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Did You Know?

While the Chicago region’s population grew by 18 percent since 1980, the traffic increased by 66 percent in the same period.

Kids get moving on their way to school

This blog post is one in a series of stories featuring some of the great things happening in suburban Chicago communities. The stories will focus on Chicagoland communities that are on the forefront of the movement to encourage healthy, active transportation like walking, biking and public transit.

These are communities Active Trans had the privilege to work with as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative, a federally-funded program aimed at creating healthier and more active lifestyles throughout the nation.


Many private schools in Illinois serve students who live up to 60 miles away. These students often spend considerable amounts of time commuting to school in vehicles each day, and walking or biking to school is never an option. As a result, these children are less likely to get the daily physical activity they need, putting them at greater risk for developing health problems such as obesity.

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The Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant has helped schools reduce such risks by overcoming barriers to active transportation faced by students. One example is the wellness policy adopted by the Council of Islamic Organizations. The policy calls for the creation of customized school travel plans designed to give students at member schools more active daily routines.

These plans include recommendations for student-friendly “park and walk” locations. These spots allow parents to drop off students up to half mile away from school, letting children walk the rest of the way. The students get more physical activity and a safer walking and biking environments directly in front of the school.

To showcase this new opportunity, Aqsa and Universal schools in Bridgeview held a Walk to School Day event. Over 600 students participated. Parents were asked to use the new park and walk location, and high school juniors were trained to assist younger students in crossing the street. Many parents continue to use the park and walk location, and older students are still looking out for their younger peers.