Active Transportation

Help support student success through Active Transportation!

Did you know that walking or rolling to school not only improves children’s health but can help improve academic performance? The increased physical activity improves alertness and attention span during the school day! An active school commute also reduces road congestion in school zones and contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions – it’s a win-win for everyone!

For those that can’t walk the whole way, parking away from the school and walking the rest of the way (also known as Walk-a-Block) is another great way to add active transportation to your daily commute. Walking or rolling even part-way reduces traffic stress and increases the quality of time spent with your children.

Help play a role in encouraging active transportation by learning the multiple benefits of walking to school.

Below are resources and information on OSTA’s programs available to teachers, parents and guardians.


Find out more about our Walking Route Maps and Walking School Bus Program

+ - Walk-a-Block Maps

Example of a Walk-A-Block mapWhat is Walk-a-Block?

Walk-a-Bock is designed for families who cannot walk or bus and must therefore be driven to school. Families park at least a block away from the school and walk the rest of the way. Maps have been created to designate a good walking radius with safe and legal areas to park. Find your Walk-a-Block map!


Why Walk-a-Block?

Not only does it help with congestion in school zones, but it also creates a safer environment for students and staff and it also encourages daily physical activity. 

Make Walk-a-Block part of your new daily routine and help ease traffic congestion in your school zone!

+ - Hybrid Walking School Bus

Four special schools have been selected to participate in OSTA’s new Hybrid Walking School Bus (HWSB).

• St Andrew CS
• Sir Winston Churchill PS
• John Young PS
• Viscount Alexander PS

If your child walks to school, they can now join up with some friends and a trained leader and trained volunteers to accompany them to school. The Hybrid Walking School Bus (HWSB) is designed to promote active transportation and healthy living. Students walk to school with a group of 10 to 30 peers and a professional leader and trained volunteers, following a specific route and schedule.

More Info

+ - Walking School Bus

If your child walks to school, they can now join up with some friends and a trained leader to accompany them to school….. The Walking School Bus (WSB) is designed to promote active transportation and healthy living. Students walk to school with a group of up to 10 peers and a professional leader, following a specific route and schedule.  Similar to an adult crossing guard, each WSB has a paid leader who has been trained by the Ottawa Safety Council, screened and first-aid certified to walk with your child to school. They follow a specific route and schedule which has been approved by OSTA and its partners. Walking to school is a safe, convenient, healthy and fun way for your child to travel to school with their friends. It helps them get the daily physical activity they need to be healthy and concentrate better at school.  OSTA’s Walking School Bus (WSB) program is offered in 13 Ottawa schools.

More Info

+ - Walking Route/ Walk Zone Maps by School

To help with the changes from our public consultation results, OSTA has put together walking route maps to help your child walk to school safely. Maps will constantly be updated throughout the summer in preparation for the beginning of school in September.

More Info

+ - Wanted: Volunteer Hybrid WSB Leaders

Are you walking your child to school every day? Are you retired and looking for an opportunity to get some exercise and help the students get to school safely?

OSTA and the Ottawa Safety Council are looking for community volunteers to walk children to school. Flexible schedules and training is provided at no cost to you!

Register here to find out more about becoming a Volunteer Hybrid WSB Leader

+ - See what other schools are doing!
+ - Pedestrian Safety

Safety Tips for Young Pedestrians
Walking to school is a fun, easy way to get to school. It's important to stay safe on your way there.

• Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street
• Walk facing traffic in a single file
• At crosswalks and crossing signals, push the pedestrian button
• Make yourself big
• Always look both ways before crossing the street

Find your school's walking route map here

Download the poster!

+ - *NEW* Hop! The App That Makes Walking to School Fun

Meet Hop! The App That Makes Walking to School Fun

Hop! is a bilingual progressive web-app that helps make the walk to school more fun through interactive features. App users can track kilometres travelled, while being motivated by engaging illustrations, group challenges, and milestones.

Hop! allows children to see the positive impact walking has on the environment by telling them how many greenhouse gas emissions they avert by walking instead of driving. The app’s motivational features help children to choose walking first, which reduces cars on the road and improves school zone safety.

Students can log trips to and from school, as well as walks in their community, to ensure that any student can participate. Hop! is accessible on a regular internet browser, on a phone, tablet, or computer.

About Hop! 

Hop! was made possible through financial support from Green Communities Canada and the Government of Ontario. It is a collaboration between OSTA   and EnviroCentre, with support from the City of Ottawa, as we believe that active transportation is key to Ottawa’s future as a sustainable and livable city.

Hop! is free and is available for download by anyone through the OSTA website, and schools are particularly encouraged to use it in their active transportation initiatives.

Download Hop! to start celebrating children’s steps to school at 123hop.ca

Below are resources to help you get started using Hop!

  1. What is Hop!
  2. Hop iWalk Challenge
  3. Hop Teams for Teachers
  4. Hop Poster
+ - Wayfinding Signs for SATP schools

To help make your walk to school a success, wayfinding signs will be added to 11 School Active Transportation Schools during the Fall and Spring months. During the Winter months, the signs will be safely stored for future use.  These wayfinding signs feature a QR code that leads directly to the school’s Walk-a-Block map. Walk-a-Block maps are designed to encourage parents who drive their children to school, to park 5 to 10 minutes away from the school and walk the rest of the way. By using Walk-a-Block, traffic congestion is dispersed away from the congested school area, creating a safer school zone for all.

The maps identify a 400 and 800-metre radius around the school. They also identify neighbourhood street names, pathways and potential quiet places to park.

Look for a wayfinding sign at the following schools:

  • St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School
  • St. Emily Catholic School
  • Avalon Public School
  • Chapman Mills Public School
  • Half Moon Bay Public School
  • John Young Elementary School
  • Sir Winston Churchill Public School
  • St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic School
  • St. Rita Catholic School
  • Stephen Leacock Public School
  • Georges Vanier Catholic School

Check out our safety tips and graphics for schools, parents and guardians to download

+ - Pedestrian Safety - Tips for young children, Ottawa Safety Council's student training, how to book a Bike Rodeo

Teach Kids How to Walk Safely

It's important to teach children the skills to become confident, safe and independent pedestrians. Be a role model by teaching them pedestrian safety tips at home and in the classroom. Practice walking with them in real-world situations to help them become familiar with their neighbourhood and learn the benefits of active transportation.

Download your school's walking route map to find the quickest and safest route to school.

Download the Pedestrian Safety Tips poster

Download the SATP Walking to School Independently Tip Sheet

For more resources on pedestrian safety please visit our pedestrian safety tips page! 

For Teachers:

Book a Bike Rodeo with the Ottawa Safety Council

Book a Pedestrian Safety Presentation with the Ottawa Safety Council

+ - School Zone Safety - Graphics to promote safe driving, tip sheets to report unsafe driving, student posters for peer-to-peer influence

School Zone Safety Starts With You!

It is essential for drivers to practice safe driving habits when travelling near school zones to ensure the safety of everyone in the neighbourhood. Download our school zone safety resources to help promote safety in your school zone.

Report issues in your school zone:

By working together, we can make our school zones a safer experience for everyone. If you see a traffic issue in a school please report it, it only takes a couple of minutes. Anyone can submit a request to 3-1-1. Some examples of what to call 3-1-1 for include: reporting vehicles parked in a no-parking zone, requesting a designated crosswalk or street signage, or requesting a Crossing Guard or snow removal.

Category Poster Download Link
School Zone Safety Safer School Zone Infographic Safer School Zone Infographic
Active Transportation Choices Poster
Distracted Driving Poster Thumbnail Distracted Driving Poster
Don't Drive, Let Them Ride Poster
Safer School Zones Start with you Banner School Zone Safety Banner
Tips for reporting traffic and safety concerns: 311 Reporting Tip Sheet_EN

Conseils pour signaler des problèmes de circulation et de sécurité: 311 Reporting Tip Sheet_FR

+ - Tip Sheets - Active Transportation Tips for Parents/Guardians and Teachers, Tips for reporting traffic and safety concerns

Poster example of the parent tip sheet.Resources for parents:

Active Transportation Parent Tip Sheet (English): Parent Tip Sheet_EN

Conseil aux parents sur le transport actif (Français): Parent Tip Sheet_FR

Walking to School Independently Tip Sheet (English): Walking to School Independently Tip Sheet

Resources for Schools:

Active Transportation School Tip Sheet (English): School Tip Sheet_EN

Conseil aux écoles sur le transport actif (Français): School Tip Sheet_FR

Report issues in your school zone:

Tips for reporting traffic and safety concerns: 311 Reporting Tip Sheet_EN

Conseils pour signaler des problèmes de circulation et de sécurité: 311 Reporting Tip Sheet_FR

+ - Activities - Teachers and parents/guardians can do in the classroom or at home
+ - Cycling Safety - City of Ottawa Bike Rodeos and RoadSMART 4 Kids resources

City of Ottawa Bike Rodeos

  • City of Ottawa Cycle Education programs are offered in communities, schools, and camps free of charge by the City of Ottawa Cycling Education Team in collaboration with Safer Roads Ottawa.
  • COVID-modified bike rodeos are expected to be available in Step 2 of the Provincial reopening plan. To book Bike Rodeos, click here, or e-mail cycling@ottawa.ca
  • The City is also offering 1-hr virtual interactive cycling workshops. To find information on registering, visit here.

Ottawa Safety Council – RoadSMARTS 4 Kids


Teachers: Take a look at some of the resources available to your school

+ - School Active Transportation Planning Information and Signup

Active school travel makes a difference, find out how your school can be part of the change.

This past fall, OSTA conducted an online survey to better understand how students were getting to school and if any traffic impacts were observed around their school site. The survey results showed that schools that have participated in the School Active Transportation Planning (SATP) have a higher uptake of active transportation than non-SATP schools.

School Active Transportation Planning (SATP) is a community-based approach for increasing rates of active school travel. Based on Green Communities Canada model of School Travel Planning (STP), the SATP process brings together stakeholders at the school and regional levels to create and implement action plans that use all five E’s (education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement, and evaluation) to:

  • address travel-related issues at schools; and
  • encourage students in the walk zone to walk or wheel for the school journey (and encourage students in the bus zone to ride the school bus).

The SATP process is guided and supported by an SATP Facilitator who brings everyone together, coordinates activities, and uses the STP Toolkit to compile a School Travel Plan.

As part of their commitment to advancing active and sustainable transportation options for Ottawa residents, EnviroCentre delivers School Active Transportation Planning services to local OCDSB and OCSB schools. These services are delivered as part of the School Active Transportation Program on behalf of OSTA and the City of Ottawa and in partnership with Ottawa Public Health.

Eleven schools in Ottawa are currently participating in the School Active Transportation Program (SATP). Each year, hands-up classroom surveys are conducted over five days in all SATP schools. This historical data provides some context and points of comparison for the 2020 OSTA Transportation Survey.

A copy of the survey results overview can be downloaded here.

Help encourage families to choose active and sustainable modes of transportation for their children’s daily commute by becoming a SATP School.

To find out how your school can participate in School Active Transportation Planning (SATP), contact: Envirocentre - SATP Signup

+ - School Active Transportation Toolkit - Learn how to plan your Walk to School Day Event

Cover of the Event Planning ToolkitWhat can a school do to increase the number of students choosing active transportation? Make it fun! Show the school community that your school encourages walking! You can do that by having a few dedicated days each year when the school comes together and celebrates active transportation with a Walk to School Day event.

Sometimes known as an “I Walk” event, a Walk to School Day event is a fun and easy way for families to try active transportation for the first time and to celebrate those already walking and wheeling every day.

In order to help you plan your first event, or make an existing event even better, the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA), in collaboration with EnviroCentre, has prepared this toolkit. It is free to use and full of ideas, planning tips and tools.

To download a copy of the toolkit please click here!

For info about the toolkit please visit the toolkit page.

+ - Pitter Patter Grant - Information and application

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority wants to help increase physical activity opportunities for students by supporting and expanding School Active Transportation (SAT) initiatives for elementary students.

The OSTA Pitter Patter Grant is a micro-grant of up to $250, available to local schools who wish to implement or support a SAT initiative during the current school year. The grant will help defray some or all of the costs for Walk to School Events and classroom activities.

Upcoming Event Date Ideas

• Winter Walk Day in February/March
• Earth Day in April
• Environmental Week in June
• International Walk to School Month in October

Ready to find out more?
Applying is easy! Simply fill out the online form:

Pitter Patter Online Application Form


Try out these links to see some other great online resources


Ready to find out how you can promote walking and rolling to school?

To participate in School Active Transportation Planning (SATP), contact: Envirocentre – SATP Signup