|GP: Implemented project: ‘‘In Reggio Emilia we go to school by BiciBus/PediBus” -Italy|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.