The Walking Bus concept was realised for the first time in Bulgaria – in the framework of the SEGMENT project and with heavy promotion via Video and TV
Background & Objectives
SEGMENT was an Intelligent-Energy-Europe-funded project which tested consumer market segmentation techniques to persuade people to adopt more energy efficient forms of transport.
In the framework of SEGMENT, Sofia introduced the Walking Bus concept to Bulgaria. The segmentation survey analysis determined several target groups, called the “Image-conscious intenders”, “dissatisfied drivers”, and “car contemplators” - these were the groups that would be most apt to change their travel behaviour.
The Walking Bus initiative was conducted with the cooperation of several schools in the district of Lozenets in Sofia. The campaign involves parents taking turns on walking their children to school Most of the pupils are classmates or at different class groups.
The initiative aims at changing the attitude towards the alternative modes of transportation in Sofia and in this way the reduction of the car traffic. The crucial problem is the rooted habit of parents to drive their personal automobiles in order to drop and pick up their children at and from school.
The action had the following steps in the realisation:
- A firm partnership with the schools of the district needed to be established, that was crucial for the success of the action
- A promotional video and information materials were spread two weeks before the beginning of the action
- First participants were parents informed by the school teachers that tested the concept in May 2012
- An agreed common route which the children and the volunteering parents should stick to was established. It turned into a smooth walking fun because of the good organisation and enthusiasm of the participants.
- The start of the new school year in September 2012 attracted more parents to participate.>
- A subsegquently produced video shows the actual action
- Information is also available on a Bulgarian-language website.
The cost of the initiative was €15,500.
All of the parents who embraced the idea of trying this practical and energy-saving means of accompanying their children to school on a “taking turns” basis saw the advantages and were ready to turn the practice into habit.
The most crucial lesson learnt is that residents of different persuasions are willing to reduce their car use because of the overwhelming traffic and the realisation that a greener way of mobility is beneficial for all.
The successful execution of the campaign required the dedication of the volunteers. The volunteers set an example to their children for a city with less CO2 and also ensured that the initiative message reached other parents. The level of interaction and engagement shown by the residents of Sofia was greater than expected. They demonstrated a commitment to green issues that is important all over the world.
- Car travel went down by 9 percent, while walking increased by 9%. A decent result
- The target group consisted of 204 persons, therefore CO2 emissions reduction on an annualised basis are only small, about 3 tons.
- For evaluation details please follow this link to the MaxEva evaluation database on EPOMM.