Traffic and mobility education is obligatory in the Belgian learning goals for both primary and secondary schools. Even after all the years of awareness raising and the development of hands on material, most teachers stick to mobility education inside the classroom and don’t practice how to cross streets safely or interpret traffic signs in real life situations. By introducing educational traffic routes a learning process on mobility, traffic signalisations, regulations and transport and mobility behaviour is initiated in a real life situation.
Background & Objectives
An educational traffic routes is an outlined route along instructive traffic situations, important for children. You can walk or cycle along this track depending on the behavioural skills of the children. The route can be marked with special signalization in order for teachers to easily find the route in case they don’t have the manual with them. The most important goals of the project are:
• Children learn to participate in traffic as pedestrian or cyclist;
• Increasing the knowledge on traffic regulations
• Teaching children how to protect themselves in traffic,
• Teaching children how to anticipate on the behaviour of other road users and how to deal with this,
• Getting children acquainted with the school environment and the different routes to school,
• Getting children acquainted with different traffic situations and the elementary traffic signs and regulations on their way to school.
The advantages of an educational traffic route:
• A fixed and designated route in the near school environment where traffic and mobility education can take place in real life situations.
• Children get the opportunity to practise their skills as pedestrian or cyclist very often.
• You can cover the entire or a specific part of the route, depending on the skills you want to practice.
• You can practice on the route at any time (during school hours but also during weekends or even school holidays).
• You can use the route (preferably) different times during the year as repetition is often a good way of learning something new.
• Parents can also get acquainted with the route and practice with their children during weekends or holidays. Children copy behavior of their parents so it is a good learning method if they both follow the designated route and use the same instructions as in school.
Mobiel 21 vzw initiated this project in different municipalities / cities in Flanders.This project is an example of close cooperation between different stakeholders: the municipality, police, the school management, the teachers and parents. Each of them have their own specific task.
To demonstrate the educational traffic route 3 pilot projects were set up in Desselgem, Essen and Scherpenheuvel-Zichem in 2003.Due to the positive feedback from children, parents, teachers and the municipalities the idea behind the educational traffic route has been disseminated widely in Flanders. Since then, Mobiel 21 vzw has guided different municipalities and schools in developing their own educational traffic routes.Separate manuals (Dutch language only) from these educational traffic routes are available at Mobiel 21 vzw (www.mobiel21.be) but are of course distributed in first instance by the municipality themselves and the school.