November 26, 2018


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 Waterloo Region District 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 two types of 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 WDCSB and WRDSB 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 Surveys

  1. The BikeWalkRoll Survey

What is the survey about?

In order to better plan for the ways students travel for the school journey, we need to track how students are travelling to school. We use the BikeWalkRoll survey at in class to ask students to raise their hands if they arrived by walking, cycling, rolling (includes skateboards, scooters and wheelchairs), or by car or bus; and similarly how they plan to get home.

The BikeWalkRoll application records this information online and assigns a “score” to show how the modes measure up. This information is made publicly available on the website, where you will be able to check your school and classroom scores and even compare them to other schools across the world.

When and how will the survey happen?

We will complete the survey in all classrooms once per day for a one-week period in December, in February, and again in April in order to see how transportation patterns change over the course of the year. We only record the tally of students who use each mode of transportation.

Participation is optional. If you choose to withdraw your child from participating in the BikeWalkRoll hands’ up survey, please contact your child’s teacher or principal by Thursday November 29.


  1. The Family Survey

What is the survey about?

This survey will be conducted 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 uses an online platform called Survey Monkey and will need to be completed on an electronic device. Survey Monkey information systems and technical infrastructure are hosted within world-class, SOC 2 accredited data centers in the United States of America.

The school will share a link to the survey via Newswire. Surveys will typically be held open for two weeks, with several reminders shared over that time. This survey is voluntary and you may skip any question you do not wish to answer. If you wish to use school equipment to complete the survey, please contact your principal.

How is data stored and who has access?

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. The file linking identification numbers to schools and classrooms will be stored in a separate password-protected folder.

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 these surveys?

The results of these surveys 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.

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


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