We’re excited to share a brand new project we have been working on together with the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA): a fun app to encourage elementary students to walk to school!
Meet Hop! The App That Makes Walking to School Fun
Hop! is a bilingual progressive web-app that helps make the walk to school more fun through interactive features. App users can track kilometres travelled, while being motivated by engaging illustrations, group challenges, and milestones.
Hop! allows children to see the positive impact walking has on the environment by telling them how many greenhouse gas emissions they avert by walking instead of driving. The app’s motivational features help children to choose walking first, which reduces cars on the road and improves school zone safety.
Students can log trips to and from school, as well as walks in their community, to ensure that any student can participate. Hop! is accessible on a regular internet browser, on a phone, tablet, or computer.
The Benefits of Active Transportation
Today more than ever it is important to support active transportation within Ottawa’s school communities. Walking to school is good for the health and academic performance of students, and studies show that when children engage in sustainable behaviours when they are young, they are more likely to continue this behaviour as adults. Walking to school also increases road safety in the school zone and contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the number of cars travelling to and from the school zone daily.
Why Hop! Matters
Nowadays, fewer and fewer students are walking to school. In 1969, 88.6% of students who lived within 1-mile of school in the United States walked or biked to school, which decreased to 35.2% in 2009, and continues to decline. The declining trend in walking and biking to school is similar in Canada. (The National Center for Safe Routes to School, 2011). The 2020 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth gave a score of D- for active transportation for travel to and from school. Only 21% of 5- to 19-year-olds in Canada typically use active modes of transportation.
Promoting active transportation at schools makes a big difference in getting Ottawa children walking! The 2020 OSTA Transportation Survey Report showed 32% of children at Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic School Board walked to school if their school participated in the School Active Transportation Program compared to the overall community rate of 22%. This app is another tool for encouraging students to walk to school.
Hop! was made possible through financial support from Green Communities Canada and the Government of Ontario. It is a collaboration between OSTA and EnviroCentre, with support from the City of Ottawa, as we believe that active transportation is key to Ottawa’s future as a sustainable and livable city.
Hop! is free and is available for download by anyone through the OSTA website, and schools are particularly encouraged to use it in their active transportation initiatives.
Download Hop! to start celebrating children’s steps to school at 123hop.ca