Walking school bus

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Last Update: August 22, 2014

The Trottibus Walking School Bus is a pedestrian bus service that gives elementary school children the chance to walk to school every weekday morning safely under adult supervision and have fun at the same time.

Founded: 2009 Type: citizen sector

The Problem

Only 7% of children aged from 5 to 11 get enough physical activity (PA) to enjoy appreciable benefits for their physical and mental health and reduce their risk of developing serious diseases such as cancer. Active transportation is a valuable source of PA, but only 24% of Canadian children use it to go to school. The safety of children is a major concern that needs to be addressed.

The Solution

The CCS’s solution to boost children’s level of physical activity (PA) is to develop pedestrian bus services to encourage the use of active transportation during childhood, which is a stage in life that is conducive to developing healthy habits. According to the literature available on the subject, children who use active transportation are more active during the whole day and can benefit from an additional 45 minutes of physical activity each day. To address the problem of safety, the Trottibus Walking School Bus helps children learn road safety skills and become autonomous where their mobility is concerned. This reassures parents who in turn encourage their children to use active transportation and increase their physical activity level.


A school in Montreal started the Trottibus Walking School Bus project in 2009. Since then, the 35 students who have been walking every morning have clocked more than 8,000 kilometres. The Trottibus Walking School has helped create a sense of belonging in children and bond with parents and volunteers from the community. In a school in a disadvantaged and multicultural neighbourhood, schoolchildren and their school social worker collaborated with an organization in a journalism project to promote their Trottibus Walking School Bus service and recruit volunteers. In Outaouais, parents mobilized to encourage the municipality to make active transportation safe.


The Trottibus Walking School Bus has been implemented progressively, going from three pilot schools in 2010 to about fifty in 30 municipalities in 2014. Since its inception, more than 1,500 elementary school children have walked, 20,000 have been made aware of the benefits of active transportation, and 500 volunteers have been involved. Surveys show that the Trottibus Walking School Bus is appreciated by more than 94% of children, parents, volunteers, and schools. According to more than 82% of parents, the Trottibus Walking School Bus has contributed to improving their perceptions or the family’s behaviour in relation to active transportation and they are now more inclined to use it. More than 60 new schools plan to start a Trottibus Walking School Bus service in 2014-2015 and all interested schools should be equipped with a Trottibus Walking School by 2018.

Full Impact Potential

To support all the interested schools, the CCS has put in place a mechanism for the transfer of knowledge to help train and equip them so that they can function independently in the development of their Trottibus Walking School Bus and adapt it to their specific needs. The CCS’s 14 regional offices across Quebec contribute to the Trottibus’ success by promoting and supporting it in their respective areas. Training materials and tools will be translated to facilitate the transfer of knowledge across Canada. Gradually, the Trottibus Walking School Bus will operate in the whole country.

Budget: $500,000 - $1 million

Financial Sources

Foundations, NGO, Regional government

Sustainability Plan

We believe that all interested schools will receive our support by 2018. For this, partners will be identified to fund human resources and materials, translate tools and materials, and facilitate knowledge transfer on the provincial level. After 2018, the Trottibus Walking School Bus should be in a maintenance phase during which the necessary resources and inherent costs will be minimized and underwritten by CCS.


By using active transportation to get children to move, the Trottibus School Bus stands out in the intensity of its actions: giving children a chance to walk every weekday morning during the whole school year, helping them learn road safety skills, involving volunteers from the community, reaching out across the province, and exploring the national potential. Vélo Québec’s complementary approach is to create safe active transportation maps of school zones. Other organizations approach physical activity through sports, hobbies, or school courses.

Founding Story

In 2009, the CCS’s Cancer Prevention and Health Promotion Department was given the task of developing a volunteer project that would mobilize people. A literature review suggested that a pedestrian bus would be an excellent way to get children to exercise more. For the CCS, it was also a way to fulfil its mission of reducing the prevalence of cancer. The Fonds pour la promotion des saines habitudes de vie (now known as Québec en Forme) and several other partners made it possible for the Trottibus Walking School Bus to be piloted in three Quebec schools. The observations made and the keen interest shown validated the relevance of implementing the Trottibus Walking School Bus across Quebec and measures were subsequently taken to this end.

Team Explanation

The Trottibus Walking School Bus team is today an authority on pedestrian bus services and is made up of a coordinator and four development officers. Members’ varied skills and knowledge complement each other, which makes the Trottibus Walking School Bus more effective and promises success. The project is supported by the CCS’s 14 regional offices as well as its executive management and board, which lends it great credibility.

Team Members



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