Jun 30, 2015

Krakow kicks off with kids and Catholics

After outreach efforts in schools and churches, mailings sent out

After a busy preparatory phase, the SmartMove campaign in Krakow sent out its first mailings at the end of June.

SmartMove’s Polish partner, Krakow University of Technology, held several active measures this spring to lay the groundwork for its active mobility consultancy (AMC) campaign. The aim was to raise awareness of sustainable transport before sending out a general information mailing to potential participants. Krakow’s campaign focuses on the Liszki District, a suburban area of some 16,000 residents about 15 km west of downtown. Krakow hopes to involve 500 households in the AMC.

The active measures targeted two highly influential groups: parish priests, an important project stakeholder in a country that’s nearly 90 percent Catholic, and primary school children, known for their powerful influence on parents.

Project implementers provided information about the project and its goals to Catholic clergy, and then, in mid-June, priests in two churches promoted SmartMove during Sunday homilies. Project staff gave out printed materials after mass at one of the churches, including information about an online trip planning tool and maps of cycling infrastructure. The church activities reached approximately 300 families.

University staff also gave presentations in three primary schools, reaching some 210 children and 12 teachers. The aim was to promote sustainable transport to children, not only to influence their own travel behavior, but also that of their parents. When presenters asked the children how they made local trips, most responded “by car.” The presenters told the children about the drawbacks of car travel, including pollution, congestion and road crashes, and then explained how to use bikes and public transport for trips into Krakow city centre.

The project team followed up by attending a school picnic involving more than 200 people, half children, half parents. They distributed SmartMove information materials and several small gifts (fluorescent cycling bands, bike lights, t-shirts and bus-pass holders).

As a next step, in July or August, the university plans to conduct multi-stakeholder audits of walking and bus-stop infrastructure in the Liszki District. This is seen as a major barrier to take-up of public transport, with local bus lines having poor to non-existent sidewalks and bus stops often having no shelters. Representatives of local authorities and schools have agreed to take part in the audits, along with the authority responsible for bus-stop infrastructure. The audits will size up infrastructure from a user’s point of view and then a report will be drafted along with recommendations for improvement.

Krakow will evaluate the effectiveness of its AMC and make a final report around the end of September.