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  • HomeRun Team

“The Hampstead school run has been unsolvable for 20 years; that’s changing with new tech.”

Q&A with Alessandra Giuliani, mother and campaigner, who helped get HomeRun implemented in five non-catchment schools on eight sites in North London.

What made you start campaigning for a better school run?

I have three children, aged 6, 10 and 12, all of whom are at different schools, so the school run is an important part of our day, and I’m really concerned about traffic congestion and air pollution in Hampstead.


Our campaign group started after a group of parents connected via a local forum, Hampstead Mums. We met in a pub to discuss it every Monday, and then, three years ago, we set up a registered charity, Green School Runs.


We knew many people had tried to improve the situation over the years, the Hampstead School Run has been infamous for decades! But we weren’t sure how we could succeed where they had failed.



How has technology helped?

At the beginning of our campaign, when we met Pooya, the CEO of HomeRun, we realised with the advent of smartphones, technology could be used to help improve the situation.

In terms of the data it allows you to collect, the app has the potential to be a real game changer. It allows us to see where the parents are coming from, and how they are travelling.

Getting access to this kind of information allows interventions to be really targeted, with a much stronger chance of positively affecting congestion levels.


 

HomeRun's benefits are impressive, in terms of data-led solutions to congestion, and community building for schools.Alessandra Giuliani
 

What else is the data used for?

The data also allows you to create a community. If you don’t live near the school you’ve sent your child to, for example, the app allows you to locate other families living near you. You can meet them, get to know them, and if it suits you, you may journey share, either by active travel - walking or cycling - or car-sharing. It can also enable you to track kids who are walking to school independently.


None of this was possible when people started looking at this issue 20 years ago.


How easy is it to get schools to roll out HomeRun?

It varies. We have had more success in schools where we already had a strong relationship, for example, the schools my children go to. They were also already environmentally minded and looking for solutions. If a school is sensitive to environmental issues then HomeRun is an obvious choice.


But not every school was so enthusiastic. Some were reluctant due to their parents already having access to multiple apps and platforms. But they could also see the advantages.

And then there are the schools that don't want to face the problem of the school run. They do the Transport for London hands up survey (when teachers ask their class for a show of hands to indicate which mode of transport they used to get to school that day) and then say: “What more can we do?”


By implementing HomeRun, you get more accurate data, and you can keep track of progress. It enables more accountability, which is not what some schools want.




Will HomeRun solve the school run?

It’s not the solution, but it is one of the tools. First it’s important to ensure that parents are aware of air pollution and the health issues it can cause - that’s key. Once people understand the problem, they are more keen to solve it, and that’s where HomeRun comes in. I think its benefits are impressive, in terms of data-led solutions to congestion and community building for the schools.


 

#SustainableTravel #HomeRunHelps #ReduceCarUsage #AirPollution

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