The TravelSmart4Kids Strategy and the Executive Summary are now available for download.
TravelSmart4Kids is a first of its kind strategy that seeks to create a region that is safe, healthy, and sustainable to ensure future generations know how to navigate a multi-modal transportation network. It is a regional, coordinated strategy to encourage more children between the ages of 0 to 12 to travel by active and sustainable modes of transportation in Metro Vancouver, including walking, cycling, rolling, and taking transit.
The Strategy includes a clear vision and goals for children’s travel in the region. The Strategy addresses some of the current barriers and challenges of active and sustainable travel for children are facing in our region. It also looks forward and aims to create changes in these three focus areas:
Culture and Behaviour: Create a culture for healthy and safe active and sustainable transportation.
Sustainability and Legacy: Support the sustainability and legacy of active and sustainable travel initiatives that focus on children.
Resources and Funding: Builds on the need for additional resources and funding to sustain programs, initiatives, and infrastructure that support sustainable travel for children.
In the past, funding and resources have been put to programs and initiatives that are intended to encourage active travel to school without fully understanding the impact they have.
The creation of TravelSmart4Kids was a regional, team effort led by TransLink, along with school districts, municipalities, health authorities, regional and provincial governments, and many others.
Doing this work at the regional level helped to streamline our efforts and build support and ownership of the Strategy. We have the organizations and agencies within the region and province that have the passion, knowledge, and capacity to continue to do this work.
The Strategy’s framework ensures there is a clear vision and goals for children’s active and sustainable travel in the region. The themes are supported by strategies and actions to work towards the vision and goals. The vision is supported by two goals, with the support of three themes, and six strategies. Each strategy has a series of actions identified, there are a total of 56 actions.
TravelSmart4Kids is intended to be implemented collaboratively over the short- (0 to 1 years), medium- (1 to 5 years) and long-term (5+ years), and to align with TransLink’s Regional Transportation Strategy Transport 2050.
Four priority actions were identified that would have the greatest impact in the short-term and lay the foundations for future years.
- A Regional Coordinator role was created to champion and lead this work.
- A Regional Working Group was established for regional stakeholders to come together to provide a platform to share knowledge and learn from one another.
- Consolidate resources and reference materials already developed that can help encourage more active and sustainable transportation.
- Establish a formal commitment for the implementation of the Strategy. We are currently working to formalize existing relationships and create new commitments to ensure the Strategy has a lasting impact.
TravelSmart4Kids is the umbrella strategy that includes several other programs and initiatives you may already be familiar with. Many of these stemmed from the process of developing the strategy.
Kid Commute: A Walking School Bus Program: The Society for Children and Youth (SCY) of BC and TransLink have partnered with participating municipalities to deliver Kid Commute: A Walking School Bus initiative set to launch in fall 2023 at select elementary schools throughout Metro Vancouver.
SCY is a not-for-profit organization based in Vancouver that serves children province-wide. They provide a series of other programs and projects that centre children and youth that can be found on SCY’s website.
A Walking School Bus is a group of students who travel to and from school each day along a designated route, stopping along the way to pick up more students. Walk Leaders, trained adult supervisors, walk with the group daily. The bus is powered not by an engine, but on foot by the students themselves as they walk to and from school.
- Get on Board! Kids 12 & Under Ride Free: Children 12 and under can ride TransLink services free of charge as part of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure program.
- Cycling Education Programs: The Everyone Rides Grade 4/5 program delivered by HUB Cycling and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure provides British Columbia elementary students with skills, confidence, and the opportunity to learn to ride their bikes to and from school.
HUB Cycling is a not-for-profit organization that advocates for removing barriers to cycling in Metro Vancouver. To find out more about their work, visit Hub Cycling's website
- Tactical Urbanism Toolkit: TravelSmart’s Tactical Urbanism Toolkit provides a proactive approach for active transportation and placemaking projects through thoughtful communication plans and strategic community engagement tactics. This toolkit was initiated by TransLink to support safer street space for youth but can be used for all ages and abilities.
What are some of the benefits of active and sustainable travel?
Active and sustainable transportation is any form of human-powered transportation, such as walking, cycling, rolling, and taking transit. This can include scooters, e-scooters, bicycles, e-bicycles, skateboards, and in-line skates.
There are many benefits of safe and active modes, as shown in our Active Kids are Healthy Kids Infographic. Benefits of more trips made by walking, cycling, and transit for children include higher rates of physical activity, stronger mental health, growing independence, stronger academic performance, and deeper social connections. Promoting walking, cycling, rolling, and taking transit within a community can result in an improved transportation safety, a more affordable and equitable community, reduced traffic congestion, better air quality, reduced noise from motor vehicles, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
How was TravelSmart4Kids developed?
The Strategy was led by TransLink and developed collaboratively with stakeholders across the region through an interactive, four-phase process. Stakeholders from across the region were involved in developing the Strategy.
This included school districts, municipalities, and provincial ministries that have a mandate to grow active and sustainable transportation for children’s education, health, and well-being. Regional health authorities were also involved, as well as community organizations who are advancing active transportation road safety and injury prevention and other related organizations.
These groups are still involved in the implementation of the Strategy.
Why develop the Strategy?
The Strategy uses a systems-thinking approach to ensure active school travel initiatives have a lasting impact and strong return on investment.
Healthy habits and development start early. Children lay the foundation for their travel habits and perceptions of modes in their childhood.
Children often have fewer transportation options compared to middle-aged adults, and that those with lower income households have even fewer options. The Strategy aims to support a diverse cross section of children in the Metro Vancouver region, recognizing the role we all play in advancing equity and reconciliation.
Who is responsible for implementing the Strategy?
Every stakeholder has a role to implementing the Strategy