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School cycling campaigns

Aalborg

Traffic generated from children being driven to school by car poses more and more environmental and safety risks in Aalborg. The city is designing and implementing a campaign to encourage children to cycle to school.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Daily journeys to school and back have led to increasing traffic problems near schools. The growing traffic poses a safety risk. This in turn leads more parents to drive their children, which again worsens the situation. This vicious circle is not only a concern from a safety and environmental perspective but the municipality is also worried about the long-term impacts if children do not grow up with the habit and experience of walking and cycling.

Aalborg has therefore with this measure tested new ways of communication to get children to bike to school. The School Cycling campaign has combined traditional campaigning elements such as posters, leaflets, etc. with communication through mobile phones and the Internet.

The main objectives of the measure were to:

  • Reduce the number of children that are driven to school by car;
  • Increase the number of children that cycle to school; and
  • Sensitise children on sustainable mobility issues.

This issue has been high on the agenda of the municipality for a number of years already with both national and local cycling campaigns. The city has the objective to reduce the number of children being driven to school by car to a maximum of 10 percent in urban areas, and 20 percent in rural areas by 2020. With this goal in mind, Aalborg has built on current campaigns with a new initiative on the 17 schools within the CIVITAS ARCHIMEDES corridor that focuses on travel behaviour, road safety and health.

How did the measure progress?

As the starting point for the work The City of Aalborg has conducted a survey among school children to learn how they get to school and how they perceive road safety on their way to school. The results became available in spring 2011 and serve as background information for the design of the School Cycling Campaign.

The campaign was launched in August 2010 to October 2010. The campaign focused on the age group between 5th and 7th grade (children approx. 11-13 years old). The campaign was designed to motivate the children to be active in the campaign and in order to win the competition getting out on the bikes was necessary for the children. In addition the campaign was built on an internet platform that evolved through the competition and the children got information on their mobile phones through the campaigning period.

By school start 2011 a follow up campaign built on the experiences from the campaign in 2011 was introduced at the schools.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

The new campaign was expected to affect:

  • Children’s perception of cycling campaigns; and
  • Increase children’s use of cycling.

After the implementation of the campaign the campaign was evaluated both years through questionnaires distributed to the target group. Through the campaigning period it was obvious that the children took up the challenge and solved the riddles. In total the school children uploaded more than 600 photos the first year and around 500 photos the second year of the campaign on the campaign website and in average the visits on the homepage were around 4 ½ min. These can be seen as indications of that the children were interested in the campaign, but as part of the evaluation they have also been directly asked about their experiences with the campaign. The evaluation revealed that the target group that around 80 % of the children answer that they know the campaign.  

Both years around around 64% of school children state that it has been fun to participate in the campaign. It is especially the parts of the campaign, where the children had to go out on their bikes or had the possibility to upload photos on the internet that are rated particularly positive. An important result of the survey is also that the evaluation both years revealed that around 20% of the participating children state that they due to the campaign feel more like biking to school.

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