Improving Road Safety for Children and Youth: The sCOOL2walk Project Selects 3 Schools for Pilots
Through the leadership of CARNET and the support of the city councils of Barcelona, Malta, and Riga, the sCOOL2walk project makes significant progress in promoting active mobility and safe travel for children and youth in 3 schools that participate to test the proposed technological solution. Initiatives such as sCOOL2walk contribute to further improve road safety statistics preventing deaths and serious injuries.
The sCOOL2walk project is aimed at promoting walkability among children and youth by creating a web application that connects parents and students to share their commute to school. The initiative will be implemented in several schools across Europe that are willing to promote active mobility among their pupils, including Siggiewi Primary School in Malta, Col·legi Sant Ramon Nonat in Barcelona and Rïgas 45. Vidusskola.
Active mobility is critical for children’s health and development, with walking to school being one of the healthy activities. Several studies have found that children who regularly walk to school do more physical exercise throughout the day and have better cardiovascular health than those who commute by car or public transportation .
In addition to the physical health benefits, walking to school also has important social and cognitive benefits for children. By walking with friends or family members, children have the opportunity to develop social skills and form meaningful relationships. Walking to school also helps children develop a sense of independence and responsibility, as they learn to navigate their environment safely and make decisions on their own.
However, despite these benefits, the number of children who walk or bike to school has decreased significantly in recent years, with many parents opting to drive their children instead . This trend is partly due to concerns about safety, as well as the increasing availability of car transportation.
The schools involved are aware of this concern, and believe there is room for improvement in the active mobility aspect. Recent surveys conducted at Siggiewi Primary School in Malta and Barcelona’s Sant Ramon Nonat revealed that 50% and 73% of the students, respectively, already walk to school. However, the surveys also found that 41% of Malta’s school pupils and 11% of Barcelona’s students still go to school in private vehicles (*see Figure below). The goal of sCOOL2walk is to improve these figures and encourage more children to walk to school in a safe and sustainable way. Through using technology to connect parents and students, the project aims to increase awareness of the benefits of walking, while making the journey to school safer for everyone ensuring that our children and youth have a brighter and safer future.
The sCOOL2walk project is an excellent example of how collaboration between different stakeholders can lead to positive outcomes. By involving all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, and local governments, active mobility can increase, reducing road accidents going to European schools.