The City of Făgăraș has been a member of the Covenant of Mayors since 2011, with a target of reducing CO2 emissions by 22% by 2020.The I walk to school" 2012-2013 Campaign, implemented as an initiative of the City of Făgăraș Energy Department, was developed as an extension of a project that was undertaken during European Mobility Week, under the slogan "Moving in the right direction!". Modules from the TRANSPORT LEARNING scheme have represented the driving force for this new initiative.
Background & Objectives
Despite the fact that the City of Făgăraș is a small sized city and distances between activities are relatively short, studies show that there is an alarming increase in the number of car users within recent years, leading the city towards high levels of pollution and a loss of space that has now become dedicated to cars. There is also an increasing trend of kindergarten children and school students being brought to school by car on a regular basis.
Due to its success throughout the entire implementation period, the "I walk to school" campaign is now part of the Făgăraș Sustainable Energy Action Plan. The campaign aimed to boost sustainable mobility by raising pupils’, teachers’, parents’ and citizens’ awareness of the benefits of walking and cycling.
"I walk to school" involved several steps:
- advising schools on campaign objectives, handing out training materials describing the benefits of walking and establishment of schedules for future activities;
- organising specific activities at schools level: a slogan competition, composing lyrics and hymns, creating the campaign’s logo, designing illustrations showing walking as a central theme, overcoming prejudices and psychological barriers by discussing them and surveys monitoring and evaluating the number of students who walk to school;
- After these introductory activities took place, the Traffic Snake Game has been implemented in several schools. Within one week, the snake became a real presence on the schools’ hallway. Children from 3 kindergartens and 4 secondary schools have taken part, involving 500 kindergarten children and over 2000 school students. The Association for Valuing Education was one of the project’s partners. Students who helped to promote the action or created poems, messages and campaign hymn received participation certificates. You can read more about the international traffic snake game as a case study or a video clip. There are several more Traffic Snake Case Studies - also from Romania - available on Eltis.>
- "Walking Buses" were also implemented to support all students and parents to get together and walk to school. This action targeted children's health, their learning ability and independence, and became a source of inspiration for other social activities. A map with walking bus routes has been developed. 500 students from three secondary schools and 200 high school students have been involved.
In April 2013, at the campaign's end, every school/kindergarten involved undertook knowledge exchange and presentation of actions during the "to know more, to be better" week. Every month, campaign managers have been present at the City Hall where all the encountered obstacles and campaign outcomes have been discussed. Teachers responsible for the campaign and others who were involved received diplomas.
The whole campaign was carried out as a practical element of a series of training sessions within the IEE-co-funded TRANSPORT LEARNING project.
A total of 2500 children have been involved in the Traffic Snake Game and 700 children have participated in the Walking Bus.
At the local level citizens have been aware of this campaign with the support of TV and radio.
The Traffic Snake Game was a real success and two schools have continued to monitor students’ trips to school and implemented a Traffic Snake Game of their own.
Volunteers among the students’ grandparents considered the Walking Bus a way of protecting their children at road crossings. Therefore, they have decided to lead the “Buses” until the end of the school year.
According to the calculations developed within the Final Report of the TRANSPORT LEARNING Practical Training Project, the total reduction of CO2 and fuel consumption reached almost 1500 kg CO2 per week.