Over the past 30 years in Canada there has been a significant decline in the number of students who bike or walk to school. Research has found that between 1986 and 2006, there was an average decline of 9.5% in walking to school among 11-15 year olds.

Stepping Toward a Greener Tomorrow proposes to work with four schools in the greater Edmonton area as sites for school active transport planning, with long-term strategies to scale to additional schools. The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve safety in schools zones, increase physical activity, and foster climate literacy through curriculum delivery. This work is ideally situated in school communities, which enable access for environmental education and stewardship and act as “hubs” in the larger community.

Shifting toward active travel modes can provide relatively large energy savings, particularly for short range trips where engines are cold and less efficient; each 1% shift from automobile to active travel typically reduces fuel consumption 2-4%. Further, experts suggest that getting children more engaged in active transport could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A recent simulation study conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta showed that 34 Mt of CO2 emission would be reduced by shifting 10% of light truck trips to cycling by 2050 (Ahiduzzaman, Kimar, & Spence, 2016).