What we do
Our process is continuous cycle of five phases. These phases are common in any Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategy; however, the desired outcome of a TDM strategy is what shapes the steps taken within each phase. As the DSR, we engage with communities to build an active transportation system in order to get 100% of students who live close enough walking/wheeling to school. This desired outcome shapes how we conduct each phase of the process.
There is an element of engagement in every phase of the process. This phase refers to the initial engagement with a school community. In this phase, we learn about the current transportation environment at a school. Primarily:
- What is the modal split?
- How many students within 1.6km from school are currently walking vs driving?
- Why do students walk to school?
- Why don’t they walk to school?
- What routes do they take when they walk?
- What are the barriers they face along the way?
We use several engagement techniques to learn about a school, including family surveys, discussions with school community members, and neighbourhood walkabouts.
Learn more about engagement here:
Understanding involves getting all stakeholders to a baseline of knowledge about a school. The quantitative, qualitative, and spatial data collected from the initial engagement with a school community undergoes analysis to further the understanding of the active transportation environment. Then, this information is reported to the school community via a ‘School Page’ on this website, and to decision makers within the municipality via school safety reports.
Here’s an example of a School Page: St. David | Daily School Route
This phase involves working closely with stakeholders on multiple levels – School, School Board, Municipality, Community Organizations – to develop a school-specific plan of action by answering the following questions:
What outcome are we planning for? What conditions are currently leading us to a different outcome? How can we change the conditions to get us closer to our desired outcome?
Here’s an example of two ‘Route Heatmaps’. Heatmaps help us understand the main routes to school, which inform the action plan.
Implementation of the school-specific action plan is ongoing and requires the continued support of stakeholders on all levels.
A core piece of implementation (which involves planning) is ‘Student Streets’. We understand that to truly impact behaviour, students’ routes to school must be safe, convenient, and attractive. Importantly, a habit of actively getting to school must be formed. We continue to innovate to learn how to help students develop this habit. Our first step in this involves the installation of signage and street markings to imprint Student Streets on the landscape.
Learn more about the wayfinding project here:
In order to determine if the DSR is successful in increasing walk to school rates, an evaluation of the system is undertaken. This involves cycling back to the first phase, engagement, to determine if the interventions are effective and if there are any changes needed to improve outcomes.