HASTe Blog

The Impact of Safe Routes to School

Submitted by: Omar

At HASTe, we've always known that Active and Safe Routes to School programs like School Travel Planning work to increase rates of walking and cycling to school. And now, we have proof!

A recently-released US study looked at 801 schools in four states to "assess how the proportion of students walking and cycling to school changed after the introduction of SRTS programs". Find out what they discovered after the break.

The study, Impact of Safe Routes to School Program on Walking and Bicycle was published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Planning Association earlier this year. It is the first large-scale study of Active and Safe Routes to School programming conducted in North America

The authors collected data at schools with and without programs, in an effort to isolate the impact of Active and Safe Routes to School programs from unrelated factors and trends. They found that engineering improvements were vital to increasing rates of walking and cycling - and that education and encouragement programs effectively complement infrastructure changes, leading to a 25% relative increase in walking and cycling to school.

One of the great things about the study is that it includes a concrete takeaway for transportation professionals and practitioners: Planners should work to prioritize capital improvements that improve non-motorized access to school and revise comprehensive plans and subdivision regulations to ensure new development supports access to school. Amen!

To read the full version of the study, download a copy here.

Blaming The Victim?

Submitted by: Omar

As the days get darker and shorter, the Insurance Company of British Columbia is launching a new road-safety campaign aimed at reducing the number of pedestrians injured by motor-vehicles.

While the campaign's goal is admirable, we feel that the campaign's target and the message it is sending - summed up in the tagline "Be a safe pedestrian" - needs reconsideration. Find out more after the break.

As ICBC notes, "76 per cent more pedestrians are injured in crashes from November to January every year" compared to brighter, summer months. Perhaps it goes without saying, but what that statistic fails to mention is that those injury-inducing crashes all involve motor vehicles.

Bump into another pedestrian and the worst you're in for a polite Canadian "sorry!" and perhaps a spilled coffee. Fail to notice - or be noticed by - a driver, and you're at serious risk of becoming a part of the grim statistics ICBC quotes on their campaign page.

But with a campaign strategy that revolves around ads on transit and events targeting pedestrians, ICBC seem to be putting the burden of responsibility for road safety on those at greatest risk: pedestrians. Even though 75% of crashes involving motor vehicles and pedestrians occur where pedestrians have the right of way, ICBC's message - "Look, listen and be seen" - is directed at those less likely to cause a crash.

When it comes to road safety, no-one has the experience and expertise of ICBC, or their reach and credibility. HASTe would love to see those qualities put to use reminding drivers, who are responsible for most of the crashes but all of the damage, that while road safety is everyone's responsibility, most of that responsibility is theirs.

Help Shape BC's Next Provincial Transportation Plan

Submitted by: Omar

BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone wants YOUR input on BC's next 10 year transportation plan.

photo by Chris Burkard

The online feedback forum is open from today until December 12th, and will provide British Columbians with an opportunity to shape the province's transportation agenda for the next decade. Visit the government's public engagement website to learn more about BC's transportation picture and network, and to take the survey and have your say.

New HASTe BC Newsletter: Fall 2014

Submitted by: Omar

HASTe's Fall 2014 Newsletter was sent out on Monday, welcoming BC's students and teachers back for another school year, introducing new resources for schools looking to promote active and safe transportation, and providing key updates about our work and programs.

Read the full newsletter, and/or sign up to make sure you don't miss out on future newsletters - we generally send out a new one every couple of months, and they're always chalk full of school active-travel goodness!

ProWalk ProBike ProPlace in Pittsburgh PA

Submitted by: Omar

Did you ever think you'd get jealous from looking at pictures from someone's trip to... Pittsburgh? Kerry Hamilton, HASTe's Community Programs manager, might manage just that - but she can't take all of the credit.

Above are a few snaps from Kerry's time exploring Steeltown during this year's ProWalk ProBike ProPlace conference - not too shabby! Find out how Pittsburgh reinvented itself as a bike-, pedestrian- and people-friendly city after the break.

words: Kerry Hamilton

images: shamelessly stolen from the internet for fair use

So how does a Steel City become a Bike City? Many ProWalk ProBike attendees from across North America asked the same question - that was until they arrived in Pittsburg and saw the transformation with their own eyes and wheels. With over 1,000 attendees for this years 18th ProWalk ProBike Pro Place conference, it’s clear the growing movement of walking and cycling is transforming cities for the better, with advocates, politicians, and city staff celebrating the explosion of pop-up cycle tracks, walk to school events and public space markets across North America.

HASTe had the privilege of attending this years conference coupling history with inspiration. Here’s a bit of what we learnt, and where North America is headed.

Steel Town:

By the 1860s Pittsburg was a leading American industrial city, known as the gateway to the West. It’s factories created most of the steel and iron that built up the West Coast and the American Civil War. Remnants of this era can still be seen in the historic character of their city buildings and by the sheer amount of steel bridges connecting the downtown at almost every street (Picture 5 more Bridges on each side of Downtown Vancouver!).

Smoky Town:

Rich in industrial productivity, Pittsburg was also known as the Smoky City with smog sometimes so thick that streetlights burned during the day. In 1945 urban revitalization projects for smoke control were pioneered making environment and health a priority way before air pollution and climate change were hot topics.

Bike Town:

Following increasing foreign trade competition and the 1981 recession. Pittsburg’s steel factories collapsed leaving many unemployed and suburbia-bound. Efforts are now in place to revitalize Pittsburg’s Downtown once again; but this time, the steel is on two wheels and reduces smog rather than creating it.

Pittsburg’s revitalization plans focus on attracting people back to the downtown, creating a City where people want to eat, work and live. Their Mayor Bill Peduto recognizes that creating places where people can walk, bike and be is a crucial way to achieve this transformation and is striving for Pittsburg to become one of the top 10 bicycling cities in North America (currently #21).

Today in Pittsburg, you can buy local produce downtown and have lunch on plaza patios at Market Square, bike to a NFL Steelers Game along their multi-use water front pathway system, or even ride over one of the many steel bridges in your own separated bike lane. There’s still lots of work to be done, but Pittsburg has shown us that even a steel focused, smog burdened city can make a walking & cycling transformation possible.

Walk & Bike to School Inspiration:

Here are just some interesting walking and cycling to school resources and links HASTe picked up from this year’s conference:

Big News

Finally, Pittsburgh was the site of some BIG NEWS for cycling, walking and public space advocates and aficionados in Vancouver and British Columbia... but you'll have to check back soon if you want the full scoop.

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