Paper presented at the 31st Annual Southern African Transport Conference 9-12 July 2012 "Getting Southern Africa to Work", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
This paper reports upon an evaluation of a project demonstrating ‘walking buses’ at
selected schools in a higher income neighbourhood of Cape Town (Rondebosch). A
qualitative ‘after’ survey of (n=16) learners and (n=14) parents was undertaken in order to evaluate the impacts of the initiative. Key findings are discussed in terms of learner travel behaviour prior to, and after, the setting up of ‘walking buses’, and insights into the impacts of ‘walking buses’. The findings suggest that while scheduled ‘walking buses’ may be established with considerable levels of support and enthusiasm from parents and schools, they are difficult to sustain over the longer term. The ‘after’ qualitative interviews indicated that both parents and learners found the ‘walking bus’ experience beneficial, but that the organisational burden of an inflexible, scheduled system was too great. Despite not enduring over the long term, the ‘walking buses’ did however result in some longer term behavioural changes. The majority of participants interviewed in the ‘after’ survey, continued to walk to school independently, whereas previously they were driven to school by car. The paper concludes with a discussion on the implications of the findings for municipalities and schools wishing to promote greater use of walking, and with recommendations on how ‘walking buses’ might be made more sustainable.
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