Letter from Leslie Maxwell, Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region

Dear Families,

Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region strives to positively influence children’s lives by coordinating their safe and efficient movement between home and school in support of their educational journey. In an effort to support students living in the walk zone, STSWR offers School Travel Planning services that work with your school board, area municipalities, and parents like you to make active travel to school like walking, cycling and scooting to school a safer and easier choice.

School Travel Planning is best delivered after collecting specific data about each individual school, since school travel situations differ from one site to the next. We use surveys to get a clearer picture of why and how students travel to school, neither of which asks for personal information. Combined answers will be used for program planning at your school and the regional level, and may be shared with Green Communities Canada for province-wide reviews of school travel patterns.

This information is especially important as your School Travel Planning committee will be working on improvements to the school journey. Some of the great things that committees like the one at your school have been able to accomplish or influence with this support at other schools include:
* Inspiring walking events
* “Drive to Five” campaigns disbursing traffic from the school site
* Walking maps
* Trailblazer training and other road safety education
* Traffic calming measures like pedestrian islands and crossovers
* Improved railway crossings

The Family Survey

What is the survey about?

This survey will be conducted if your principal elects to do so in order to examine how and why families choose the modes of school travel they do. This will help design a school travel plan that considers everyone’s needs.

When and how will the survey happen?

The survey will be open for two weeks beginning today. This survey is voluntary and you may skip any question you do not wish to answer. If you wish to use a school computer to complete the survey, please contact your principal.

Resulting data will be saved in password-protected computers and folders only accessible to School Travel Planning Facilitators, Supervisors and the General Manager at Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region. Schools and classrooms will be assigned identification numbers, and all electronic data will be stored under these numbers only, protecting privacy and maintaining confidentiality.

As this is a program evaluation for an ongoing initiative it is important to retain all data indefinitely. This will ensure ongoing monitoring and tracking of program initiatives and permit comparisons between aggregated Waterloo region schools and schools across Ontario. Data will be stored anonymously by school identification numbers and using the security measures described above.

In any publications arising from the data (e.g., school newsletters, school website, media releases), results will be presented in aggregate form by travel mode, grade, school characteristics, etc.

How will the school and community benefit from the survey?

The results of the survey will be used to monitor the shift in travel mode and to plan for useful programs. For instance, if we see that many students are cycling, we may prioritize cycling education to increase safety. The surveys will also help us to know how the actions we’ve taken actually make a difference in the ways families choose to travel to and from school. And if we see a shift towards active transportation, we will know what kind of impact your School Travel Planning Committee actions have had on your community.

The survey can be accessed using the following link: Family School Travel Planning Survey

Thank you for helping us make the school commute safer and easier for our students.

Kindly,

Leslie Maxwell, MAPW
School Travel Planning Supervisor
Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region