Sustainable Transport Collaboration

At the beginning of 2017 a friend & colleague of mine who runs the Environmental Club at the school where I work, was invited to be part of a project with the WWF to reduce carbon emissions. The focus of project was environmentally sound changes in school transport. School transport is a major contributer to carbon emissions in the economy and the hope was that this project could generate insight into what changes or shifts could be effected to reduce emissions. I became involved in the project because of my connection to Carynn and my shared values as regards the importance of sustainable societies and preservation of the natural environment. I also felt like I could learn a lot from being involved in the Data Analysis component of the project.

Getting Going
Our first task was to assemble all the those involved for a physical meeting. This happened at WGHS in January 2017 and the main focus was to determine the project goals. The meeting included people from the WWF, WGHS and external parties with specialised Transport knowledge.

First Meeting Agenda 
  • Motivation for and explanation of WWF’s project, and capacity offered
  • List all the transport-related issues at the school and across the four campuses
  • Identify which WWF can help with & prioritise the top three
  • Brainstorm ideas of what could be done about them
  • Plans – checklist of questions for each selected initiative:
  • Who has to be informed?
  • What do we hope to achieve by the end?
  • Who will need to actively participate? How do we best reach and motivate them?
  • What information has to be gathered? How do we determine a baseline?
  • Can any aspects be turned into a project for the learners?
  • How will we monitor progress and outcomes?
  • What are the next steps?

First Meeting Summary Notes (Thanks Dan!)

Pain Points
  • Parking , Congestion (7am-8am and 3-330pm) – start and end of school day,
  • 1 kid in every car
  • Reliability of trains not good
  • Cycling – road safety, crime. To be addressed
  • Kids don’t want to stay at school and wait

Other points made
  • Taxis are used (Wynberg taxi rank)
  • Trains are used
  •  Need for flexibility – multi stop trips.
  •  Walk (some)
  •  Contract with Golden Arrow for bus. School specific – busses not full. Why can’t bus leave later?
  •  There are some busses
  • Do survey on how people travel to school (home location, times come to and leave school)
  • Know the distance learners travel to/from school – Required to calculate emissions.
  • Waves of transport
  • Uber Pool ?
  • Lift clubs can have a great impact
  • School Travel Plan can have a positive impact and form as basis of project
  • Learners should be actively involved in promoting selected interventions among other learners
  • Fun competitions could help increase use of selected interventions
  • An Active Travel month could help encourage learners to try different modes

Interventions/actions to address pain points
  • Survey of modes (distance traveled,  home location, times they leave for school and home)
  • Monitor car occupancy
  • Uber Pool and other potential route planner solutions like WIMT and GoMetro
  • Bus routes + timetables (taxis, trains, GABS, BRT)
  • Cycling and Walking
  • Lift clubs
  • School facilities – hang out
  • Waves of transport
  • Traffic flow
  • Green driving’ training for parents

Problems to overcome
    • Understand demand (homes, times, modes, etc.)
    • Understand what services are available
    • Demand management – spatial
    • Traffic planning
    • Forcing people to not park (shrinking car enablers)
    • Less Private Car use
    • Carpooling (committed to all cars in area and not just 1 car)
    • Increased Public Transport and NMT Use
    • On demand public transport (to the home) – dial a ride sort of service (taxi)
    • Spines and Feeders
First and Last mile
    • Behavioral Change Can be product of marketing different transport options
    • Facilitate ways on behavioral change
    • Commute Log

Next steps
  • WWF to share potential survey questions
  • Launch concept with principal and teachers and SGB
  • Enviro club assembly launch
  • Survey learners to find baseline and decide on which interventions to focus on

After the meeting I was struck by the strong sense of purpose everyone involved seemed to share. I also liked the fact that there was a diversity of views at the table and all seemed to permeate into the discussion. Having the WWF co-ordinate as project leader together with motivated teachers on the ground co-ordinating and gathering information seemed like a good fit for making something happen. The main focus of the first term would be, designing a survey to gather baseline data and then going about collecting that data. From an initial list of questions drawn up by Dan, I set about creating an online survey form for this purpose. I then added what I thought were pertinent questions and circulated the form for feedback. After several rounds of feedback and some helpful advice from a Transport Modeller courtesy of Gerard’s contacts, we had a form we could use. I then set about circulating the form as well as encouraging & persuading learners to fill it in.



After receiving a list of possible questions around school transport from Dan,  I started the process of adding them into a Google Form, so that capturing the survey data would be far easier. I then added what I thought were pertinent questions and circulated the final result amongst our email group for feedback. After that feedback and some additional feedback from someone in Transport Modelling we generated the form below.
Transport Survey that went out to Learners at WBHS & WGHS

Getting Students & Staff to Fill in the Form

The next challenge was to actually get the learners and staff to fill out the form. The main issue was the GPS co-ordinates question as you needed to use an external web tool, which took time. The grades we were most successful with were GR8 & GR9. They have a weekly lesson in the computer room which allowed us a clearly defined time to do the survey. It was much harder to get the GR10-12’s to participate in the survey. All in all, we bugged people for about 4 weeks to get as much Data as we did.

The Results

In the end we managed to collect the following Raw Data. This then needed to be processed for input errors and refined into meaningful Data. The WWF paid for the services of an external firm to do this processing. The results can be seen in the PDF below.


What was the Process used to collect survey data and how the survey was implemented?
Google Forms survey tool – Survey was distributed to learners by school email and then followed up in school messaging systems. Learners filled in the survey on school computers or using their cellphones.


What specific challenges did you come across when collecting survey data – challenges with teachers, children and parents.
Learners were fairly apathetic in filling in the survey , possibly because it was a bit long and it took some effort to complete. Finding time in the school day was difficult too. However if we didn’t find time then , not many would do it in their own time. Teachers were reasonably open to the idea , but didn’t want to give up much time in class. Two of the questions took most of the time. The GPS home question and the distance to school question . They used outside tools and where very necessary but caused the most frustration. If that could be streamlined it would be helpful.


Would you do anything different next time?
Shorter Survey , try to eliminate any questions which didn’t have any value , try to make the GPS and school distance questions easier to do on mobile phone. Don’t leave students to do it on their own time , rather squeeze dedicated slots into a day at school. Rotating learners through the school computer rooms is a helpful strategy if available.


Any tips that will help other schools in the future go through this process?
Buy in at school management level about dedicating the time in the school day to do the survey.

Problems learners had with regard to filling in survey

  • Understanding some of the questions and some did not apply to me.
  • I live at Waterloo Hostel so most of the questions didn’t apply to me.
  • The option to add more than one location that you travel to and from.
  • Some questions were unclear for me to understand.
  • Trying to figure out what to do in the extra navigation links.
  • I didn’t understand some of the questions.
  • Some of the questions confused me.
  • Consider the girls that dont go home after school and go to sport outside of school
  • Some of the questions weren’t very clear and when I pressed the wrong button for whether I took a car, bus or taxi etc. and i tried to change it, it wouldn’t allow me to.



After a long break since our previous meeting , we reconvened for a meeting to discuss the results of the survey. This information had been processed into a report by “The Green House”. The main focus of this report was the Carbon Footprint Calculation and recommendations on how to reduce traffic congestion around the school. We also used this as an opportunity to invite other players who could contribute to the projecting going forward. I found the presentation by uGoMyWay  very interesting , the idea of a Ring fenced (in terms of Wynberg Parents) ride sharing service is certainly an appealing idea, almost like a  modern day equivalent of the traditional school lift club.

Meeting Minutes

Meeting notes: Scholar Transport pilot, Friday 5 May 2017
Presentations presented
  • Survey results and travel patterns
    Dr Brett Cohen, Principal Consultant, The Green House
  • CoCT Travel Demand Management Strategy and Grove “walk to school” experience
    Nicky Sasman, Sustainable Development Facilitator and Project Manager, ‎City of Cape Town
  • Carpooling with uGoMyWay
    Chris Meghan, Co-Founder, uGoMyWay

Open discussion about solutions

  • Has the biggest potential to reduce GHG emissions as 80%+ go to/from school by car and around 50% of survey respondents mentioned carpooling as an alternative
  • Hurdle: We need to get clarity about the TCT Safely to School Guide which mentions that any transport for reward/ profit requires the provider to register and have a PDP.
  • The uGoMyWay system has built in settlement which can be ‘’turned off’’ for this pilot but does not provide a long term solution and does not ideally fit their business model
  • More info on uGoMyWay for schools:
Walking and Cycling
  • Most students within a 3 km radius gets dropped off by car, they could potentially walk per occasion
  • Walking not the best option at Boys school, boys have to always be seen in school uniform even after sports
  • Start culture of walking at early school phase
  • We can look at and learn from Grove ‘’walk to school’’
  • Hardly anyone cycles to school were around 10% mentioned they could alternatively consider cycling.
  • Safety concerns are the most important hurldles to increase NMT

Public Transport
  • We should aim at retaining current public transport users, especially minibus taxis users
  • Busses are not the most efficient option at Wynberg

  • We did not get to discuss Uber at the meeting
  • 40% of survey respondents mention Uber as an alternative
Next Steps
It is clear that we first need school management and the board of governors to ‘’sign off’’ on the proposed solutions before we can go ahead and implement.
  • WBHS and WGHS representatives to help WFF set up the meeting with the Campus Of Schools and ultimately board of governors and assist in the design of proposed solutions to ensure buy-in
  • WWF to prepare a solutions document that can be presented
  • WWF must obtain clarity regarding carpooling reward/ profit hurdle from Lee van den Berg (safe to school and back regulations)

Other information

Proposed outline of the meeting with Campus of Schools
  • Project overview (5min)
  • Outline of data collected (10min)
  • Benefits (5min)
  • Package of solutions (10min)


After the meeting I was left with a real sense of possibility for the project. We have a fantastic diversity  of perspectives and  skills in the group and we all seem focused around the core objectives.
*  Update: We have just managed to schedule a presentation meeting with management and stakeholders from the Wynberg Campus of Schools. The meeting will take place in late August.


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