The project "Let's go to school with friends. PEDIBUS in Milan" is included in the education offer of the City of Milan (Italy) for the city’s primary schools. This initiative aims to promote environmentally friendly behaviours, discouraging car use, especially along the paths to and from school and encouraging the autonomy and self-confidence of the pupils. The project could impact the movement of approximately 67.000 children in Milan.
PEDIBUS is a "walking school bus", ideated to encourage “walking mobility” in the journey from home to school. Children enrolled in the PEDIBUS programme are organised in small groups, led by grandparents and volunteers who accompany them from home to school following itineraries certified by traffic policemen: the "walking bus lines”, with proper stops and terminus.
The PEDIBUS project involves both children and adults, raising awareness on issues of environmental protection, road safety education and knowledge of the territory. It is a real opportunity to start a debate on slow mobility enhancing the accessibility of the city to everyone, especially to children. PEDIBUS also aims to reduce car traffic during morning rush hours, replacing individual parents’ using their cars to take children to school and providing a good example of an "eco-friendly" and healthier lifestyle.
PEDIBUS is also part of a larger “spending review” that aims to offer low-cost social services to families: this service is based on volunteer work and the enrollment is free of charge. PEDIBUS is meant to encourage a more economically sustainable way of moving within the urban space, cutting to a large extent the costs of school buses running and maintenance without diminishing children safety and public assistance.
Which are the advantages of PEDIBUS? On the website of the city of Milan there is a long list of good reasons, here there are some:
For parents: Time-saving: no longer need to bring their children in front of the school door; Money-saving: the service is free and based on volunteer work;
For children: Healthy: Children go to school on foot and have the opportunity to enjoy physical exercise. Fun: During the walk children are involved in games, singing and always receive big smiles from other pedestrians;
For the neighbourhood: Environmentally-friendly: it does not pollute and lowers the concentration of CO2 near the school; Traffic: it lightens the traffic congestion at local level, improving the quality of mobility.