Toronto District School Board

In the course of a single generation, there has been a significant decline in the percentage of students walking and cycling to school. In response to this trend, the Board of Trustees approved a Charter for Active Safe and Sustainable Transportation (ASST) in the fall of 2013. Through this Charter, the TDSB has committed to supporting ASST more fully in our schools. 

Many schools at the TDSB are making active, safe and sustainable transportation a priority in their community and we continue to seek opportunities to offer supports that will assist schools in doing so. Click below to explore some of the ways active, safe and sustainable transportation is being supported at the TDSB:

›       Bike Racks

Modeled after our Large Tree Program, the EcoSchools Bike Rack Program, launched in January 2015, provides schools with an opportunity to apply to have bike racks installed on their school grounds free of charge. Visit our Cycling Supports page for more details.

›       Bike to School Project

The Bike to School Project is a collaborative initiative of CultureLink Settlement Services, Cycle Toronto, the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank (University of Toronto) and Evergreen, aimed at promoting cycling at TDSB secondary schools. In the 2014/15 school year, secondary schools were supported through a Leadership Camp and spring workshops. 

Leadership Camp
Hosted at Evergreen Brick Works on March 13th, 2015, this event aimed to provide attendees with an opportunity to: share experiences with students and teachers at other schools; learn about available resources; connect with the broader school community; and make plans to lead the school’s involvement in Bike to School Week. In total, 80 students, and 17 teachers from 17 schools across the TDSB attended the event.

From April to June 2015, cycling workshops (mechanics, rules and safety [indoor], and cycling skills [outdoor] were offered to staff and students at secondary schools involved in the Bike to School Project. Through 35 workshops at 12 schools, approximately 395 unique students were reached through this program.

›       Bike to School Week

In the spring of 2015, 77 TDSB schools participated in the first ever GTHA-wide Bike to School Week. Schools registered their events/initiatives via and approximately 10,000 TDSB students participated in a cycling event/initiative.

This year, Bike to School Week is happening May 30th – June 3rd, 2016.

›       CAN-BIKE 2 Training

In August 2015, the TDSB’s application for $2,335.80 of funding from the Ministry of Transportation’s Cycling Training Fund was accepted. Funds from this grant will help to cover the cost (course fees and some teacher release) of CAN-BIKE 2 training for 6 TDSB teachers in the fall of 2015. During the course, participants will be provided with time to reflect and plan ways to use their newly acquired skills to support the promotion of cycling amongst their students.

›       Cycling Education Programs

Starting in the 2015/16 school year, schools will be able to apply to have a skills-based cycling education program presented at their school, free of charge. Visit our Cycling Supports page for more details.

›       School Travel Planning

The Canadian School Travel Planning (STP) model was designed to assist schools in identifying and addressing travel issues faced by their school community. Through a partnership with Green Communities Canada, seven elementary and middle schools in the TDSB are working towards creating School Travel Plans in the 2015/16 school year:

  • Cassandra PS
  • Valley Park MS
  • Gateway PS
  • Pierre Laporte MS
  • Rolph Rd. ES
  • Northlea E/MS
  • King Edward PS
These projects bring together community stakeholders (TDSB staff, Toronto Police Service, City of Toronto, Toronto Public Health, students, parents, school administration and staff, trustees, city councillors etc.) to identify travel issues faced by staff and students, initiate a discussion on possible solutions and take action.

›       Smart Commute

Smart Commute helps local employers and commuters explore different commute choices like carpooling, cycling and transit in an effort to ease gridlock, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while making your commute less expensive and more enjoyable. Smart Commute is currently operating out of three of the TDSB’s administration centres (1 Civic Centre Court, 5050 Yonge, 140 Borough Drive) and discussions are underway regarding integrating Smart Commute into the EcoSchools program. All TDSB staff are invited to take advantage of Smart Commute’s online tool, designed to assist with planning your commute. Use the tool to explore and compare your travel options, including cycling, walking, public transit and carpooling and to calculate calories burned, CO2 emissions, and travel costs.


Revisions to Section 5 of the EcoSchools Program

Section 5 of the EcoSchools program asks schools to contribute to a healthy, active, safe and sustainable school community. Currently, ASST makes up a small component of the EcoSchools program. A revised version of the Section 5 EcoReview was drafted over the summer of 2015, and it is intended to be piloted with a selected group of teachers in the 2015/16 school year. In its current form, the Section 5 draft will require schools to:
  • take action to create and promote a healthy and safe environment, in terms of school travel
  • support active and sustainable transportation; and
  • assess and act on their current active transportation practices
The revised Section 5 is aimed to be rolled out to all schools in September 2016.

Certification Toolkit Revisions

The EcoSchools Certification Toolkit is a one-stop shop for all of the "tools" that schools require to help them access the services, materials, and equipment needed to become a certified EcoSchool. The EcoSchools Certification Toolkit was updated for the 2015/16 year to include more resources to support schools in promoting ASST. As section 5 of the EcoSchools program is revised, more tools will be added to the Certification Toolkit to assist EcoTeams in supporting ASST within their school.

The TDSB’s work on active, safe and sustainable transportation has been enhanced through the following collaborative initiatives:

›  GTHA Active Sustainable School Transportation Regional Hub

The TDSB has been represented at the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Active and Sustainable School Transportation Regional Hub (GTHA ASST Hub) since January 2015. The Hub brings together stakeholders from across the GTHA to support further collaboration, share best practices and amplify work, in regards to active school travel.

›  Guide to Safer Streets near Schools

The TDSB, along with Green Communities Canada, the City of Toronto, CultureLink Settlement Services, Toronto Public Health, Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT), University of Toronto, and York University, is contributing to the development and piloting of “A Guide to Safer Streets Near Schools”. This guide, funded by the Healthier Cities and Communities Hub Seed Grant, aims to accessibly explain the new 30km/h Speed Limit Policy and the 2010 Traffic Calming Policy for a wide range of stakeholders in Toronto.

›  Helmet Safety Education Campaign

In the fall of 2015, the TDSB, along with the Toronto Police Service, TCDSB, SickKids, and Toronto Public Health began working towards developing communication materials that will assist in promoting helmet safety amongst children and youth in the city of Toronto.

›  School Zone Safety Working Group

Since December 2014, the TDSB has been an active member of the School Zone Safety Working Group, steered by City of Toronto Transportation Services. Aimed at improving road safety in school zones, this working group brings together a wide range of Toronto stakeholders including: Toronto Public Health, Toronto Police Service, CAA, Student Transportation Services and Green Communities Canada.

›  SickKids Hospital/York University

In preparation for the revisions to Section 5, the TDSB began consulting with a team of injury prevention researchers from SickKids and York University in the fall of 2014. In the spring of 2011 this research team completed site surveys of the built environment at 118 K-6 TDSB schools and observed the proportion of students walking to school. Based on this study, they concluded that pedestrian collisions are more closely linked to built environment features than to the number of pedestrians that walk. Between May and June 2015, the team conducted another observational study related to pedestrian injury. This research has helped to influence the revisions to Section 5 of the EcoSchools Program.

›  Toronto Road Safety Strategic Plan

City of Toronto Transportation Services has been directed to develop a comprehensive city-wide Road Safety Strategic Plan (RSSP) in collaboration with key stakeholders in the city. In 2015/16, TDSB staff will be contributing to the RSSP Advisory Committee.

›  EcoSchools Resources
See the ASST Update for a summary of some of the ASST projects and initiatives the TDSB has been involved in since the Board’s adoption of the Charter for Active, Safe and Sustainable Transportation.
The Active, Safe and Sustainable Transportation Initiative Ideas resource suggests ways that active, safe and sustainable transportation can be integrated into a school’s EcoSchools program.
Healthy Living: Active, Safe, and Sustainable Transportation (Recommended readings)
Ontario Elementary Curriculum Connections to Active Safe, Sustainable Transportation (2016)
See Section 5 of the EcoSchools Certification Toolkit for resources to support active, safe and sustainable transportation.
The Best Practices Guide describes a wide range of activities that our schools undertake to make their EcoSchools program engaging and inspiring. See pp. 74 – 76 of this guide for some examples of how active transportation has been promoted at other schools.

›  Teaching and Learning

Guide to Ride
Free cycling-focused lesson plans for grades 4 – 6, provided by Physical and Health Education Canada

Move Think Learn – Cycling in Focus
Geared towards grades 4 – 9, this Physical and Health Education Canada resource provides lesson plans that demonstrate how cycling strategy, tactics and skills can be transferred to other sports

›  Additional Resources

Cycle Toronto’s Cyclist Handbook
A resource for Toronto cyclists, identifying the parts of a bicycle, cycling safety tips and rules of the road. Available in 17 languages.

CAA’s Bike Safety
This website provides a wealth of resources on bike safety, including selecting appropriate bike equipment, riding skills and tips and bike maintenance and care.

Ministry of Transportation’s Young Cyclists Guide
A cycling guidebook, designed for youth, providing information on bicycle equipment, riding tips and rules of the road.

Peel Region’s Bike Rodeo Community Kit
A “how-to” guide for establishing a Bike Rodeo in your community.

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