At the beginning of 2017 a friend & colleague of mine who runs the Environmental Club at the school where I work, was invited to be part of a project with the WWF to reduce carbon emissions. The focus of project was environmentally sound changes in school transport. School transport is a major contributer to carbon emissions in the economy and the hope was that this project could generate insight into what changes or shifts could be effected to reduce emissions. I became involved in the project because of my connection to Carynn and my shared values as regards the importance of sustainable societies and preservation of the natural environment. I also felt like I could learn a lot from being involved in the Data Analysis component of the project.
Our first task was to assemble all the those involved for a physical meeting. This happened at WGHS in January 2017 and the main focus was to determine the project goals. The meeting included people from the WWF, WGHS and external parties with specialised Transport knowledge.
First Meeting Agenda
- Motivation for and explanation of WWF’s project, and capacity offered
- List all the transport-related issues at the school and across the four campuses
- Identify which WWF can help with & prioritise the top three
- Brainstorm ideas of what could be done about them
- Plans – checklist of questions for each selected initiative:
- Who has to be informed?
- What do we hope to achieve by the end?
- Who will need to actively participate? How do we best reach and motivate them?
- What information has to be gathered? How do we determine a baseline?
- Can any aspects be turned into a project for the learners?
- How will we monitor progress and outcomes?
- What are the next steps?
First Meeting Summary Notes (Thanks Dan!)
- Parking , Congestion (7am-8am and 3-330pm) – start and end of school day,
- 1 kid in every car
- Reliability of trains not good
- Cycling – road safety, crime. To be addressed
- Kids don’t want to stay at school and wait
Other points made
- Taxis are used (Wynberg taxi rank)
- Trains are used
- Need for flexibility – multi stop trips.
- Walk (some)
- Contract with Golden Arrow for bus. School specific – busses not full. Why can’t bus leave later?
- There are some busses
- Do survey on how people travel to school (home location, times come to and leave school)
- Know the distance learners travel to/from school – Required to calculate emissions.
- Waves of transport
- Uber Pool ?
- Lift clubs can have a great impact
- School Travel Plan can have a positive impact and form as basis of project
- Learners should be actively involved in promoting selected interventions among other learners
- Fun competitions could help increase use of selected interventions
- An Active Travel month could help encourage learners to try different modes
Interventions/actions to address pain points
- Survey of modes (distance traveled, home location, times they leave for school and home)
- Monitor car occupancy
- Uber Pool and other potential route planner solutions like WIMT and GoMetro
- Bus routes + timetables (taxis, trains, GABS, BRT)
- Cycling and Walking
- Lift clubs
- School facilities – hang out
- Waves of transport
- Traffic flow
- Green driving’ training for parents
Problems to overcome
- SORT OUT PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- Understand demand (homes, times, modes, etc.)
- Understand what services are available
- Demand management – spatial
- Traffic planning
- Forcing people to not park (shrinking car enablers)
- Less Private Car use
- Carpooling (committed to all cars in area and not just 1 car)
- Increased Public Transport and NMT Use
- On demand public transport (to the home) – dial a ride sort of service (taxi)
- Spines and Feeders First and Last mile
- Behavioral Change Can be product of marketing different transport options
- Facilitate ways on behavioral change
- Commute Log
- WWF to share potential survey questions
- Launch concept with principal and teachers and SGB
- Enviro club assembly launch
- Survey learners to find baseline and decide on which interventions to focus on
After the meeting I was struck by the strong sense of purpose everyone involved seemed to share. I also liked the fact that there was a diversity of views at the table and all seemed to permeate into the discussion. Having the WWF co-ordinate as project leader together with motivated teachers on the ground co-ordinating and gathering information seemed like a good fit for making something happen. The main focus of the first term would be, designing a survey to gather baseline data and then going about collecting that data. From an initial list of questions drawn up by Dan, I set about creating an online survey form for this purpose. I then added what I thought were pertinent questions and circulated the form for feedback. After several rounds of feedback and some helpful advice from a Transport Modeller courtesy of Gerard’s contacts, we had a form we could use. I then set about circulating the form as well as encouraging & persuading learners to fill it in.