So this stage of the Knee High Design Challenge has brought with it lots and lots of conversations for Leapfrog Bus. We have spoken with a range of different organisations (including big companies, local authorities, charities and academics), and most importantly, local families to help figure out what Leapfrog Bus will do to improve the health and wellbeing of under-fives and how it can be realised.
The first major destination on the Leapfrog journey was Southwark Council’s transport planning department. We discussed particular areas in Southwark where a family-friendly bus is most needed. Some buses in the borough are extremely overcrowded.
The next big stop was Transport for London. Our conversation with them was to help us understand where and how Leapfrog could operate amongst all the regulations and rules that apply to public transport. Following these discussions, we are confident that Leapfrog can be delivered within the existing system in London.
A key part of the Leapfrog Bus proposal is to re-design the inside of a bus, to make more room for buggies. This would allow parents travel comfortably with other parents in the community. We also want to make changes to the interior to make it a stimulating environment for children. The aim of making these key changes was to make the space engaging for both parents and children. These aspects will feature as part of our longer term vision, but first we want to make sure that using a bus works as a social setting for families. A visit to Snook helped us to focus on what we can achieve, starting small, but seeing the potential for growth.
Over the last couple of weeks we have been speaking to families in Peckham and Dulwich about the current highs and lows of their bus journeys. This was to help us better understand how Leapfrog Bus can improve their experience. We then took the Leapfrog service concept to get some feedback from families at Rotherhithe Children’s Centre in Southwark Park, where it was well received.
Ultimately, we want to provide positive travel experiences for families, encourage connections between parent and child, as well as parent and parent, and build and enhance social and geographical connections in the wider community.
Really encouragingly, we have had tremendous support from Stagecoach London and are currently planning a trial Leapfrog Bus adventure in a couple of weeks! We want to see what may work and to begin to understand the impact of the service on the health and wellbeing of local families.