Benefits of active school travel
Active school travel helps to meet the goal for school-aged children of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, which is linked with lower body mass index and improved cardiovascular health.
Mental health benefits include reduced stress, depression, and anxiety, and increased happiness.
Active school travel also helps to meet Ontario Ministry of Education goals for student well-being and helps to build life-long habits of independent and active mobility.
Less traffic and pollution
Reducing the number of children being driven to school improves air quality and reduces associated risks of lung and cardiovascular diseases. Air pollution can also impact cognitive development: children are particularly vulnerable, experiencing negative impacts at lower levels of exposure than adults. See: Air Quality Information sheet, and Every Breath We Take: The Lifelong Impact of Air Pollution.
Increased active school travel also supports Ontario’s greenhouse gas reduction target of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 (Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan) by reducing vehicle emissions.
Safer school zones
Reducing traffic volumes at bell times creates safer school zones for all students and improving walking and cycling routes to school enhances the safety, connectivity, and quality of life for the community as a whole.
Better academic performance
Walking and wheeling also supports healthy brain development, which can lead to improved learning and academic outcomes. Research proves that kids who move more aren’t just healthier, they also tend to do better academically, behave better in class and miss fewer days of school.
Studies by Active Living Research show that physically active kids have increased brain activity, and improved test scores as well as grades.
The information on this page is drawn from a broad range of sources – for a full listing refer to our Active School Travel Fact Sheet and Reference List.