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 greenhouse gas emissions – it’s a win-win for everyone!

To help support safer school zones and make everyone’s trip to and from school a success, OSTA has created multiple resources and tools, like walking route maps, for parents and children to download and use. Three types of walking route maps have been created to help you plot your trip to school; whether you plan to walk all or part way to school, each map was designed with safety in mind!

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.

Graphic image showing children and parents or guardians walking or rolling to school.

Find out more about our Walking Route Maps and more

Walking Route/ Walk Zone Maps by School

Sample Walking Route MapWalking Route maps are designed to indicate the safest and most direct routes to school. They include the location of traffic lights and signs, crossing guards and any hazards in the neighbourhood. The routes are identified by directional arrows that lead toward the school.

Find your map here!

Help keep your walk to school safe by following the pedestrian safety rules!

When planning to walk to school or anywhere, it’s important for you and your child to be prepared. Begin teaching pedestrian safety at a young age and continue to refresh their knowledge as they get older. For more pedestrian safety tips, check out our Pedestrian Safety Tips page.

Remember, Safer School Zones Start with You.

More Info

Walk & Roll Maps

Sample Walk & Roll MapWalk & Roll Meetup Maps are designed to encourage students to meet up at designated locations and walk as a small group to school. Walking as a small group, children benefit from “safety in numbers”. Walk & Roll Meetup stops were conveniently selected based on the location of walking students in the area. The maps also identify recommended walking routes to school, location of traffic lights and signs, hazards and crossing guards.

Help keep your walk to school safe by following the pedestrian safety rules!

When planning to walk to school or anywhere, it’s important for you and your child to be prepared. Begin teaching pedestrian safety at a young age and continue to refresh their knowledge as they get older. For more pedestrian safety tips, check out our Pedestrian Safety Tips page.

Remember, Safer School Zones Start with You.

More Info

Walk-a-Block Maps

Example of a Walk-A-Block mapWalk-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!

Walk-a-Block not only helps with congestion in school zones but 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!

More Info

Walking School Bus (SUSPENDED FOR 23-24)
The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) is pausing the Walking School Bus Program for the 2023-2024 school year.  While we continue to encourage active transportation and community efforts to support safe walking to school, this year OSTA will be focusing resources on the safe and timely transportation of students on yellow buses, public transit, and van service. Every school day, OSTA picks up and drops off almost 70,000 students across 2670 square kilometres. Of the 555 daily bus routes, we have 6 walking school bus routes. As we work to reimagine service delivery in alignment with new funding formulas, we felt it was necessary to prioritize our resources to core service delivery.
As we spend time this year reviewing all of our delivery models, we are hopeful that we may be able to continue or grow the program in future years. We will work with partners like the Ottawa Safety Council and Ottawa Public Health, to see where active transportation can fit in the delivery model. So for now, the program is paused, and will be part of the overall review of services offered by OSTA.

While the formal Walking School Bus Program is paused, OSTA continues to make our Walking Route maps available for families interested in walking to school. These maps indicate the safest and most direct routes to school and include the location of traffic lights and signs, crossing guards and any hazards in the neighbourhood. The routes are identified by directional arrows that lead toward the school.

Find your map here!

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.

OSTA is honoured to be recognized by MTO for its leadership in school active transportation with EnviroCentre. The Hop! App has won the Initiative of the Year Award at the MTO 2021 Road Safety Achievement Awards!

Download Hop! to start celebrating children’s steps to school at

Download the Hop! Toolkit, a resource explaining how to use the Hop! app to promote walking to school.

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
  5. Hop! Toolkit
Wayfinding Signs for SATP schools

Another example of a wayfinding sign placed near school.In September 2021, the School Active Transportation (SAT) program installed wayfinding signs at 16 schools in Ottawa to encourage families to walk to school. These fun, simple signs let walkers and bikers know how long it takes to get to school from the sign’s location.

The purpose of wayfinding signs is to build awareness around active transportation, build a culture of walking and health in the community, and encourage families to discover it’s not that far to walk to school.

Wayfinding sign placed near school.

A total of 128 wayfinding signs were installed at 11 schools enrolled in the SAT program and 5 schools in the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE). The signs were installed along a few different routes at 5- and 10-minute walk distances to the schools.

Data from the 2021 OSTA Transportation Survey was analyzed to help determine the impact of the wayfinding signs on active transportation rates at SAT schools. A greater percentage of survey respondents from schools that had wayfinding signage installed reported walking all the way and Walking-a-Block compared with respondents from schools without wayfinding signage installed. While it is not possible to conclude that the wayfinding signs caused an increase in walking rates, there is a correlation between the presence of wayfinding signs and increased walking rates.

Find out more about the SAT wayfinding project by reading the School Active Transportation Program Wayfinding Project Report 2021-2022.

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 [email protected]
  • The City is also offering 1-hr virtual interactive cycling workshops. To find information on registering, visit here.

Ottawa Safety Council – RoadSMARTS 4 Kids

Infographics - Top 5 benefits of Active Transportation

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

School Active Transportation Planning Information and Signup (SUSPENDED FOR 23-24)


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.

SAT Safety Blitz Toolkit - Learn how to plan a Safety Blitz at your School

Many schools in Ottawa experience traffic flow problems and safety issues due to the number of families trying to park as close to the school as possible to drop off children. High traffic volumes in front of the school lead to school zone safety concerns, resulting in some families not feeling comfortable letting their children walk, scoot, bike, or take the bus to school. Fewer families using active and sustainable modes of transportation creates a cycle of increased safety concerns and more students driving to school.

A School Zone Safety Blitz is one way to address traffic flow issues and improve school zone safety. During a Safety Blitz, volunteers use signage to communicate with drivers to change unsafe driving behaviours and to park away from the school and walk a block. Signs are also used to encourage safe pedestrian behaviour. As drivers and pedestrians follow the messages displayed on Safety Blitz signs, it leads to increased safety for all road users, which can make families more confident using active and sustainable modes of transportation.

Sample page from the toolkit

The goals of Safety Blitzes are to increase rates of active and sustainable transportation(walking, scooting, biking, and bussing), reduce vehicle traffic in front of the school, and make the school zone safer for everyone. Each school’s safety concerns differ, and a Safety Blitz is designed to address school-specific issues. The School Zone Safety Blitz Toolkit is a resource to guide a school through the process of planning and implementing its own Safety Blitz.

Below is a summary of the contents of the School Zone Safety Blitz Toolkit:

1. Overview of previous Safety Blitz events
2. Steps to take before a Safety Blitz
3. Guide for schools to coordinate a Safety Blitz
4. Stage 1 – Planning
5. Stage 2 – Education
6. Stage 3 – Enforcement
7. Stage 4 – Evaluation
8. Resources available for implementing a Safety Blitz

Cover of the Safety Blitz Toolkit
Pitter Patter Grant - Information and application (SUSPENDED FOR 23-24)


Ottawa Safety Council - WalkSafe Teacher Program

Walking is the original form of transportation and a natural and continued form of transportation globally. In a growing community like Ottawa, we walk for recreation, socially or to get to one destination from another.

Adults can help teach kids about road awareness concerns, such as speeding, and impaired or distracted drivers, so they can become aware of pedestrians and, ideally, better and safer drivers through OSC's WalkSafe program.

In lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ottawa Safety Council has modified their Walksafe content that would have been traditionally delivered to students by an OSC presenter and packaged it as downloadable lesson plans aligned with Ministry of Education curriculum requirements, resources, activity sheets and videos that teachers can deliver in their classrooms until such time as we can resume in-class presentations.

For more information, visit their website.

Ottawa Safety Council - WalkAlone Teacher Program

OSC WalkAlone: When, What, and How for Kids

Sample page from booklet

The WalkALONE program is designed to help parents and educators determine if a child is ready to start walking some places on their own and prepare them to do so safely by covering concepts such as readiness, judgement & decision making, road safety rules, people smarts, safe zones, emergency preparedness, and safe route planning. Students follow along in a workbook throughout the program, and once complete, their workbook serves as a guide with a checklist to prepare for each time they walk somewhere alone. Once completed, students can earn and download their personalized WalkAlone license.

Click here to get started with the WalkAlone Program!

OAST Back to School Resources for Schools

Back to School (B2S) by Ontario Active School Travel is an annual campaign to encourage students and families to build healthy habits in September by choosing active journeys to school.  

Back to School is the perfect time to try fun new ways to get to school! On this page, they have materials, resources, and activities to help schools, school boards, and practitioners promote active school travel in their communities.

Green Communities Canada Launches 'Ideas Lab'

The 'Ideas Lab' is available on the new website! It is a searchable catalogue of 35 actions, such as family travel surveys, walkabouts, anti-idling campaigns, and much more. These items include a description of the activity, steps for implementation, and additional resources.

Get inspired by the new Ideas Lab!

Graphic showing different benefits of active transportation

Active Transportation and Bus Video Resources
Resources from our Partners - Links to other great online resources
Programme de transport scolaire actif - Ressources en français (SUSPENDU POUR 23-24)


Why did kids stop walking to school?

Check out this great video produced About Here (Uytae Lee) and TransLink. The video discusses the decrease of children walking to school and raises awareness around North American school travel car dependency, solutions that could reduce it, and increase participation in Walking School Bus programs across Metro Vancouver.

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 (SUSPENDED FOR 23-24 DUE TO FUNDING PRESSURES)