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Awareness raising activities for cycling in Varna. Bulgaria

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By News Editor / Updated: 29 Aug 2014

As part of the ADDED VALUE project a variety of promotional activities were carried out, with the aim of promoting a newly constructed 10km cycle path in Varna. These included various information activities, including surveys, competitions and information materials, which all involved the active participation of local students.

Background & Objectives

The rapid development motorized transport in Bulgaria during the last decades has resulted in number of negative effects, including rising air and noise pollution, increased incidence of road traffic accidents and traffic congestion. The city of Varna experiences these problems more severely, as the population of the city has been grown from 350,000 to more than 500,000 inhabitants just in few years, and during the tourist season the number of inhabitants doubles. Due to these factors and the associated increase in the numbers of cars travelling within the city, both local residents and tourists both suffer from the inevitable health and environmental problems that are associated with this trend.To link with the wider priorities of the General Development Plan of Varna which aims to facilitate the development of eco-friendly infrastructure as well as solving the city’s transport problems, the municipality introduced a new cycle path on 2007. Prior to this there were no dedicated cycle paths within the city. The aim of this campaign was to promote the new cycle path and encourage people to take up cycling, focusing on young people in the city.

Implementation

Two main target groups were selected for participation in the project;
  • Students were the main target group as they were deemed as the most potentially likely group to own and use the new cycle path.
  • Teachers were also targeted as they were able to promote the wider sustainability aspects of the project to students, and also help motivate them to take up cycling.
More than 2,100 students in 20 schools In Varna were recruited and participated in face-to-face interviews. Throughout the interviews students were asked to describe the transport problems they experienced in the city and give their opinions on how best to promote the new cycle path, and cycling in general>Based on these interviews, it was decided to implement a campaign to inform and promote the use of sustainable transport modes to both students and other local residents, although focusing on the promotion of cycling and the new cycle path. As a result;
  • 4 types of dissemination materials highlighting the benefits of cycling and use of the bicycle path were designed, printed out and disseminated in the schools;
  • 40 teenagers were trained to promote cycling to their peers at information days held at the different schools. Each school appointed two students to attend a two hour training session, which covered cycle safety, sustainable mobility in Varna, and details of the new cycle path. The students were selected voluntarily, according to their personal interests and attitude to the issue.
  • A set of Information points and information days were organized. In total information points were introduced at 20 schools and several city centre locations which provided information on cycling and sustainable travel. 5 information days were also organized in 20 secondary schools.

Results and conclusions

The main results and conclusions of the campaign were;
  • Information on sustainable transport modes and the new cycle path was disseminated to more than 555,000 local residents, both directly and indirectly;
  • More than 2,100 students were directly involved in the campaign and made aware of the new cycle path and benefits associated with cycling, as well as inputting into the development of the promotional materials;
  • Based on a before and after survey, students’ awareness of the new cycle path, the concept of sustainable mobility, and the benefits of cycling rose from 39% to 61% following the campaign;
  • It was estimated that following the campaign approximately 22% of participants have made a positive modal shift to more sustainable transport means, including cycling.
Country: 
Bulgaria
City: 
Varna
Author: 
Milena Nalbancheva
Keywords: 
measures - awareness raising
measures - campaigns
MM for schools
22 Nov 2010
29 Aug 2014
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