A travel app that allows parents to agree car-sharing arrangements has reduced car use to one Hampstead school by almost a third.

HomeRun was created by Hampstead resident Pooya Kamvari and has been working directly with nine schools in Camden's Belsize and Frognal wards to reduce school-related traffic.

The app helps parents plan more sustainable journeys to school by connecting nearby parents to form walking or bike buses, car-sharing and even electric mini buses.

University College School has used the app since 2018, and has seen a 50% reduction in single-family car use and a total reduction in car use by 31%.

It is now hoped that an additional seven schools in the area will join those already participating to reduce congestion even more.

Matthew Kirk, the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Belsize ward, said: “School-run traffic clogs our streets and poisons our air.

“HomeRun has already significantly reduced the number of cars around Belsize - and the impact is growing.

“Children who start at a school where the app has been rolled out are more likely to travel by public transport, bikes or car-share.

“This carries on as they move up through the years - so the positive effects multiply.  We hope that many more schools will join in."

So far some schools in Camden, Barnet, Hertfordshire, Essex, Somerset and Wilthsire have signed up to the app. 

HomeRun hopes that more schools across the country will continue to follow suit, although campaigners admit that not all schools are willing to sign up.

Alessandra Giuliani, campaigner for Green School Runs, a Hampstead-based charity, explained: “Some [schools] don't want to face the problem of the school run.

“By implementing HomeRun, you get more accurate data, and you can keep track of progress. It enables more accountability, which is not what every school wants.”

But the HomeRun founder claims that the app can bring “powerful benefits” if adopted more widely.

So far, HomeRun says that across the nine schools it has worked with in Belsize and Frognal, there has been a 26% reduction in car usage overall by parents signed up to the app.

Pooya said: “We can connect schools through the app, increasing the chances of parents finding suitable matches.

“It will also provide area-wide transport data that can help identify high impact solutions, connecting schools through initiatives such as coach routes, shared mini-buses and taxi-pools, in addition to informing travel planning and transport decisions with the local authorities.

“This step could slash car usage on the school run and transform peak-time congestion across Camden.”