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Busing & Transportation School Walk Zones

School Walk Zones

With the significant increase in enrolment in the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), many schools are at capacity enrolment. The Board of Trustees has approved a lottery process as the most appropriate selection process when registrations exceed available space. Walk zone plays an important role in determining priority categories for lottery acceptance – students living inside walk zones have priority for registration over those who do not. CBE is often asked to allow students living ‘just outside’ the walk zone; however, we are unable to make exceptions for students living near, but outside, the walk zone boundary.

CBE Administrative Regulation AR 6095 – Student Transportation was approved in May 2008 at the conclusion of a public engagement. The regulation created transportation services areas which will effectively create a walk zone and a transportation zone for each school.

The Transportation Advisory Committee was also established by the Planning and Transportation Department in 2008, to help establish walk zones and resolve issues resulting from the former practice of walk limits.

The Transportation Advisory Committee is composed of:

  • ​Director, Planning and Transportation
  • Manager, Transportation
  • System (Assistant) Principal
  • Elementary school Principal
  • Middle school Principal
  • High school Principal
  • External Agency members, as required
  • CBE resource persons and or representative of Learning Support (Educational Support Services) as required
  • Representative of a charter bus carrier
  • Representative of the Calgary Association of Parents and School Councils
  • Parent representatives from each CBE administrative area​

Between 2008 and 2011 this committee reviewed all existing school walk zones and made adjustments to maintain consistency and equity within and between communities.

Since that time, the committee continues to meet as required to review new walk zones for schools under construction, or extraordinary circumstances (i.e. when a new walk zone was required for Elbow Park School due to flooding and the temporary relocation of the school to the Earl Grey School site).

Provincial funding for school transportation is based on an estimate of the number of students living 2.4 km or more from their designated school. CBE current walk zones are between 1.6 km and 2.4 km, depending on grade configuration in the school.

Walk zones are developed using specialized ArcGIS and Google Earth Pro mapping software. CBE staff create buffers around the new schools to determine which residential lots are within walking distance. These areas are exported to Google Earth Pro and fine-tuned by analysing the satellite imagery to consider naturally occurring boundaries for the school walk zone.

CBE continues to look for the best ways to accommodate students across our system in their program of choice. The intent is for students to attend school as close to home as possible within the existing constraints of system resources.

 Questions & Answers

​Q: How does the CBE determine the walk zones for each school?

A: The Manager of Transportation, on the advice of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) designs new walk zones by taking into consideration, where necessary, the following criteria:

  • Community boundaries
  • Natural hazards or barriers
  • Roadways or infrastructure
  • Grade levels in the school

Q: Our home is not in the walk zone. Will my child be able to attend the new school in our community?

A: If you reside within the attendance area for the school and your community is designated to that school, you are eligible to attend the new school.

Walk zones are used for transportation eligibility purposes and are also utilized if a lottery situation arises at a school. New school attendance area maps are available on the project website


Q: Our home is in the walk zone and we feel the distance is too far for our child to walk. Will my child still be eligible for yellow school bus transportation?


A: Students are eligible for transportation to their designated school if they live beyond the walk zone. If there is bus service to the school, in accordance with the conditions outlined in Section 7 of Administrative Regulation 6095, you can apply for your child to be a conditional rider. Conditional riders must access an existing bus stop and transportation fees will not be waived. These application forms are available on the CBE website. You will be informed of a decision by mid-to-late October at the latest. Until you receive notification that your child is accepted to take the bus as a conditional rider, you will be responsible for getting your child to and from school.
Information regarding transportation services and fees is available on the CBE website  and at the schools.

Calgary Transit

Q: I would like my child to take Calgary Transit instead of a yellow school bus. Will Calgary Transit place a bus route closer to our residence with frequent times to accommodate families?

A: Calgary Transit has their own process for creating routes. The CBE does not direct this work. The public is always welcome to use Calgary Transit as their method of transportation. More information regarding Calgary Transit may be accessed at


Q: We are concerned that our child will be crossing busy streets that have no traffic lights or controlled crosswalks. What can the CBE do to address these issues?

A: The CBE is aware of concerns regarding pedestrian safety. The City of Calgary has a dedicated process in place to request new pedestrian crossings, referred to as corridors. The City uses a pedestrian corridor signal warrant study to determine if traffic control devices are needed at a specific intersection. You can find information on making this type of request at​​.

Please refer all other traffic concerns to the City of Calgary at

Q: Many parents will be driving their children to school as the walk distance is
too far. What can be done about traffic around the school?

A: Each school has designated bus zones and parent pick/up drop off zones. Many schools establish school safety patrols in consultation with the Calgary Police Service, the Alberta Motor Association and the school council to assist with the safety of students.
City of Calgary By-laws and Traffic laws are in effect at all times. If you have concerns regarding traffic safety please contact the City of Calgary at



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