Car-sharing at QE up by more than a fifth as parents enthusiastically sign up for environmental app, cutting pollution and congestion

Car-sharing at QE up by more than a fifth as parents enthusiastically sign up for environmental app, cutting pollution and congestion

QE parents and staff have reduced the number of low-occupancy car journeys on the school run after signing up in numbers for a new app aimed at reducing local traffic and cutting CO2 emissions.

It is only six months since the School partnered with HomeRun and launched its app with parents and staff, but already the single-family car usage rate has been cut by 9%, thanks mainly to a 22% increase in journeys shared.

HomeRun’s impact report states that QE families have thus saved some 10 tonnes of CO2 and 22,633 school run miles – equivalent to 481 mature trees or 0.9 trips around the equator.

The high level of participation – the families of 526 pupils have signed up – has unlocked a £1,000 grant to the School from HomeRun. The money is being invested into QE’s Greenpower team, which builds electric racing cars.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “My thanks go to all parents and colleagues who have signed up: this is a real environmental success and a great start to our involvement with HomeRun. As a School, we seek to be good neighbours, and these figures are a ‘win’ both for us and for residents on nearby streets, where there is a reduction in both pollution and vehicle movements.

“Many of our boys already travel to QE on School coaches or on public transport, which we encourage. This app helps people with logistics and can result in reduced fuel costs for car-users, as well, of course, as improving the environment more generally.”

“I know that there is much enthusiasm about the scheme among the families of our new Year 7 intake joining us in September, so there is scope to make even greater savings in the future. I hope that even more parents from other year groups will get involved.”

The scheme seeks to promote more sustainable travel methods, in particular by helping people car-share where they feel that using public transport is not a viable option.

HomeRun collects anonymised data on school run journeys, showing how far pupils travel, what type of transport they use, and how much carbon the journey emits. The app then promotes alternatives to low-occupancy car usage for the school run such as:

  • Journey-sharing
  • Travel buddies
  • Cycling initiatives
  • Park & stride (where families living far from a school are asked to park a ten-minute walk away and then complete their journey on foot, bringing health benefits as well as reducing emissions and local congestion).

Finally, the HomeRun app creates a secure, dedicated space for people to share travel information. Those who opt in can connect with other families in their locality, since the app shows people how far away other users live, without revealing their actual address. It allows the School to update parents when boys will be ready to leave Queen’s Road outside the normal School day – after clubs and activities, for example, or when returning from a School trip.

Mr Enright welcomed the grant, which has gone to QE’s Greenpower racing team: “It is an exciting initiative, which is developing skills in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as nurturing enthusiasm for sustainable technologies among our boys.”

  • The photo of the boys in a car was taken during a trip last term to the Warner Bros studios in Leavesden, when they tried for size the Ford Anglia made to fly by Arthur Weasley in one of the Harry Potter books.