PUMAS Voyage: A Participatory Approach towards Healthy School Travel

Schümmer, Till and Mühlpfordt, Martin and Del Piccolo, Federica and Mella, Giuseppe (2015) PUMAS Voyage: A Participatory Approach towards Healthy School Travel. REAL CORP 2015. PLAN TOGETHER – RIGHT NOW – OVERALL. From Vision to Reality for Vibrant Cities and Regions. Proceedings of 20th International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society. pp. 841-850.

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Schooltravel plays an important role in the development of citizens’ mobility. For students, school travel is the first way of commuting, for parents it is often the first context in which they take responsibility for traffic conditions motivated by the care for their children. Consequently, the reflection on school travel is part of the general curriculum in some countries (e.g., in Germany, cf. KMK, 2012). At the same time, school travel is an important field for participation in general. By involving in school travel planning, children and parents can in an ideal case experience a child friendly city that takes into consideration the competencies and needs of children. This larger view on the relationship between cities and children gained attention through the Child Friendly City (CFC) programme of the United Nations Children’s Fund (IRC, 2004). It aims at a high commitment to children’s rights in the development of cities, including among others, the rights of children to express their opinion for changing their city, increased participation of children in social life, better road safety, less pollution, and green spaces in the city. Given the fact that school travel is a big step for children in taking responsibility for their mobility in the city, it should be considered as an important field of action for a city that wants to become a CFC in the above sense. In Italy, the CFC has a long history. In 1998, the Ministry for Environment initiated the Sustainable Cities for Boys and Gils (CSDBB) initiative (cf. CORSI, 2002). Consequently, Italian CFCinitiatives among others focussed on “reduction of air pollution, […] enhancing green spaces, […] promoting mobility, [… and ] participation.” (ibid, pp. 170f.) A fundamental factor for a child friendly city is the “direct involvement of children in the initiatives proposed.” (ibid.). In the following years, the encouragement of free movement has become an integral part of the Italian CFC initiatives (IRC, 2005, p. 37f.). It also became clear that this topic has to involve not only children but also their parents, teachers, and city planners.The authors of the report already observed that opening up the process leads to a higher level of complexity (ibid., p. 41). Within the European project PUMAS that investigates sustainable urban mobility planning in the Alpine space, one pilot activity coordinated by the City of Venice focused on a multi-stakeholder process for the participatory planning of healthy and safe school travel in the sense outlined above. The goal of the pilot was manifold: Children and parents should reach an increased awareness on healthy and safe school travel, all stakeholders (children, parents, teachers, planners, and politicians) should engage in a process for identifying challenges in local school travel and envisioning new ideas for a healthier and safer school travel, and finally, low-cost measures should be implemented and other measures planned in order to raise the perceived empowerment and responsibility of the stakeholders for their city. The initiative was planned as a technology-supported participative process. A mobile participation software, PUMAS Voyage, developed at the FernUniversität in Hagen, enabled situated communication and participation of different stakeholders. Within this paper, we first summarize existing approaches for participation and empowerment in the context of school travelplanning and identify reasons why such activities are needed and why they contribute to a child friendly city. While the current state of the art provides valuable examples for school travel planning, we assume that new technologies can be an additional way for reaching the goal of a participative initiative towards a child friendly city. We present and describe an integrated process for school travel planning that can be applied in primary schools and outline the various stages in which awareness on traffic behaviour is established and communication takes place. It makes use of the PUMAS Voyage applicationto reflect on current school travel behaviour and envision new solutions. The process and the technology have been applied in six primary schools in Venice. We report on experiences with the process and the technology involving a large number of students and parents and show how the participating students, parents, teachers, and planners developed a vision for a safer and healthier home-school journey. Finally, we provide an outlook on how these insights of the process will lead to concrete measures in the updated mobility plan of Venice.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: mobility planning, mobile planning, photovoice, tablet, home-school traffic
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2016 09:15
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2016 09:15
URI: http://repository.corp.at/id/eprint/74

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