Vision: To see Albertan students choose Active Transportation for the school journey
Mission: Our mission is to have every Albertan choose safe, healthy, active modes of transportation on a regular basis.
SHAPE (Safe Healthy Active People Everywhere) is an Alberta wide non-profit organization that promotes the Active & Safe Routes to Schools programs throughout Alberta. We encourage students to walk or bike to school on a regular basis! SHAPE promotes active transportation of students which in turn promotes student health, benefits the environment and reduces traffic congestion in and around schools.
We encourage participation in events such as International Walk to School Week, Winter Walk Day and/or Bike to School Day as a vehicle to educate and motivate students to walk to school on a regular basis. We promote safety through the education of safety rules of walking/biking to school as well as programs such as Walking Buddies or Walking School Buses which provide support and/or supervision to students while walking to school.
SHAPE provides encouragement and support to school communities to encourage their students to walk or bike to school. We work directly with school councils and/or school administration to develop ideas and plans for their school. Schools can choose event days, walking programs or a weekly/month Walking Day to promote their plans.
We are an active member of the Active Alberta Coalition, a group of organizations that collaborate through programs, services, research, and advocacy to help Albertans be physically active.
If you would like to receive information about upcoming events, please contact Lesley McEwan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for SHAPE provided by:
SHAPE began with a group of individuals concerned about transportation issues around school sites. Ten Edmonton schools embarked on a pilot project during the 2000-01 school year. The principals involved in the project named this program SHAPE (Safe Healthy Active People Everywhere) as it reflects the key elements of health, safety, and the environment. The foundation of SHAPE is that the school staff, parents, students and community work together to identify concerns and develop solutions while utilizing available resources that link child traffic safety to the Alberta Curriculum.
SHAPE expanded and became a provincial non-profit society in 2001 in order to serve all Albertans. SHAPE conducted its first Guinness World Record Challenge in 2005 and took the world record for the most people walking simultaneously. 79,815 participants walked a kilometer at the same time throughout the province at 321 different locations.
The Canadian Active & Safe Routes to School Partnership
The Canadian Active & Safe Routes to School Partnership is a national group working to increase the number of school-aged children who travel to school using active, sustainable and safe modes of transportation.
Active & Safe Routes to School advocates for and provides support for the independent movement for children and youth. Imagine in your community:
- groups of children walking to school
- traffic and safety problems solved by community members and decision-makers
- more places for walking & wheeling
- cycling skills training programs
- and more …
The goals of the Canadian Active & Safe Routes to School Partnership are to:
- provide a strong identity and voice at the national level;
- create durable and sustaining relationships across the country; and
- provide support for national, provincial, and territorial initiatives and policies through coordinated resources.
In the 1990′s, strong ASRTS Provincial lead organizations developed in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia (with interested groups in the other provinces and territories). In 2008 provincial stakeholders held a face-to-face meeting where the possibility of a national partnership was discussed. Out of this has emerged the beginning of a strong national group working collaboratively on their shared vision for the safe, healthy and independent mobility of children and youth.
Why be Involved?
- 58% of Canadian youths between 12-19 years of age are physically inactive
- As many as 84% of our children may not be active enough to meet international guidelines for optimal growth and development
- 50% of Albertans are insufficiently active
- These minimal levels could be obtained with as little as 30 minutes of activity a day
- Merely crossing the street takes 26 cognitive judgement skills
- 20% of all rush hour traffic is related to school pick-up and drop-off
- By 1998, 1 in 3 children aged 2 to 11 were overweight, half of these considered obese. Increasing physical activity can prevent weight-related problems
- Traffic collisions are the leading cause of serious injury and death among young children in Canada. (Stats Canada)
It Affects Your Health
- An increase of youth participation in physical activity will provide significant reductions in health care costs by decreasing their future risk related to a variety of diseases.
- Children are 40% less active than they were 30 years ago.
- It is important to educate, encourage and motivate children to participate in regular, physical activity because the habits they establish in childhood carry over to adulthood.
- A kindergarten child can walk 1 km in about 15-20 minutes.
- According to the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute (1995), two-thirds of Canadian children and youth are not currently active enough to lay a solid foundation for future health and well being
- As well, high grades and performance on cognitive measures are consistently associated with high physical performance. An overwhelming number of parents strongly agree that physical activity helps their children’s growth and development, builds self-esteem, helps build concentration and improves learning.
- Moderate to vigorous physical activity positively affects academic performance and skill development. Individuals have been shown to have improved concentration, enhanced memory and learning, enhanced creativity, better problem solving ability and improved mood for up to two hours following exercise.
- Long-term exposure to ground-level ozone (or smog) can irritate the eyes and be harmful to the lungs. Shortness of breath, pain when taking deep breaths, wheezing, fatigue, headaches and nausea can all result from exposure to smog. Ozone harms the air sacs in the lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged.
- Vehicle emissions contribute to air pollution that erodes human health due to the effects of the particles and gases that are a byproduct of burning fossil fuels. This pollution particularly affects children’s respiratory systems, as the breathe more rapidly than adult’s do and pollutants have an impact on the development of their lung function.
It Affects Your Community
- A typical urban or suburban parking space costs $5,000 to $10,000 to build. Increased school parking means less money for educational services and less land for green space and play areas.
- As well as travelling to most destinations by car, children’s play habits have become more passive with the introduction of new technologies. Children are spending a great deal of time watching television, using computers and playing video games.
- Parents who walk with their children have the opportunity to teach their children how to walk safely. They have a chance to check their child’s judgement and reinforce safe decisions.
- Walking and biking to school give children an opportunity to explore their community and to become aware of their neighbours and their neighbourhood.
- Parents as well as children enjoy the benefits of travel alternatives. Walking and bicycling are increasingly popular forms of recreation and transportation, and many communities are promoting them for fun, fitness and to reduce traffic problems.
- Many travel alternatives, such as biking, walking, ride sharing and taking transit, reduce the time required for parents to chauffeur their children to school.
- Children who travel by car for every journey never have the opportunity to learn to walk safely or to review safe pedestrian practice with a responsible adult.
It Affects Your Environment
- Transportation creates approximately 30% of Canada’s carbon dioxide emissions (carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas responsible for global climate change).
- Eliminating only four trips per week of 1 km each saves 100 kg of carbon dioxide each year.
- With a population of just over 30 million, we use as much energy as the entire continent of Africa, home to 700 million people, and contribute 2 per cent of overall global emissions. Automobile ownership in Canada has increased from 310 vehicles per 1,000 people in 1970 to 484 per 1,000 in 1994.
- Short motor vehicle trips contribute significant amounts of air pollution because they typically occur while an engine’s pollution control system is cold and ineffective. Shifting 1% of automobile trips to walking or bicycling trips decreases emissions by 2% to 4%.
- Increasing levels of air pollution and greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have a negative effect on the quality and quantity of available drinking water, contribute to a reduction in agricultural production and are leading to the destruction of ecosystems on land and in the ocean.