SWITCHing in Gdansk: mid-term meeting of the SWITCH project

One week of SWITCH events in Gdansk

On Tuesday 7th March 2015, all partners of the SWITCH project gathered in the beautiful Polish city of Gdansk. The five implementation cities (Gdansk, Donostia/San Sebastian, Vienna, London borough of Hounslow and Antwerp) updated their counterparts and the technical partners on the latest developments in their own campaigns.

The next day, partners had the opportunity to share their experiences and visions on different aspects of the project through several presentations on ICT tools, on apps developed in cities or on health messages.

On Thursday 9th March, almost 30 European cities took part in the “follower cities workshop”. During several workshop sessions, the cities had the opportunity to get familiar with the project and the partners and also to think about their own future campaigns. They therefore learned from the experiences of implementation cities and received some good advice from the technical partners.

The week ended with the Active Mobility Congress of Gdansk on Friday 10th April, where a number of SWITCH stakeholders gave excellent presentations. Technical partners Jim Walker (Walk 21) and Veronica Reynolds (Intelligent Health) as well as Marco Amadori who represented the follower city of Bologna gave presentation on walking, the health benefits of active mobility and the European Cycling Challenge respectively.

And the campaigns?

All five SWITCH campaigns have four common components: they target people in life-change moments, they use PTP (personalised travel planning) methods, they have a strong health message and they use new technologies to make people SWITCH from cars to walking and cycling.

However, they all have their own characteristics, in particular their target groups. In Gdansk and Hounslow, pupils and their families are the main target groups. In these two cities, schools will compete to walk and cycle more. Veronica Reynolds from Intelligent Health insisted on the importance of competition to motivate people to switch to active modes and she highlighted the success of the "Beat the Street" initiative. Because of the particular target group, these campaigns will start at the beginning of the new school year.

Other campaigns were about to start at the time of the meeting. In Antwerp, major road works in the city provide the opportunity to employees of targeted companies to walk and cycle to work. In Vienna, the SWITCH campaign will take place in the framework of the “Year of Walking”. A brand new mobile app which allows to collect virtual diamonds motivates people who recently moved or who received medical advice to switch to active modes. Finally, the city of Donostia / San Sebastian aims at involving as many people as possible in the local SWITCH campaign, starting with newcomers to the city.

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