Students may be transported for reasons of safety rather than distance where deemed necessary.
STSWR uses the following criteria to make a decision on the safe walkability of a route to school. Each item in and by itself does not warrant such a designation, but a combination of several factors may result in the STSWR determining that a walking route requires an exception.
- Volume of Traffic – STSWR takes the volume of traffic into consideration for students that have to cross streets or roads. STSWR uses Provincial warrants developed by the Ontario Traffic Conference with the Ministry of Transportation and adopted by most municipalities.
- It counts the number of vehicles in a 5 minute period and determines the number of gaps within the 5 minute period that would allow students time to cross.
- With this information STSWR can determine if an adult crossing guard, student patrol or no intervention is required.
- Intersections will be visited by a Transportation Technician of STSWR to gain a greater understanding of issues surrounding a particular intersection if deemed necessary.
- Number of Traveled Lanes of a Road – STSWR considers the number of traveled lanes a student would have to cross. In most cases, more lanes on a road is an indicator of higher volumes of traffic. In determining the need for a crossing guard, the metered width of a road is converted to the time it takes for a student to cross.
- Posted Speed Limits – STSWR takes into consideration the posted speed limits of a street or road. A safety consideration is given to roads that have speed limits above 70 kph and major highways.
- Sidewalks – lack of sidewalks are not a consideration for bus transportation in and by itself. Many of the communities STSWR serves either by choice or design do not have sidewalks. The combination of lack of sidewalks and other factors such as higher posted speeds and volume of traffic may provide safety consideration for the walking route.
- Signalized Intersection or Crossings – STSWR takes into consideration whether there is a signalized intersection to allow for a safe crossing of a student in the absence of a crossing guard or student Patroller.
- Physical Barriers – STSWR takes into consideration physical barriers such as construction, bridges without sidewalks or railings, unguarded railroad crossings or unprotected waterways. These may provide safety considerations for the walking route.
- Grade Level of Students – STSWR takes into consideration the grade level of a student that has to walk to school. In some situations STSWR will, in combination with other criteria, designate a route in need of an exception for specific school grade students.
- Historical Designations – STSWR takes into consideration route exception designations that have been in place for a number of years. STSWR reviews each situation independently using the above criteria to determine if the walking routes should maintain that status.
- STSWR will use the above criteria to determine if a walking route is safe for students as part of their regular review process.
- Transportation exceptions are reviewed annually with the exception of circumstances that are determined to be time sensitive. STSWR has is responsible to determine if a walking route is safe or not for students.