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Benefits of Active School Travel
Detail: School travel planner, Arthur Orsini, currently based in Vancouver, in an interview with shared some of his thoughts on the benefits of walking and cycling to school and the street design interventions required to encourage walking.

Besides the obvious health benefits, Orsini pointed out the not-so-obvious benefits of walking to school as well. These include reduced traffic congestion as more people start walking. Moreover according to Orsini’s experience of working as a school travel planner in Auckland and elsewhere, if children walk to school in the morning, then very often they arrive a little bit early, and use that extra time for play. Orsini said, “So, not only are they walking to school but they're running around, playing tag for example, and socializing with their friends. Then they walk into the classroom with their blood pumping, fully awake. For the teachers that makes a big difference in alertness, attentiveness, and also in terms of cooperation and group work.”

How can we design streets and sidewalks better? According to Orsini, “We should try to make street corners that are close to a 90-degree angle, so that cars have to slow down to make that corner and look before they turn. Bigger corners, and even the "bus bulges" we're seeing on many streets in Vancouver, shortens the crossing distance for pedestrians and improves safety. It would be good if all schools had these extended corners as one of their assets.
Date: January 20 2010