School travel plans (Monza)
Design workshops were held in primary schools within the CIVITAS corridor to raise awareness among students, parents and teachers about the benefits of sustainable school travel methods.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Every year in Monza there is a Walk to School Week at the end of which ten schools (one from each town district) are rewarded for the sustainable behaviour of their pupils in their journey to and home from school. These events are gaining more and more attention every year.
The Municipality of Monza undertook research to design and implement the scheme of pedestrian paths, the main objectives are to:
- Raise awareness of travel behaviour for journeys to school
- Reduce the number of children being driven to school, thereby reducing congestion and CO2 emissions from transport.
- Have a “Walking Bus” acting just like a Public Transport Line for children to walk to school.
The measure consisted in the involvement of a skilled group of experts to lead the the workshops for the definition in agreement with pupils and their parents of the stops and timetable of the Walking bus paths, and in the involvement of key stakeholders (such as the Local Police, teachers and school managers) in order to co-ordinate the scheme with the school timetables, and to discuss security aspects of the scheme.
To implement the study and the development of the measure, Monza issued a subcontract for specialist support to design participatory workshops with the seven classes involved in ARCHIMEDES.
The study of the Walking Bus Route was completed in August 2009 and a survey has been carried out on the mobility habits of the families of the 887 pupils involved. In November 2009 a Learning history workshop was carried out together with teachers, parents and technicians from the municipality. During the last school year, the first group of workshops were held, with visits to schools carried out by staff to educate pupils and faculty members on the school paths. In May 2010 the second group of workshops were held.
Since April 2011 the 10 Walking bus routes designed by pupils are active, and more than 140 pupils are currently going to school in this way.
To further exploit the measure, a communication campaign in the city and in primary schools was run supported by a leaflet that describes “the good recipe to start a walking bus”.
- Key result 1 – Basically, the percentage of children who have participated to the walking bus is 15%, which can be assessed as a good result, considering that this kind of measure is aimed at changing people’s mobility habits.
- Key result 2 – In some schools the Walking Bus have been operative for 161 days out of the 200 fixed by Italian law, which is a very important result in terms of continuity: parents are more confident to enroll their children to a walking bus (in case they are not available to accompany them) if they know that it is operational during the whole school year
- Key result 3 – Sensible fuel savings ( - 274,4 l from April to June 2011; - 764 l from October 2011 to June 2012) and reduction in CO2 emissions ( - 588 kg from April to June 2011; - 1.637 kg from October 2011 to June 2012) have been estimated.
- Key result 4 – An average 8,34% reduction of car traffic in front of the four schools involved, even though with different percentages for each school.
- Key result 5 Surveys realized with families (both participants and non-participants) show a good level of awareness of the measure, in addition to the idea that the walking bus is “useful and interesting” or “convenient for families” and that it has a positive impact on children (on socialization and autonomy above all) and on pollution.
- Key result 6 – The results in terms of health, autonomy, image value and consciousness have been very positive for Municipality of Monza. Moreover, all children who joined the walking bus were given a voucher of 20 € at the end of the school year as a contribution by Comune of Monza to families’ expenses for school supplies: this initiative has been welcomed both by headmasters and teachers and by families of children involved in the demonstration activities.
The communication campaign has proved successful, being conveyed by children to other children. Nevertheless, there is the pressing need to disseminate the initiative more among parents of the schools, because they represent the key component of the success of the experiment.
Moreover, every year it is necessary to recruit more parents to operate the walking buses. In some cases the entire demonstration has relied on the availability of few parents who do not know if they can sustain this commitment for all next year. This problem is present especially in the case of accompanying parents of children attending the fifth and last class, who will change school next year.
A fundamental role in this activity is played by teachers of involved schools because they are the link with the parents for the dissemination of walking bus information and for stimulating the participation of children.