courtesy, UNESCO

organisation: ARPA Emilia Romagna
country: Italy
product: educational website (on road safety)
distribution: internet

background: in the last decades, urban road traffic has become a high-level danger for human health (with traffic related injuries predicted to become one of the biggest causes of death by 2020) and for the environment.

project: to address this issue and induce people, namely youth, to change their mobility behaviours, GITAS (Giovani Informati su Traffico, Ambiente e Salute – Informed Youth on Traffic, the Environment and Health) has been set up in the Northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.

aim: supported by public authorities and institutions, the project aims at providing high school students with all necessary information, capacities and competences to change local community habits in terms of mobility, hence reducing the impact of traffic on health and the environment. GITAS focuses on young people’s capacity for inducing changes in their families’ lifestyles as well as influencing local decision-makers.

product: a well designed Italian website aimed at raising young people’s awareness about road security and environmental issues. It represents an excellent example for students and public authorities of an informative product rooted in real life experiences (peer-to-peer), a bottom-up approach aimed at fostering students’ sense of citizenship and taking action.

democracy at work: made by students and teachers and addressed to students, the website has been developed as a true direct democracy forum. ‘GITAS’ students are invited to…

  • address their letters to local administrators asking them to foster sustainable mobility measures (e.g. the development of routes reserved for bikes or pedestrians);

  • tell about the consequences of wrong mobility behaviours starting from their real life experiences (“our accidents” section);

  • check their parents driving behaviour and comment about it online (“parents at the wheel”);

  • test their awareness on diverse specific topics (such as a show on how to use scooters);
Moreover, student groups and schools are encouraged to put together their own list of observations and suggestions (“decaloghi” section) concerning what has been done and what could be done to improve traffic management: an inspiring section for local authorities and institutions!

sustainability features: GITAS’ website represents a best practice in the field of youth informative products, which we think could provide inspiration for other students and/or public authorities all around the world. To know more contact the Regione Emilia-Romagna.