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A73 – GoWSB: A Smart Mobility Service to Promote Sustainable School Transport

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineMeeting abstract

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Transport and Health
Issue number2 Suppl.
Number of pages2
Pages (from-to)S48-S49
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English



Our EPSRC Digital Economy sustainable school transport project involves the fields of transport, psychology and mobile technology. The delivery of a real-time tracking smart mobility service called ‘goWSB’ enables families to visualise the progression of their child's walking school bus (WSB) towards school. In partnership with school communities, we investigated the extent to which the service benefits the quality of the waiting experience, making sustainable travel more convenient to users. Unlike goWSBs, traditional WSBs run without technology, and involve children walking together to school as a group managed by a coordinator (WSBC). WSBs run according to a timetable to enable families to estimate when their child should join. In contrast, the goWSB innovation relies on users accessing real-time information, enabling families to visually track the goWSB icon on screen from their own home. Using the goWSB app, parents and children track the goWSB as it departs from its starting point and travels along designated stops until it reaches the school. In this way, while the WSBC is being tracked, families can access real-time estimates of the goWSB arrival time at their chosen stop and parents get reassurance of when the WSB arrives at the school. Notably, goWSB involves a shift away from a fixed time schedule associated with traditional WSBs towards offering users a seamless connection. To this end, our research addressed the extent to which users from diverse time cultures would actually tolerate a shift from a fixed-time schedule towards a more flexible one. We also researched into the value of traditional WSBs, as outlined.


Based on studies involving 9173 children, we identified the strength of the evidence base around role of WSBs in children's health. In turn, this enabled us to identify how traditional WSBs could be made more convenient. In addition, our goWSB service intervention was tested in six primary schools involving 43 parents from a range of socio-demographics for up to one month, using experimental vs control condition.


One primary research outcome that individual time ‘culture’ made a statistically significant difference to the perceived quality of waiting time.


The outcome from the trial suggested some types of cognitive temporal perspectives users may be more suited to early adoption than others. However, overall the results indicated support for goWSB service - and to this end, we launch the service.