EPOMM e-update December 2014
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Dear reader,

When we tell you that many children are transported to primary school by car, even though almost all of them live near the school within a walkable (1 km) or bikable distance (2 km), we tell you nothing new. It is a constant struggle for schools and authorities to try to slow down and reduce car traffic in school environments. The current E-update provides you with some new information on the topic of Mobility Management in schools and aims to give you inspiration to further promote sustainable mobility in school environments.

Reminder: Just a few days to go! The call for papers for the ECOMM2015 is still open, deadline for submission is 9 December, 23:59 CET. For submission of abstracts, please go to the submission site.

School travel plans


One of the pitfalls of Mobility Management in schools is that schools implement several ‘fun’ sustainable mobility activities in an unstructured way. That is why a school travel plan is a good tool to systematically address all the different aspects of promoting sustainable school travel (information, promotion, transport organisation, infrastructure). Authorities can encourage schools to start up a school travel plan by providing subsidies (e.g. UK’s Travelling to School Initiative Programme), personnel (e.g. klimaaktiv mobil programme ‘Mobility Management for Children, Parents and Schools’, in German), step-by-step guides (e.g. What a school travel plan should contain), materials (e.g. travel surveys, brochure with MM actions in other schools, in German) and/or other incentives.

  • In Austria more than 250 schools, kindergartens and childcare facilities have benefited from the klimaaktiv mobil programme targeting educational settings (see English brochure) since 2005. With this a total of 54,000 children and students are engaged. This school year 50 more educational settings are being supported by a mobility manager. Evaluation results testify to the success of the programme: there is less car traffic around the educational setting and more awareness of children’s need for physical activity and clean air. Approximately 513,000 tonnes of CO2 is saved each year.
    It is often not easy for schools to develop mobility management. Graz in Austria has developed a special school mobility management programme in which all schools can participate. There is a guide-book with a catalogue of 45 measures (in German) among which schools can select – for each measure selected, the schools get financial support as well as free advice and guidance.
  • Similar, since 2006, Brussels-Capital Region (BE) offers financial support and guidance to schools developing a school travel plan. Today, 240 of the 650 schools have a travel plan implemented. With the help of this plan and related measures, most of the schools managed to reduce car use considerably (see Mobilty Guide number 33 in French, in Dutch). Schools without a travel plan are required to fill in an extensive travel survey registering the modal split and the implementation status of all measures involved in promoting sustainable school travel. All this offers the regional authority plenty of information to be used in their policy on sustainable mobility.
  • In Sienna (IT), the city council has approved the development of walking buses. With support of the council, a network of adult volunteers is being created, to be able to start up walking buses at 36 primary schools across the city (see Eltis case study).

Earn your STAR(s)

The European STARS project is implementing an accreditation system for primary schools in nine European countries. By organising a certain number of measures in six different categories, schools can achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold accreditation. Last year, schools organised many nice activities such as bike rides and a video competition.

In secondary schools, peers have more influence on behaviour than parents. That is why the STARS project uses a peer-to-peer method in secondary schools. Pupils make their own campaigns and promote cycling among their peers, with the support of a teacher and a STARS Advisor. The first year of STARS stimulated a lot of creativity with free viennoiseries for cyclists, a decorated bike shed on Valentine’s Day, red carpet days, a 'pimp your vest' workshop, Facebook pages, etc (read more in the second STARS newsletter). The schools also participated in a Cycle Challenge, a serious game that allows pupils to see the results of their bike trips and to rank the most active cyclists.

STARS is still looking for cities to implement the STARS methods after the project ends. Do not hesitate any longer, register today as an adopter city!

Travis the snake conquers Europe

Over many years, The Traffic Snake Game (TSG) has proven to be a fun campaign that successfully increases sustainable transport in primary schools. Children receive dots to put on a big banner each time they use a sustainable transport mode to travel to school (see how it works). The goal is to fill the TSG banner by the end of the game period (two weeks). The new European project Traffic Snake Game Network aims to spread this good practice across Europe. Up until now, national focal points in 18 European countries champion the project and steer the local implementation of the campaign. Each country has its own Traffic Snake Game website. If there is no national focal point in your country and you are interested in become one, simply contact the TSG secretariat.

The TSG is a perfect teaser for a school to start working on sustainable mobility in a more systematic way. That is why the new TSG policy factsheet (available on the website in December 2014) provides schools with more information and tools to start working on Mobility Management.

Students to the rescue for an accessible Groningen

Educational institutions are important partners to consult and involve in mobility planning. The city of Groningen (NL), did exactly this with their large student population, when they were facing large infrastructural works with a big impact on the accessibility of the city.,. About 800 students participated in a student travel survey including an accessibility research of the different locations of the university. It resulted in detailed recommendations for local government to increase student cycling and better manage the high numbers of cyclists, for example via infrastructure measures (e.g. broaden passages for cyclists, decreasing speeds bumps, etc.) and information measures (e.g. using the same colour for a cycling route as the corresponding bus line, placing information boards indicating how long it takes to ride to a certain destination, etc.). The report is publicy available but in Dutch.

Active travel to school by architecture and participation

The Norwegian government has set the goal that 80% of all children shall walk or bike to school. This is why the municipality of Gran examined how physical surroundings and architecture along school routes can change children’s travel behaviour to more active and sustainable modes. Based on the children’s input, colourful meeting places were designed and built along the road near the school in Gran (read more). These modules incite children to meet up on their way to or from school, which is only possible if they travel on foot or by bike. Evaluations show that children, their parents and the schools are more aware of the importance of active travel modes now than they were before the project. Experiences from the project are summarised and presented in a brochure (in Norwegian) as a toolbox for other interested municipalities and schools. The work was supported by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture.

School bike planner app

In 2015, all pupils of approximately 270 secondary schools in the region of Frankfurt RhineMain (GE) will be able to use a bicycle route map on their PC or smartphone to outline the safest route to school. This school bike planner is currently being created in collaboration with the pupils and with financial support of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (in German). Pupils can indicate the routes they take to school and point out dangerous spots. Before the routes are implemented into the route planner the police, road administration and public transport associations meet with the schools and pupils to discuss the routes and inspect the information on their correctness. 40% of the network is already mapped. With the help of this tool, the schools and the Ministry hope to stimulate more pupils to travel to school by bike.

Need some inspiration?

Folding bikes at school

GBS Huizingen, a primary school near Brussels (BE), bought 15 folding bikes for their pupils with subsidies provided by the province. These bikes were used to travel to nearby school activities or to the train station for activities further away. Thanks to the project, pupils now bike more often and have become more aware that many destinations can be reached by sustainable modes. Earlier in 2014, the school won a Green Award by DAHON and received a folding bike as a present. The school now lends the bike to ‘famous’ persons in the province (read more, in Dutch) in order to promote sustainable travel. The Alderman of education was the first to test out the bike this fall and to act as a roll model for the children and their parents.

Create your own sustainable transportation

The students from Zadobrova Primary school in Ljubljana (Slovenia) worked around the theme of sustainable mobility in a hands-on and fun way. Thanks to the Eco-Schools programme, run by the Foundation for Environmental Education and funded by Toyota Fund for Europe, they could see and learn how new technologies and recycling can encourage sustainable mobility. No better way to learn then by doing so they designed and created their own push scooter with waste material. To recharge the battery of the scooter they set up a battery charging point that works through solar cells on the schools roof. With all this they won the Environment & Innovation competition: ‘Sustainable Mobility’ earlier in 2014.

Cycle buses for children with reduced mobility

For children that are unable to cycle independently because of physical or mental disabilities, cycling to school seems impossible. For Ter Bank, a school for special education in Leuven (BE), this burden was a non-issue. Together with Mobiel 21 they implemented cycling buses to travel together to school and to nearby school activities (read more). The cycle bus was also tested in a primary school (in cycle pooling) and in a child care facility. The project won the third price of the Dahon Green Award competition and the first price of the Dutch Child in the City Award (in Dutch). Group cycles are also used in the Netherlands to transport children from school to after school care. It is a fun and healthy alternative for motorised travel (small buses) allowing children with reduced mobility to fully experience cycling.

Learning by playing

In 2014, Renault Group created ‘Safety and mobility for all’, a serious game to raise children’s awareness of road safety. The game is designed for primary school children and can be played for free at school or at home. It teaches children about sustainable mobility modes and about road safety in an entertaining way. The game is currently available in English, in French and in Spanish.


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