The Trafficsnake: Improving Traffic Safety and Environment at Primary Schools
W Buijs, DTV Consultants, NL
The Trafficsnake reduces the car-usage at primary schools and is played at primary schools with the objective to reduce the number of car trips to the schools. The Trafficsnake is a basis with which schools can create a special thematic Trafficweek.
The Trafficsnake (in Dutch: ?Verkeersslang?®) reduces the car-usage at primary schools. The Trafficsnake is played at primary schools with the objective to reduce the number of car trips to the schools. With the Trafficsnake, the parents get a better awareness about the benefits of cycling or walking to the school. The Trafficsnake is a basis with which schools can create a special thematic ?trafficweek?.
By encouraging the young people to let them experience alternative transport modes, this affects the children?s future behaviour and their parents? behaviour right now. The Trafficsnake offers more and broader result than improvement of the road safety. Children will be healthier by walking and cycling to school. Also, the air quality is improved by the reduction of short car trips to school. Co-operation is one of the main successfactors of the Traffic Snake. Beside the schools themselves, the police, the municipality, traffic parents and Traffic Safety-organisations have been involved.
During the thematic week the pupils have to come to school by foot or bike as much as possible. Doing so they can earn a sticker that will be put on a big banner. This banner has got the image of a snake on it. The objective for the school is to fill in the whole snake with stickers. When this target is reached all children will win a prize. Schools organise an opening of the traffic week, which can attract much publicity. Children get traffic-lesson. The participating primary schools receive a big banner with the Trafficsnake, a special game material, an educational scenariobook and the use of the internetsite www.verkeersslang.nl.
The modal split is measured 3 times. Once two to three weeks before the thematic week, the second time during the thematic week and the third time 4 or 5 weeks after the thematic week. Counting the cycling and walking children before, during and after the trafficweek makes clear that more children go walking or cycling to school during their ?trafficweek?.
In the previous years, an average of 88% of the participating schools has gained more environment-friendly (cycling or walking) transport during the counting after the thematic week then during the counting before the thematic week. This makes clear that the project works. During the trafficweek the percentage of walking and cycling children increases up to an average of 90%.
In the Netherlands, already more than 200 schools in 27 municipalities have participated in the Trafficsnake. This means that almost 60,000 children have participated in this traffic awareness-project. Extra measurings at 13 participating schools make clear that -20 weeks after the themeweek with the Trafficsnake- the number of children that comes on foot or by bicycle to school is still 85%. This is equal to the counting 4 weeks after the thematic week. After a year and a half this percentage has decreased, but the difference with the counting before the trafficweek is still 6% higher. After a year and a half, the Trafficsnake has still impact.
In short: the Trafficsnake is a very good basis for an intense co-operation between different parties in the neighbourhood of a school. The Trafficsnake creates a liveable environment, because it improves the traffic-safety, environment and health.
Association for European Transport