Articles / School zones

Can ‘Drive to 5’ improve school zone safety?

By Aviva Canada on


Cars, school buses, public transportation and pedestrians are often clustered together in an effort to get students to school on time in the morning and home safely in the afternoon. This can create dangerous congestion.

One smart way to reduce traffic around schools is an active transportation initiative that’s gaining speed with school boards across the country.

The Drive-to-5 program designates walkable locations within a safe, 5-minute walk from school. Parents can either park and walk their children to school or drop them off to walk on their own or with friends.

Additional drop-off locations a short walk from school disperse congestion around school zones and give kids a chance to get some fresh air before class.

School zone safety isn’t the only benefit of          Drive-to-5

In addition to reducing traffic congestion around schools during busy times, this active transportation program provides:

  • A short burst of activity to all students before class—great for physical and mental health
  • An opportunity for parents to walk with younger students at the start or end of the school day
  • A chance for students to gain independence, spend time with friends and learn about the neighbourhood around the school
  • Improved air quality around school buildings with fewer cars idling

How to implement a Drive-to-5 program

School boards like the North Vancouver School District recommend that parent advisory councils (or similar groups) spearhead the challenge in their communities.

Implementing a program can be as simple as sending out an email to parents advising them of alternative drop-off locations in the neighbourhood to providing adult greeters who can meet students at the designated Drive-to-5 spots to adding parent walkers to form walking school buses at certain times.

Creative road safety solutions like the Drive-to-5 program can help to reduce school zone congestion and make our roadways safe for all Canadians


The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice.