CAA study shows ways Canada can do more to support our children’s journey to school
Today, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) released Supporting our Kids on the Journey to School: A CAA School Travel Study. The report, the first-of-its-kind in Canada, lays out best practices in school zone travel policies with the goal of keeping kids safer on their journey to school. Every day, millions of Canadian families make a journey to and from school. Evidence suggests school zones remain unsafe for many - with nearly 30% of drivers reporting they have witnessed a near miss or collision in a school zone.
“We spent the school year reviewing policies, designs and programs across Canada,” said Ian Jack, Vice-President of Public Affairs for CAA National. “Our goal is to empower both policymakers and concerned community members with new facts and ideas that can lead to positive change.”
Keeping Our Children Safe
For decades, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), has been advocating for school safety.
With increased traffic - from children walking and cycling, and automobiles and buses picking up or dropping off students, the CAA School Safety Patrol program is more relevant than ever.
More than 50,000 children across Canada participate in the program, helping their classmates get to and from school safely by directing pedestrian traffic in school zones. In recent years, CAA has broadened its support to include the development of the School Zone Safety Assessment Tool, a web-based tool for community members to track behaviours in school zones.
A concerted effort is needed by all those entrusted with our children’s safety on the way to and from school – provinces, municipalities, school groups and others – to make sure the journey is as safe as possible. CAA will use the study results to engage in a constructive dialogue with decision makers to help improve school zone safety.
Findings for Saskatchewan, the remaining provinces and territories can be found here.
Improving our School Safety
The report identifies quick-win interventions that have been shown to improve road safety:
• Adopting a safe passing distance for cyclists to encourage more children to safely cycle to school and therefore reduce traffic congestion in school zones.
• Setting formal goals and targets for road safety and applying consistent monitoring to track progress.
• Leveraging available federal funding, such as the Canada Community Building Fund, Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, and recently launched Active Transportation Fund to improve infrastructure systems that support safe school travel.
Following the United States’ example, the Government of Canada could create a national safe school travel partnership with the provinces, staff positions dedicated to children’s safety and mobility, and further support infrastructure improvements arising from the school travel planning process.
More Walking and Cycling
One of the biggest changes in trips to school has been the increase in driving, often for good reasons such as after-school sports or cultural activities. But increased vehicular traffic can lead to more congestion and more danger in school zones. For that reason, this study includes measures to make walking and cycling to school safer as ways to increase school zone safety.
The study compares Canadian provinces and territories across 25 specific areas to support safer travel to school and provides real-world examples of safety in action within each jurisdiction. Canada’s provinces and territories have the responsibility for most aspects of school safety, from infrastructure rules and guidelines to speed limits. As such, the focus of the report is on provincial policies and actions. CAA retained Urban Systems, a transportation management consulting firm specializing in safe and active school travel, to conduct the study’s research and analysis.
CAA is a federation of eight Clubs providing over 6.5 million Members with exceptional emergency roadside assistance, automotive, insurance, and travel services, plus Member savings. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its Members and Canadians, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure, and consumer protection. CAA was named Canada’s most trusted brand in 2022 by the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.
For more information:
Senior Director, Public Affairs
Director, Corporate Communications