What we’ve learned from engaging students

Youth En Route will listen to students and build programs that work for them. As part of that work, we have students complete School Travel Surveys. To date, we’ve had close to 700 students fill them out at two schools in different parts of Calgary.  

What we’ve learned gives us an understanding of what we need to do to break down barriers to Active Transportation.

First of all, cars are the primary way to school for most high school students. 49 % of Dr. EP Scarlett students arrived at school by car. At Lester B Pearson, the number is 53 %. While many Pearson students live close enough to walk (18%) Pearson actually has fewer students using transit (26%) than Scarlett (41%).

We think that this also shows how having a bike, and being able to bike is an equity issue. We know that $80 per month for a youth transit pass can be prohibitive for many families.

Scarlett student travel choices

Pearson Student travel choices

But one of the biggest things our data tells us is that we have an opportunity to make change. At both schools, students were open to riding or using active transportation to get to school.

When we asked would you consider riding a bike to school, about 30% of students said they’d consider it.

Scarlett
Pearson

But when we talked about the idea of getting some kind of benefit (Beyond the obvious health, fitness and environmental ones.) even more students would consider it. A full 50 % would be open to riding to school.  Imagine if half of high school students used active transportation to get to school? We’d have a lot less traffic headaches around high schools.

Would you consider riding to school if PE or CALM credits were offered?

Scarlett
Pearson

We are actively working with schools and board to build incentives that work for all students into the system.

Why is all of this important?

“If just 10% of the population were to change travel behaviour, the emissions savings would be around 4% of lifecycle CO2 emissions from all car travel.” This from a report in https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210208104624.htm

Even if students change modes one day a week, there would be a measurable improvement in CO2 emissions.

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