The aim of the initiative System innovation for active school journeys, is to develop a new scalable method to increase the proportion of journeys to school by walking, cycling and other means of transportation that involves physical activity to and from school. A change in travel habits has great potential for an extensive positive effect on the climate and children’s health. The goal is to spread the method and to make it available to all elementary schools in Sweden, starting with Skåne.
The proportion of children in Sweden who are physically inactive has increased dramatically in the last 30 years. At the same time, fewer children are actively getting to school with means of transportation that involve physical activity such as walking, cycling, skating, and scootering. Depending on the season, 48% of children between ages 6-15 walk or bike to school, compared to 97% in the 1980s. This is largely due to more people using cars as a means of transportation. The increase in carpooling results in consequences for the climate, in the form of carbon dioxide and particle emissions. Furthermore, in public health there is a reduction of physical activity, which in turn contributes to increased mental and physical illness. Therefore, a decisive effort is required to reverse the trend of children’s trips to and from school. A change in travel habits has great potential for an extensive positive effect on the climate and children’s current, as well as future, health.
BRINGING TOGETHER SOLUTION PROVIDERS
The school is not solely responsible for the travel behaviors that have arisen and, in the same way, is not the sole provider of solutions. To achieve a change in norms, a system change is required. It needs to be done by bringing together solution providers and breaking new ground via a cross-border systematic ways of working which is simple and straightforward. In collaboration with Trivector Traffic, Innovation Skåne wants to pave the way and concretely show how a complex system change can be carried out, spread, and scaled up. One of the most important goals of the investment is to create a long-term change. In order to achieve that, a diversity of different solution providers and stakeholders are involved in the project from start to finish.
In an innovation process, several existing initiatives will be combined and supplemented. The current state of knowledge will then be made available in a norm-creative method for an increased proportion of active school journeys. The method, based on needs collected via innovation guilds, will at the end of the project period be applied in four elementary schools (between ages 6-12) in Skåne and result in the increased percentage of children who walk or cycle to school by 50%.