Stepping It Up

Developed in the Region of Peel, Ontario, Stepping It Up was a program designed to reduce car traffic and increase walking and cycling to school by working with elementary school students, their families, and school staff. To understand each of these audiences, program organizers obtained data on behaviors and attitudes towards transportation via online and paper-based surveys. Over the course of three years a total of 30 elementary schools were involved in the program, having been selected by program developers due to their lack of involvement in other similar programming. Selected schools were incentivized to participate, receiving an honorarium of $1,250 after completing baseline data collection and an additional $1,250 upon the completion of follow-up data collection. After securing formal approval for project implementation from participating school boards, school project committees (consisting of municipal staff, school board staff, community groups, parents, students, and local politicians) were created and tasked with helping to design a school travel plan. The creation and implementation of travel plans was overseen by a municipal Active and Safe Routes to School Committee in each area were Stepping It Up was operating. In addition to self-reported data collected via student and family travel surveys, each school carried out regular traffic counts to get an accurate measure of any changes in modes of transport that occurred over the course of the program. By the end of year three, Stepping It Up had seen an average decrease in school car trips of 7% in the morning period and 3% in the afternoon period.

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