The pilot phase of the Ottawa Walking School Bus (WSB) Project launched on September 29th at eight schools and ended on December 19th. While they are well-known as an effective ways to support and increase active school travel, traditional parent volunteer-organized WSBs have often proven difficult to sustain. This project tested a model using WSB leaders who, like an adult crossing guard, are screened, trained, remunerated and supervised by the Ottawa Safety Council.
Evaluation of the pilot by Ottawa Public Health is now underway. A case study and webinar about the experience will be presented by Green Communities Canada later this winter. However, preliminary results have been encouraging enough that the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) has agreed to fund six of the eight initial WSB routes until the end of the current school year.