Koper, a SaMBA Pilot
Engage studens and elderly into changing their mobility behaviours via incentives and rewards.
The City of Koper has well-organized public city transport in the urban area that the Municipality can control and finance directly and by its means. The basic problem of public transport is the missing connections among the city and the suburban areas or other municipalities, from which comes the extremely high daily work or school migration.
That creates congestion in rush hours, overcrowded parking areas and lack of security. For pedestrians and bicycle users, the lack of infrastructure and the altitude difference between city centre and outskirts create another impediment to choose sustainable means of transportation.
Today’s pace of mobility dictates a car, the use of public transport, cycling and walking in everyday life has fallen. The growth of traffic has led to a deterioration of the conditions for its ongoing development, therefore pilot solutions are sought from the resulting situation. Mobility is now perceived as the right of every individual and is a prerequisite for a better life. Therefore, the Municipality of Koper wants to place the citizens at the centre of planning and to provide them with a healthy and safe environment in which they will be pleasant to travel and live. It wants to encourage people to combine the use of transport modes that will lead to cleaner air and a higher quality of life.
Measures to address this challenge will take place under the motto “Change the habit-gain the reward”:
- Electrification of city centre and how to live in the city centre without a car – study
- Sustainable way of coming to work – analysis and activities for promotion of sustainable mobility among employees at the Municipality of Koper – rewarding system
- Walk-bus and promotion of sustainable way of coming to school and kindergarten (6 primary schools and 6 kindergartens) – bloggers and rewarding system
- Empowering the elderly population (promotion of biking as a way of mobility and keeping healthy lifestyle) – sport events and rewarding system
Walking to Kindergarten
The purpose of the activity “Walking to kindergarten” was to encourage children and parents to come to kindergarten in a more sustainable way, i.e. on foot (by bicycle, scooter, using public transportation etc.). Educators in kindergarten groups participating in the project initially presented the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the environment and drew a tree, whose branches were named after the children in the group. Arrivals to the kindergarten were recorded every day, as the leaves on the branches were coloured green if the mode of arrival to the kindergarten was sustainable. It, therefore, depended on the involvement of the children whether the trees would grow to be healthy and green, or withering and brown. The reward system provided for a T-shirt and participation at the final group trip, if the individual child sustainably arrived to the kindergarten.
Walking line (Pešbus)
Primary school children were encouraged to walk to school. The target group was mainly 2nd and 3rd grades of primary school, who are not allowed to go to school without being accompanied by an adult but are old enough to go to school without their parents. We summarised the concept of the national project Pešbus, which involved children walking to school in organised groups, using a regular schedule, safe routes, and accompanied by adult persons. Five schools expressed their interest in participating.
Everyone on the bicycle, for an active old age
The purpose of the pilot action “Everyone on the bicycle, for an active old age” was to empower and encourage the elderly to use bicycles as a means of transportation and a form of recreation, in order to maintain their physical abilities to use sustainable modes of mobility. The target group were the elderly who were not physically fit to ride a bicycle, but could be prepared by participating in an exercise programme. The project was intended for a group of 15 to 20 participants. The presentation of the pilot action was organised in September 2019 at the Daily Activities Centre in Koper, which includes 1000 members. Thirteen candidates, who attended an initial test, decided to participate.
It was found that their motor skills, muscle strength, and balance were not good enough to safely ride a bicycle on their own. An exercise programme began in October 2019, which included primarily exercises for muscle groups and skills that are important in cycling. After 16 sessions, where participants also practiced Nordic walking, while some already included cycling, final measurements were taken. The progress of the participants was indisputable, and the results would have been even better if the training had been carried out for an extended period.
As a reward, the participants were invited to a final cycling trip with socializing and received European Mobility Week T-shirts.
Walking to Kindergaten
Twenty groups from four kindergartens participated in the project: 6 groups from the Delfino Blu Kindergarten, 3 groups from the Dekani Kindergarten, 1 group from the Primary School Marezige Kindergarten, and 10 groups from the Koper Kindergarten (with its subsidiary Pobegi).
A total of 371 children participated in the project with about 85% actively walking to kindergarten. This percentage varies by age group: in the 4–6 years age group, over 90% of the children were active, whereas only about 70% of the children were active in the 2–3 years age group. To promote and reward participation, we handed out 354 T-shirts for children and 50 T-shirts for kindergarten educators. The kindergarten in Dekani decided to extend the campaign slightly due to their late start; although the concept of the project foresees a limited duration of the campaign, it aims for a long-term change in children’s habits.
Walking line (Pešbus)
A total of thirteen lines have been implemented at five primary schools, with 110 children participating. 100 T-shirts were handed out as a prize for children who participated and 35 T-shirts were handed out to attendants and coordinators at schools. A good promotion of Walking bus was carried out in cooperation with the Koper handball club, when the handball players accompanied the children to school. Free tickets for the handball match were distributed to Pešbus participants.
Based on the observed results of the implementation of the Walking line initiative in the school year 2019/20, the City Municipality of Koper decided to upgrade the concept to implement it in schools as a regular and independent activity to promote sustainable student attendance.
Everyone on the bicycle, for an active old age
The term of the entire project was slightly too short to reach any significant differences in pre- and post-exercise measurement results. Another consequence is also a non-homogeneous group of the elderly, meaning that exercise represents a greater exertion for some than for others. Nevertheless, participants’ feelings and comments about the project were very positive; the group stayed in contact with making daily trips on a monthly or weekly level (depends on the weather).
Thirteen candidates, who attended initial test, decided to participate. It was found that their motor skills, muscle strength and balance were not good enough to safely ride a bicycle on their own. An exercise programme included primarily exercises for muscle groups and skills that are important in cycling. Participants also practiced Nordic walking, while some already included cycling. After 16 sessions, final measurements were taken. The progress of the participants was indisputable, and results would have been even better if the training had been carried out for an extended period. As a reward, the participants were invited to a final cycling trip with socialising.
The term of the entire project was slightly too short to reach any significant differences in pre- and post-exercise measurement results. Another consequence was also a non-homogeneous group of the elderly, meaning that exercise represented a greater exertion for some than for others. Participants’ feelings and comments about the project were very positive; the group stayed in contact with making daily trips on a monthly or weekly level.
Changing mobility habits on the city level: offering citizens timesaving and money saving solutions using public transport was already implemented in previous years. The effect was achieved only in the city. We have learnt that we have to start with the promotion of sustainable mobility with children and the elderly population.
Rewards are important incentives for changing the mobility habits with the point on the right timing of the rewards and the right type of reward.
Children’s greatest rewards were funny and amusing escorts and the socialization effect that happened on the way to school. For younger children, the biggest incentives were trees becoming greener and greener with their impact.
For the employees in public administration, the biggest incentive is timesaving and money-saving aspects.