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Case 7 : Going Beyond Bike Racks and Pedestrian Crossovers: Achieving Health Equity in School Travel Planning
Western Public Health Casebooks
  • Megan Graat, Western University
  • Andrew Clark, Human Environments Analysis Laboratory
  • Jason Gilliland, Human Environments Analysis Laboratory
  • Lloy Wylie, Western University
Case Synopsis

The Elgin-St. Thomas, London-Middlesex, and Oxford Active and Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) Steering Committee have established a School Travel Planning Equity Working Group. The goal of this group is to use the Government of Ontario’s Health Equity Impact Assessment tool to evaluate current inequities in school travel planning programming – a community-based approach to addressing barriers to and facilitators of walking and wheeling to and from school – by identifying relevant populations, potential impacts, and mitigation, monitoring, and dissemination strategies (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2018). The goal of the case is to provide readers with the opportunity to evaluate the inequities in current school travel planning by conducting a Health Equity Impact Assessment.

Case Objectives
  1. Perform a community needs assessment that considers the unique social, environmental, economic, historical, and cultural characteristics of a community.
  2. Recognize how the determinants of health (biological, social, cultural, economic, and physical) influence the health and well-being of specific population groups.
  3. Formulate a response for marginalized populations that include community level and context-relevant strategies to improve population health.
  4. Discuss the challenges associated with planning, implementing, and evaluating programs across different contexts and propose strategies to overcome them.
  5. Describe how Health Equity Impact Assessments can be used to improve health equity among populations living in lower socioeconomic status neighbourhoods.
Case Study Questions
  1. Why is health equity an important consideration in program planning, implementation, and evaluation?
  2. Brainstorm a list of contextual factors (social, political, economic, and environmental) that could influence a school community’s ability to participate in school travel planning. What implications could these factors have on how the ASRTS working group designs its program? Be prepared to share this list with the class.
  3. What are the contextual factors that make implementation in a lower SES school community difficult? How does this guide us to think about community readiness and project adaptability?
  • Active travel,
  • health equity,
  • healthy communities,
  • healthy environments,
  • implementation science,
  • social determinants of health,
  • socioeconomic status,
  • school travel planning
Citation Information
Graat, M., Clark, A., Gilliland, J., & Wylie, L. (2020). Going Beyond Bike Racks and Pedestrian Crossovers: Achieving Health Equity in School Travel Planning in: McKinley, G. & Speechley, M. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2020. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.