our Transportation 2040 Plan. The program also supports our Climate Emergency Action Plan targets.

Initiatives

Action plans and route maps

Find action plans and best walking and cycling route maps for schools that have participated in the School Active Travel Planning program.

Common infrastructure items to improve school safety

By City of Vancouver

See how we improve school infrastructure and support activities that promote school safety and active travel.

  • New marked and raised crosswalks

    By City of Vancouver

    Crosswalks alert people driving to expect people walking. Raised crosswalks reduce vehicle speed and increases pedestrian visibility. Pictured: Thunderbird Elementary, Cassiar St at Hermon Drive.

  • Curb ramps

    By City of Vancouver

    Curb ramps and bus pads improve accessibility for people using wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers. Pictured: Sir Sandford Fleming Elementary, Lanark St at E 47th Ave.

  • New sidewalks and curbs

    By City of Vancouver

    Sidewalk segments address gaps in the walking network. Sidewalks and curbs provide a continuous walking experience separating people from traffic. Pictured: Lord Kitchener Elementary, Collingwood St between W 24th Ave and W King Edward Ave.

  • Speed humps

    By City of Vancouver

    Speed humps are a traffic calming measure used to reduce vehicle volume and speed on local streets. Pictured: Lord Kitchener Elementary, W 24th Ave between Collingwood St and Blenheim St.

  • Rapid rectangular flashing beacons

    By City of Vancouver

    These high intensity amber flashing beacons are installed at crosswalks and are activated by a pedestrian push-button. The beacons increase pedestrian visibility and alert drivers to yield at marked crosswalks. Pictured: Renfrew Elementary, Cassiar St at E 22nd Ave.

  • Pedestrian/bike activated signals

    By City of Vancouver

    Assists pedestrians and cyclists in crossing major streets by providing signal-protected pedestrian crossing phases.

  • Pedestrian signalized crossing improvement

    By City of Vancouver

    Countdown timers show how much time is left to cross the street at an intersection. This reduces the number of people crossing the intersection when the light changes. Pictured: Lord Kitchener Elementary, Blenheim St at W King Edward Ave.

  • Signage

    By City of Vancouver

    Clarifies pick-up/drop-off operations, indicates various parking regulations, and improves sight-lines.

  • Barriers

    By City of Vancouver

    These low-gravity concrete barriers regulate traffic flow and discourage U-turn activity. Pictured: Eric Hamber Secondary, Willow St at W 35th Ave.

  • Protected bicycle lanes

    By City of Vancouver

    Protected bike lanes are on-street bike facilities physically separated from motor vehicles. These lanes can be elevated or protected from traffic by various treatments such as curbs, parked cars, concrete median and planters, and/or bollards. Pictured: Eric Hamber Secondary, Willow St between W 33rd Ave and W 35th Ave.

  • Bicycle racks

    By City of Vancouver

    Installation of bike racks provide secure bike parking at schools. Pictured: L’Ecole Bilingue, W 14th Ave at Alder St.

  • Bus pads

    By City of Vancouver

    Bus pads improve access for people using wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers at bus stops and waiting areas. Pictured: Carnarvon Community Elementary, W 16th Ave at Balaclava St.

  • Street mural

    By City of Vancouver

    Street murals are a school or community-led initiative, supported by the City, to apply artwork to the street as a traffic-calming measure. Pictured: Kerrisdale Annex Elementary, W 43rd Ave.

  • Student art

    By City of Vancouver

    Signs and artworks created by students raise awareness of travel safety around the school. Pictured: Sir Sandford Fleming Elementary.

  • Curb bulges

    By City of Vancouver

    Curb bulges pull together the two sides of the streets together for pedestrians. They shorten the distance a pedestrian is actually on the asphalt, and increase the visibility of pedestrians waiting to cross by providing them a perch or a pedestal to be prominently seen by oncoming drivers.

  • Pedestrian decals - Safety tips

    By City of Vancouver

    Installed above the pedestrian crossing button, this placard reminds users of the correct crossing etiquette. Remember, pedestrians should only ever enter an intersection when the white crossing silhouette is illuminated.

Additional resources

You can support active travel at your school with these school-led educational and encouragement initiatives:

  • Take part in walk and wheel events in the spring or fall 
  • Host a weekly active travel program (Walk and Wheel Wednesdays, Freedom Fridays)
  • Start a Walking School Bus
  • Promote Drive to 5: Encourage families that drive to park a five-minute walk from school 
  • Invite the VPD to give pedestrian safety talks
  • Start an adult crossing guard program at independent schools
  • Share safety tips and messages with families

See resources below.

Download helpful posters:

 back to school poster with traffic sign tips

Contact us

schoolactivetravel@vancouver.ca​​​​​​​