In early 2023, Green Communities Canada received $100,000 in funding from Infrastructure Canada’s National Active Transportation Fund to conduct research about how students across British Columbia and Ontario get to school.
To do this important research, Green Communities Canada will lead a School Travel Data Collection pilot project across the two provinces from October 1-31, 2023. This project will use a combination of hands-up surveys for teachers and household travel surveys for families to collect baseline data about how elementary and middle school students get to school. Classroom staff and/or teachers can participate in the hands-up surveys during Bike Walk Roll Week, from October 16-20, 2023, and families can answer the household travel survey anytime during the month of October.
In this article you will learn
The Importance of Data Collection
Currently, many schools across Canada collect data about how their students travel to school but there is no singular strategy being used. This leads to a duplication of efforts, incorrect/incomplete data collection, and/or data that does not provide the appropriate level of insight. The goal of the pilot is to create a consistent data collection strategy across British Columbia and Ontario to better understand the feasibility of conducting a nationwide school travel data collection initiative on an annual basis.
How can schools participate?
Bike Walk Roll Week, taking place October 16-20, 2023, is an exciting opportunity for school staff to engage their students in a data collection challenge, while learning about the students’ travel mode patterns.
To participate, school staff can visit BikeWalkRoll.org, an easy-to-use website for collecting student travel data. Staff can create an account using their name, email address, and classroom name (optional). After creating an account, individuals can familiarize themselves with the website by choosing to complete a ‘Test Survey’.
During Bike Walk Roll Week, school staff will ask their students “How did you get to school today?”. They can log into their BikeWalkRoll.org account, find their school, record the count of how many students raised their hands for each mode of transportation, and hit submit!
After the submission, staff can view their school/classroom’s Bike Walk Roll score, and even compare it to other schools’ scores across the province, country, or globe! For step-by-step instructions on how to use BikeWalkRoll.org, read the Hands-up Survey info sheet.
The only personal information that will be collected for Bike Walk Roll Week is the teacher’s name, email address, and classroom grade. Although every classroom’s overarching school travel mode will be collected, no student’s personally identifiable information will be collected.
What do schools receive for their participation?
All the school staff who participate in Bike Walk Roll Week will be entered for a chance to win one of eight $50 gift cards for their classrooms. Each entry into BikeWalkRoll.org will be equal to one entry into the prize draw, so teachers are encouraged to enter their classroom’s data every day of Bike Walk Roll Week for five prize draw entries!
All winning entries will be contacted via email by November 30, 2023.
How can families participate?
Parents/caregivers are encouraged to participate in the data collection initiative by providing their response to the household travel survey, anytime between October 1-31, 2023. The household travel survey is a five-minute online questionnaire that asks parents/caregivers about their child’s mode of travel to school and factors that influence it.
The household travel survey will help to cross-reference and validate the data collected from school staff during Bike Walk Roll Week. Parents/caregivers will also have the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win one of 10 $50 gift cards if they choose to provide their email address.
The household travel survey will not ask for any personally identifiable information from families, besides their postal code and email address, both of which are optional. The postal code will be used to help cross-reference and validate data collected from schools during Bike Walk Roll Week and the email address is only used to contact the prize winners to distribute their gift cards.
What do families receive for their participation?
Parents/caregivers who choose to provide their email address at the end of the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win one of eight $50 gift cards for their family. All winning entries will be contacted via email by November 30, 2023.
How can practitioners participate?
Currently, there is a significant gap in consistent and accurate data that observes travel mode patterns for students across Canada. The pilot program addresses this gap and provides practitioners with additional insight into what infrastructure, policy, and program changes can help improve the school journey for students.
We recognize that many practitioners work in close collaboration with schools to encourage safer and more sustainable school journeys through active transportation. For this reason, we encourage practitioners to promote the data collection pilot project in their school networks through social media, email marketing, media relations, and more. Practitioners can also download and use content in the Sample Messaging document to help spread the word via social media and/or email.
In return, practitioners can benefit from the project results, including a summary report, a method’s review report, and a recommendations briefing note. These reports will provide details about the project’s key insights and trends, share important learnings associated with data collection, and create recommendations for how to transform this pilot into a nationwide program.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us at email@example.com. We are excited to receive the support from school administration, teachers, parents, caregivers, and practitioners for this initiative as we work towards our goal to create a recurring data collection program that can be established in every province and territory across Canada.
We look forward to your involvement in our initiative this October!