Active Travel to School and Work

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Active Travel to School and Work

CanadaSurrey, Canada
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

iSchoolTravel is a set of tools that measures and communicates to-and-from school travel impacts to students, active travel campaign participants and sponsors.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Throughout North America the number of children who walk or bike to school is declining, to the detriment of children's health and air quality. 49% of Canadian kids get a lift to school, compared to 13% of their parents. NGO's, municipalities,school districts,schools, parents and teachers are beginning to address the issue with programs such as School Travel Planning, Active School Travel, Bike To School Week and International IWalk Week. While these initiatives report improvements anecdotally, or by way of a show of hands survey, currently there is no cost effective solution to obtaining quantitative results data. Program administrators can't accurately measure their program successes. Students have no means of individual feedback, visualizing and measuring their individual impacts.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

iSchoolTravel(IST) is an engagement and measurement tool that easily and cost effectively captures quantitative data. Free to use web-based and iPad Apps allow students to determine their school travel distance, enter their mode of travel, then view their fuel cost, calories burned, and emissions impacts in Now and Goal modes. A school administrator accessible configuration and reporting tool allows for the pre-configuration of the calculator for their school plus configuration travel attitude survey questions. A code is generated, distributed to students,and when entered into the calculator configures the calculator to teacher specifications and facilitates individual student results to be uploaded to a classroom database. Administrators can generate reports detailing full classroom or school-wide travel distances and modes,calories,fuel use and emissions. Used both pre and post active travel program implementation, changes in travel behaviour are accurately measured.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Example 1. XYZ Elementary School in Kelowna is participating in International Walk to School Week. The school invests it's resources in promoting the program, parents get involved, and hopefully more students walk to school. What is the measurement of success and how does the school justify the investment? Currently through anecdotal evidence only. With IST, the schools administrator registers, configures the calculator with the school location, crafts a program introduction message and establishes specific survey questions. Codes or a unique URL is for each classroom are provided to the students and parents. Prior to iWalk Week students and their parents use the calculator to record their current travel behaviour and set a goal for iWalk Week. Each student's result is uploaded. After iWalk Week is completed the exercise(which takes about 2 minutes)is repeated and results uploaded. The administrator now has Current, Goal and Result data to evaluate the success of the investment in the program. Example 2. The City of Surrey is investing $30,000 in running a pilot School Travel Planning program in 3 schools in Surrey. The program brings together municipal engineering, school, public safety personnel, teacher and parents to identify impediments (city or school infrastructure, attitudes) to active travel to school and create solutions. Currently, paper surveys and hands up survey's are used to quantify pre and post program travel behaviours. Using the IST tools as in the above example, real qualitative data is now available to justify the program expenditure.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our market is students, parents, teachers, school administrative personnel, municipalities and NGO's. Currently, to our knowledge, there is no similar program in the marketplace. The School Travel Planning framework that is becoming the standard across Canada uses hands up surveys for data collection. Clean Air Champions, a Ottawa based NGO does have a trip tracker to measure active student travel but requires significant in-classroom programming to support the use of the tool. Likewise in the USA there does not appear to be a similar tool set.

Founding Story

Our Aha moment came 10 years ago which lead to a radical career change and the formation of Passion for Action. My business partner and I had "helped" my Grade 6 son on a homework project, adding toggle switches and meters to a sheet of plywood covered with images of household appliances. The meter displayed a value representing the different energy use and associated ghg emissions of each appliance. We were showing it off to my son's teacher who said that this type of interactive tool was what was sorely needed to engage students, and no one else was doing this kind of thing. We then brought it into the classroom where the kids loved it. Visits to other schools and display at community events had the same result, leading us to the radical step of abandoning high-tech management careers and create interactive tools for environmental sustainability and active living education and engagement under a social enterprise structure.
About You
Passion for Action
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Passion for Action

Organization Country

, BC, Surrey

Country where this solution is creating social impact

, BC

Region in BC where your solution creates social impact

Vancouver, Coast and Mountains, Vancouver Island, Thompson Okanagan, Northern British Columbia, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Kootenay Rockies, Columbia Basin.

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for more than 5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Cost.

Social Impact
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve

We are trying to step back in time when more children walked or biked to school then where driven. The number of children arriving at school via private vehicle has risen dramatically compared to the past generation, to the deterrent of children's health and the environment.

While we cannot change this trend on our own, we hope to supply a set of tools that equips students with the real impacts of their travel modes, and to provide school administrators the tool to measure the impacts of their investment in Active School Travel programs.

We hope teachers around the world will encourage students to use the calculator, and that the school wide measurement tools will be adopted by all those who manage programs.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

An earlier web version of the calculator was developed in 2008. It has been used thousands of times through the Hub for Active School Travel(HASTe) website. However, as BC use only tool it was limited in it's reach.

The iSchoolTravel iteration has only been available in a pilot mode as of mid August and commercially available on September 10th.

The calculator and reporting tools are scheduled to be used by the City of Vancouver to evaluate the current state of active school transportation in 20 schools in the fall of 2012, and for 4 schools in Surrey as part of School Travel Planning Programs.

The use of the IST tools is being promoted Canada wide for use by schools for October's International Walk to School Week. IST is also being introduced at a international Pro Bike, Pro Walk conference in Long Beach California on September 12th.

The iPad App has been downloaded approximately 60 times of which about half are from outside of Canada.

What is your projected impact over the next five years?

We wish to make this tool the North American standard for providing quantitative results for Active School Travel programs. In doing so we will have facilitated the collection of real measurable data that will assist in the development, improvement and funding of Active School Travel programs. The end results will be an increase in the health of our children and improvement in local air quality through more children walking and biking to school.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

1. Schools are always short on discretionary funds for non-core programming. We have set our pricing as low as $10 per classroom such that a teacher can cover the cost through the small amount of discretionary classroom funds they have available. Likewise at a school level we will keep the annual cost below $100, which hopefully will be considered value for the results of use of IST. We will also work with other prospective funding organizations.

2. NGO's who deliver Active School Programs can take awhile to convince to integrate a new tool set into their programs. There can be a "not invented here" attitude. We hope to prove, through actual use case studies that the IST tools are a cost effective way of collecting data.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Successful use of IST < 25 Metro Vancouver schools, <100 website visit/day, <50 Ipad App downloads/day, <10 other organizations

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Successfully oversee the use of IST in the Vancouver and Surrey Schools as part of the School Travel Planning Program

Task 2

Continuous awareness building of IST through social media, partner networks, website blog, direct contact

Task 3

Initiate partnerships with key influencing Active School Travel organzations

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Use of IST in < 100 schools, <15 NGO partnerships, <$15,000 revenue,

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Receive commitments of current school subscribers for continued and expanded use for 2013-2014

Task 2

Continuous awareness building of IST through social media, partner networks, website blog, direct contact

Task 3

Develop business partnerships with key influencing Active School Travel organizations, government agencies

Tell us about your partnerships

iSchoolTravel (IST) is a partnership between the Hub for Active School Travel (HASTe), a BC Government partially funded society that is management by Passion for Action and Passion for Action. HASTe has a mandate for the promotion of Active School travel throughout BC and will be using the IST tool in their School Travel Planning consulting efforts with various BC municipalities. HASTe is also the BC partner for the Canadian wide Active and Safe Travel Routes to School initiative.

Passion for Action and HASTe are splitting revenues from IST to further development and HASTE core activities.

Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?

Currently IST is targeting students, schools, active travel related NGO's and municipalities across North America. The primary market is BC, followed by the rest of Canada, then USA.

The IST tool is designed to be usable by students and teachers around the world. The iPad app is available globally and the configuration and reporting tools can be subscribed to by anyone. Ideally, variants that use location specific vocabularies and other languages will be developed if there is interest outside of North America.

An Employee Commute version is under consideration for the corporate market.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

Passion for Action (P4A) has the experience to succeed as it has been developing similar tools for the past 10 years and has a large network of NGO and Government clients. P4A is a social enterprise with a very low cost overhead. P4A operates virtually with no office overhead. Apart from the two principals, development staff is on a as required contract basis.

P4A's partner in the IST program, HASTe is similarly structured as a low cost non-profit society organization.

Personnel from both organizations passionately believe in the goals encouraging active travel and environmental sustainability.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

The initial development of IST was funded through a portion of HASTe's grant from the BC Ministry of Environment and P4A's internal cash resources. We hope to achieve enough revenue to cover the cost of marketing and support, plus funds for ongoing HASTE activities.

Additional funds are required to expand the reach of IST (iPhone and Android App, French language, and the Commuting version)