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Green and Inclusive Regional Mobility Solutions: key learnings

By Platform
A bridge surrounded by nature

On 7 March 2024, the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform held an e-workshop on the topic of Green and Inclusive Regional Mobility Solutions, exploring good practices from Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Rural areas frequently suffer from a lack of public services and face distinct challenges compared to urban areas, including less access to opportunities, and greater challenges for connectivity and infrastructure.

This includes the provision of sustainable and public transport, with many people instead relying on private cars. Many rural areas also play a recreational role, with high levels of tourism, which can also lead to an influx of vehicles.

Rural areas across Europe have explored how to decarbonise their transport sectors and increase inclusivity and connectivity with innovative approaches to public transport and vehicle sharing.

During this workshop, we heard good practices from the SMAPE, CYCLING WATERWAYS and PROMOTER projects, as well as from participants from the Peer Review held in November 2023 on demand-responsive transport in Saarland.

Workshop recording

Explore the recording of the online workshop below. 

Workshop agenda

The workshop was designed and moderated by Katharina Krell and Simon Hunkin, Thematic Experts for Connected Europe. 

00:58 Introduction to the workshop and topic by Katharina Krell and Simon Hunkin,, Thematic Expert for Connected Europe

Session I - Enhancing sustainable mobility in rural areas

00:16:02 Presentation by Jeffrey Matthijs from Autodelen.be, Belgium on shared mobility in rural regions (SMAPE

00:25:20 Q&A: What are the implications of insurance? 

00:27:10 Q&A: What about the business model? What to charge to the users, so that it works financially? 

00:28:26 Q&A: How do you lower the usage threshold for older people? (who are over proportionately present in rural areas compared to urban areas)

00:30:21 Q&A: What is the percentage of e-mobility in the fleet? 

00:31:35 Presentation by Pr. Riccardo Palma and Irene Ruiz from Politecnico di Torino, on the potential of cycling in connecting rural areas

00:45:26 Q&A: Who is responsible for such a cycling network 

00:47:59 Presentation by Massimiliano Petri from Livorno Province on the Good-Go platform to serve tourists and residents in low-density regions (PROMOTER

Session II - Demand-Responsive Transport for Rural Areas

01:05:15 Interview of Christian Ramelli from the Saarland Ministry for the Environment, Climate Protection, Mobility, Agriculture and Consumer Protection on demand-responsive transport in Saarland, by Thorsten Kohlisch, Lead Manager, Policy Learning Platform

01:21:14 Q&A: Are you planning a specific communication about the offer to the citizens?

01:24:54 Presentation by Albert Guillaumes Marcer from Generalitat de Catalunya's road public transport, on shared mobility in rural regions 

01:37:19 Q&A: DRT is highly loss-making, is it even worse performing with public transport or is it comparable? 

01:38:15 Q&A: Are facing any skills shortages? 

01:39:51 Presentation by Nuno Pomar, from the Intermunicipal Community of the Region Coimbra, who will provide the example of the Coimbra Sit Flexi - a DRT in very thinly populated areas 

01:52:12 Q&A: Have you evaluated the service cost for each user?

01:53:40 Q&A: Is this service connected or promoted in the National coach service that serves the region (Rede Expressos, Flixbus...) in order to create some synergies? Or this is out of the scope?

01:54:51 Q&A: Which are the DRT solutions that are most economically viable, Taxis or dedicated mini-buses? 

01:57:42 Q&A: Are you doing regular evaluations and how do you do it? 

02:00:03 Plenary and conclusions: what are the most interesting things are you taking home? 


Key learnings

  • Rural regions face several specific challenges to providing inclusive and sustainable mobility. Participants noted challenges of infrastructure, distance, low population density and lack of critical demand, lack of skilled workers, infrequency of service and difficult business models as key issues to be overcome.