GP: Implemented project: ‘‘In Reggio Emilia we go to school by BiciBus/PediBus” -Italy PDF Print E-mail

Several years ago, a survey showed that two thirds of all children in Reggio Emilia were brought to school by car. To reduce this number and to encourage students, parents and teachers to cycle to school, the municipality initiated the BiciBus.


Background & Objectives


The local government of Reggio Emilia, a city in northern Italy with 170,000 inhabitants, decided to encourage its inhabitants to change their travel patterns. A special emphasis was placed on reducing the carbon footprint of school transport by promoting walking, cycling and other sustainable modes of transport. As the city's landscape contains few hills and the weather is mild, walking and cycling are rather effortless.
In 2003 a project called ‘‘In Reggio Emilia we go to school by BiciBus/PediBus” was initiated by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and FIAB (Italian Federation of Urban Cyclists and Bicycle Tourism). The objectives of the BiciBus/PediBus were:

  1. Strengthening students´ health and self-confidence
  2. Reducing school transport by car, thereby increasing road safety, reducing fuel consumption and improving air quality
  3. Enhancing children’s knowledge concerning sustainable mobility and transport behavior



This low cost initiative follows a simple school bus pattern, where the actual buses are replaced by bicycles and walking. The zero emission approach counts on the support of volunteers (mostly the students' parents and grandparents). They lead the primary and secondary school students to the educational institutions and back home each day, at a specific time. Along the route, signs were placed where the children waited for the BiciBus/ PediBus to arrive.
To guarantee safety, the routes were predetermined along quiet roads and the children were equipped with helmets and brightly colored covers. Volunteers and students were offered insurance by the municipality. The BiciBus lanes were clearly marked and are easy to follow.
Furthermore, different activities were planned for students, teachers and parents, dealing with issues such as educational workshops and technical lessons concerning bicycles; road education; physical health, sustainable transport and road safety; and mobility management



When the BiciBus initiative started in 2003, 70 students from 2 schools participated. However, this number continuously rose and reached a peak in the school year 2009/10 with 16 schools and a total of 510 students.
The number of routes offered by the schools varied between 1 and 4, though the average was 2; the distances of the routes varied from 0.5 to 6.4 kilometers. Encompassing all the schools involved, Reggio Emilia provided 48 different BiciBuses in 2010 covering a length of 78.1 kilometers.

By 2010, the PediBus project was taken up by 6 schools and 55 students. 6 routes, varying from 0.1 to 1.3 kilometers and with a total length of 4.3 kilometers, were available to srudents.
The BiciBus/PediBus had various positive effects on the community, from energy savings and regular physical activity, to teaching children to be more independent.

However, despite the huge number of advantages, some problems arose; it was and still is difficult to find enough volunteers; more and more people are moving to the suburbs and, in winter, the implementation of the BiciBus is more complicated.

In November 2006, the BiciBus/PediBus project won the first prize in a competition about better good practices of sustainable and safe mobility concerning school routes. Finally, in order to achieve a permanent change in student mobility behavior, the municipality published a “manifesto” in 2009, which describes further measures to preserve the concept of sustainable school transport as part of schools' daily routine.


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