Started in May 2018, SMARTA – Sustainable shared mobility interconnected with public transport in European rural areas (developing the concept of ‘smart rural transport areas’) is a two-year European-funded project which aims to understand the current relevance and future potential of on-demand and shared mobility services integrated with public transport in the European rural areas.
On January 30 & 31st, 2019, SMARTA held a stakeholders’ workshop in Brussels, to which SIMRA participated, and which was the opportunity to exchange good practices. These good practices ranged across a wide variety of themes, from intermodality to on-demand services, without forgetting e-bikes and other electric transportation modes. These good practices show how integrated, inclusive, accessible, affordable and flexible can exist and how they can be transferred.
Some good practices were particularly adapted to mountain areas and are described hereafter. To find out more about other good practices, SMARTA will soon publish an online database, and in the meanwhile, you can (re)discover the 51 good practices identified by the Interreg IV C Move on Green project.
– The Alpine Bus in Switzerland: In Switzerland, public transport serves a large part of the country. However, there are gaps, particularly in mountain regions. Places with fewer than 100 inhabitants do not receive financial support for regional traffic. Thus, attractive tourist destinations cannot offer a public transport service to their guests and suffer from congestion caused by individual motorised traffic. The Alpine Bus Association promotes public transport in Swiss mountain regions that are not eligible for compensation for this service. For instance, on Sundays and on general public holidays, the Alpine Bus takes its passengers from the end of the public transportation system up onto some natural parks, and ideal starting points for family-friendly walks.
– Badenoch & Strathspey Community in Scotland: Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport Company is a registered charity set up in 1999 to support the transport needs of the local community. They aim to provide affordable accessible transport for people living in a rural area, where public transport is very scarce. For instance, their Car Scheme is a car sharing scheme with volunteer drivers using their own cars to take clients to and from a destination of their own choice. To become eligible for the scheme, you must have no transport of your own and be unable to access public transport for whatever reason. Drivers are paid a mileage rate which is non-profit making and under car sharing legislation, so should not affect their car insurance
– Train with stops on demand from Lleida to la Pobla (Spanish High Pyrenees) is a good practice from the Interreg Europe LAST MILE project: The train with stops on demand connecting Lleida to La Pobla was launched to develop a sustainable tourist model and to facilitate mobility for inhabitants. The train with stops on demand improve the flexibility and efficiency of the service, to access to the rural areas with tourist interest and to complete the last mile using an alternative transport mode different to the private car.
Rural areas are always forgotten by central governments. So it is important to develop alternatives to common transport, as you described in this article. Sustainable mobility is important not only in big cities but also in small towns, like the ones in mountain regions.