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Halton Catholic District School Board: Promoting active travel to school

The Halton Catholic District School Board’s planning department created an app to promote active travel to school for families of K-12 students in the Halton Region. Find out how this public-facing app can help officials to make better decisions about safety and infrastructure changes in the region.

Geographic information systems (GIS) can be used to answer important questions inside and outside of the classroom. In this blog post, we will focus on how GIS is being used by a school board in Ontario to support and analyze safety around schools, including the promotion of healthy living to families of K-12 students.

In late summer, the Halton Catholic District School Board’s (HCDSB) planning department created the Trip Counter app in partnership with Every Metre Counts (EMC) to encourage active travel (bike, walk or roll) to school for families of K-12 students in the Halton Region. This app was also used to promote International Walk to School Month in October.

The app allows individuals to measure their distance with the Measurement Map tab from home to school and to submit the total number of metres travelled in a day via a survey created with Survey123 for ArcGIS. As individuals add their active travel information to the survey on the Input Metres Travelled tab, their schools are added to the drop-down list, and statistics will appear when each school is selected. With an operations dashboard design, the data collected is visually appealing and easy to understand. The idea was to create friendly competition between schools and school boards.

Explore the Trip Counter app and add your information to the survey.

EMC’s goal is supporting families who are interested in participating in active transportation to school. It has representatives from two school boards, four municipalities and a public health department. These include the following:

EMC’s online Active Toolkit provides ideas for community members, parents, students and school administrators to initiate active travel activities in their communities.

The Trip Counter app is promoted daily by EMC Halton through Twitter @EMCHalton. With the cold weather setting in, #MotiveItMonday, #WalkItWednesday and #FunFridays have been used to encourage people to continue active travel to school and throughout the day.

The Halton Region, municipalities and school boards plan to use the data collected from the Trip Counter app to identify hotspots of active travel to make better decisions about safety and traffic flow and to complete and update infrastructure changes required in their areas.

If you are an educator in the Halton Region, please add your active travel information to the Trip Counter app and share it with others.

Are you interested in learning more about Survey123 and Operations Dashboard? Explore the following resources for more information:

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

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