Students Earn Bonus while Cycling to School in Italy

The project of an Italian public school that improves the grades of students who use the bicycle as a means of transportation has attracted the attention of the residents of the city of Aprilia, 30km from Rome.

Created by a student, the Bike Control program of the Liceu Antonio Meucci high school has a device that, fixed to the students’ bicycle, records the date, time and distance of the course.

In addition, an exclusive system made in partnership with La Sapienza University in Rome calculates the amount of carbon dioxide that is no longer emitted into the atmosphere when the car is replaced by the bicycle.

The idea came more than a year ago, when Lorenzo Catalli, then a senior at the school and now an engineering student, drove to school with his father.

“Stopping in traffic, we wondered how much pollution we would stop producing if most of the students went to school on a bicycle, not a car,” he told the BBC.

“After conducting the sensor design with my father, I introduced him to one of my teachers and soon had the support of the school board to implement it.”

‘Frequent Use’

Lorenzo Catalli Had The Idea Of ​​The Program When He Was In Traffic

To earn points, students must use the bike at least 3 or 4 times a week. “Being able to quantify one’s contribution to the environment is rewarding, but what is important is not the number of kilometers traveled, but the frequent use of the bicycle,” Catalli said.

Through the evaluation system of Italian schools, in addition to scores obtained in written and oral tests, high school students count on the “training credit”, a score obtained with the practice of extracurricular activities and that integrates the final average necessary to overcome The State Examination, which is indispensable for the study of higher education.

The director of the school, Antonio Perrone, tells the BBC that the main objective of the program is to make students aware of the ecological relevance of using the bicycle instead of the car. And offering a reward can help.

“For students, it’s important because they earn points that are worth passing the exam,” says Perrone

“The students already have a variety of activities that can be carried out to form the training credit, such as volunteer work, artistic activities, language study. For the first time, the use of the bicycle for its ecological value has become a from them.”

Scholarships

Cotrole Of Distance Traveled Is Made By Equipment Installed In The Bicycle

Cyclists’ course data are entered into a computer and published monthly through a website with the rank of students participating in the program. In April 2005, the highest-scoring student had pedaled for more than seven hours in a month, totaling almost 120 kilometers.

The initiative won the support of the city, which finances the production and installation of the devices on bicycles and intends to extend the project to other public and private institutions.

“Starting next year, we will reward the three students who accumulate more points with scholarships worth 300, 200 and 100 euros,” says the director.

“We are forming a group of volunteer students who will insert the data in other schools,” the secretary of the Environment, Alessandra Lombardi, told the BBC.

“In addition, we are studying with some supermarkets in the city incentive mechanisms for both customers and employees, who can earn points and get discounts on purchases based on the use of bicycles.”

Several stores and motorcycle maintenance services in the city have already joined the initiative, starting to offer prizes, such as tires, cameras, mittens, to the students participating in the program.

During the first year of the project, more than one tonne of carbon dioxide was no longer emitted into the atmosphere thanks to the project of the Antonio Meucci High School.

“We are the only city in Italy doing this type of measurement and  Cyclingwe want to take our experience to other cities,” says Lombardi.

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