Encouraging Modal Shift for Travel to School Across Europe: the Traffic Snake Game

Encouraging Modal Shift for Travel to School Across Europe: the Traffic Snake Game


Ioanna Moscholidou, WYG, John Colclough, WYG


The Traffic Snake Game is a European campaign promoting sustainable travel in primary schools. As the pupils are rewarded for the sustainable trips they take, they improve their road safety skills and understand the importance of active travel.


The Traffic Snake Game (TSG) is a campaign developed to encourage primary school aged children, their parents and teachers to walk, cycle, take public transport or car share to school. Based on the principles of gamification, the game encourages sustainable travel behaviour through rewarding pupils for every sustainable trip they take during a two-week playing period. Along with the before and during data, schools are requested to record post campaign trip data to determine the retention effect. Starting out as a relatively small project in Flanders (Belgium), the TSG is now being played in schools across 19 countries in Europe.

Since 2014, the results of the campaign has shown approximately a 20% reduction in single occupancy car trips and more than 10% increase in walking trips, both with significant retention effects after the campaign. In the first year of the campaign (2014), the savings during the two campaign weeks were 349,797 kilometres of car trips and 56 tonnes of CO2. The levels of savings after the end of the campaign were 414,854 kilometres and 67 tonnes of CO2.

Our experience proves that walking and cycling to school enables children to become more aware of their local surroundings and improve their road safety skills. Furthermore, children can learn about the health benefits of active travel and the importance of incorporating physical activity in their lives, particularly for trips performed on a daily basis. Although, the TSG has been proven to be a successful way to promote sustainable school trips, our experience in different countries has shown that the lack of policy coordination between different local authorities can result in multiple campaigns competing for schools to deliver the same core messages. Setting modal shift targets and integrating the various sustainable mobility tools in local and national strategies would have a significant impact on the scale of adoption of the campaign.


Association for European Transport