Nov 20, 2015

Community support key in Krakow

Campaign leans on church and municipal support

With solid support from city officials and church leaders, the SmartMove project in Krakow concluded its active mobility consultancy campaign (AMC) relatively early and ahead of target

The AMC in Krakow was aimed at the Liszki District, a suburban area of some 16,000 residents about 15 km west of downtown Krakow. Partners at Krakow University of Technology (CUT) started in the spring, recruiting AMC participants door-to-door, and concluded on July 18 with 508 households taking part, eight ahead of target.

Before the project started, the campaigners knew that support from local Catholic parishes would be key. Churches were one of the first stakeholders contacted and they agreed to distribute fliers about the project to parishioners after Sunday services.

Municipal support was also important, although the mayor had questions about the budget. “When we said the cost is zero, they gave the green light”, said Marek Bauer, a professor at CUT.

The city supported the campaign by posting SmartMove information on the municipal website.

In turn the university agreed to help the municipality with some EU grant applications to improve pedestrian infrastructure in the Liszki District. A lack of sidewalks is a known barrier to public transport use there.

CUT also promoted the project with active measures, including a Family Festival in June, a family event organised by a local elementary school and with talks to elementary classrooms. The school presentations included information on bicycling and other themes deemed relevant to children.

“In our opinion, kids are sometimes better in trip planning than their parents, especially in regard to public transport,” Marek said. “So we should talk to them, as well.”

CUT’s canvassers knocked on nearly 2,000 doors in Liszki before reaching the 508 households. That’s a success rate of about 25 percent, compared to an expected ratio of 5 percent for mailings, Marek noted. The participating households comprise about 13 percent of Liszki’s entire population.

“In my opinion, this is a very, very good sample,” Marek said. “The success rate was maybe because of the support from municipality and the church.”

One result of the household survey is that about 50 percent of residents either use public transport less than once a month or not at all. “Maybe they think the PT service is no good here and they use only their cars,” Marek said.

In the coming months, a follow-up survey of participants will tell, among other things, whether these numbers can be reduced.