KanGo! Bus Amic. The way to go to school in Barcelona, Spain.

The Barcelona’s city hall, in collaboration with two of the main public transportation operators in the city and some private companies, launched in 2015 KanGo!, a project in order to encourage families to let their teenagers go to school by their own means using public transportation. The goal is to reduce the traffic in the neighborhood with the highest density of education centers (40.000 students per day), increase the autonomy of each kid adding safety and confidence, as well as to promote a safe and environmental friendly commute to school.

http://www.citiesofthefuture.eu/

The project consists on a number of volunteers (helpers) situated at the schools’ doors and designated bus stops with a smartphone that using NFC technology reads the information of contactless cards each kid has in their wallet and send a sms notification to their parents, so that provides a peace of mind to them knowing their teenagers are already at school. Another feature is that KanGo! designated stops are properly identified and announced over the PA system on board the vehicles so the kids know where they need to get off.

It is a perfect opportunity to teach the kids how to move around the city and that they incorporate the values of using mass transit in their daily activities. It provides a safe environment if we think about groups of kids –friends- traveling on the same bus, getting off at the same station, checking in with the KanGo! helper and walking the short distance to their schools where they will check in again. It is also a great collaboration between the local government, local communities and private companies that issue the cards and provide the needed technology.

Finally, I would like to express some thoughts about the next possible steps. Taking advantage that a new transit contactless card for Catalonia will be deployed in the next couple of years, it might be a great idea to integrate this system into the transit card, making it not only a fare collector gadget but a useful and endless hub for many kinds of information and urban services, including culture, education or safety.

Links in English:

  1. http://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/seguretatiprevencio/en/noticia/kango-an-app-for-kids-to-go-to-school
  2. http://www.citiesofthefuture.eu/barcelona-encourages-children-to-go-to-school-alone/
  3. http://www.nfcworld.com/2015/05/05/335052/nfc-gets-top-marks-for- helping-barcelona-kids-get-to-school/
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