PEDIBUS - encouraging pupils to walk to school safely in organised groups on fixed routes.
The objective of the measure is set within the framework of the Rome SUMP goals, and addresses the youngest group of students and their families. The main purpose of the project is to foster the relationship between parents in order to stimulate a mutual support, in accompanying the children to school as a group.
This measure contributes to raise awareness on how walking in group to school can improve the quality of life, health, socialization and the environment. While walking together to school pupils can interact, exchange experiences, learn the rules of the road, gain autonomy and raise self-confidence.
Mutual support, time saving, trust, active mobility, more personal interactions, change in the mobility paradigm, PARTICIPATION.
These are all elements of innovation introduced by this practice.
The initiative in Rome is Public driven, by the City Mobility Agency (RSM) that has contacted a large number of school mangers to kick off the idea in the schools and to stimulate agreements and aggregation between parents, school, local groups, shopkeepers etc.
The take-up of the measure has worked out thanks to a mix between “word of mouth” communication and the “wheel of persuasion” levers on the “users side”.
No external resources have been committed.
Rome Mobility Agency actively supported the initiative through the identification of safe routes in safety, and coordinated the first initiatives.
Some support can arise from sponsorships
Evidence of success
Once overcome initial difficulties, the project was largely appreciated by families.
Children were stimulated to walk, interact, learn from each other. Children also stimulate their parents to walk or cycle instead of using the car for their systematic journeys.
8 Comprehensive Institutes have started the PEDIBUS projects thanks to the first year's campaign. A closing school event with the stakeholder was organised to gain large participation and feedback.
The main barrier for take-up of the initiative was the perception by the school (teachers and managers) that this would have been an additional workload. This was a hinder as the school is the core stakeholder.
Potential for learning or transfer
The PEDIBUS experience in Italy has a national coordination and until the Covid emergency disrupted our lives the initiative was spreading quite well.
The potential for success and transfer lies in the light organiation needed and in the involvement of local communities throug the "word of mouth" technique.
Traditional methods were used for the initial engagement, phone calls and visits, demonstrating through printed materials that the role of the School would just be institutional, that the project and the support tools are already in place. It is of outmost important that the schools have a "mobility manager" that acts as a link between the institutions and the school management, this especially in large cities.