Integrated mobility concepts for rural areas considering organisational structures and cooperation
Changes of the settlement structures as well as current and future mobility needs need to be taken into account when adapting the transport system. The situation of rural areas is particular and in some regards different to urban areas. The traditional public transport system in rural areas is facing great challenges to further ensure the accessibility of public services like schools, medical treatment, etc. Fixed timetables and routes, perhaps also big standard busses are no longer in line with the demand structures. This development is particularly challenging where the population is in decline for decades, and its perspective will continue. In terms of age, these areas show furthermore a growing proportion of elderly people in parallel to a decrease of school transportation and commuter traffic. Additionally, the financial resources for the public transport, especially scope of local authorities, are shrinking and have a more and more uncertain perspective concerning the restrictions relate to the “debt brake” and funding from federal budget (important sources like “Entflechtungsgesetz”/ unbundling law). As a result of budget restraints for the transport system and the public transport in particular, users could be asked for a higher contribution or to accept further reduction of the service level. In order to ensure future mobility options for all people in rural areas with weak demand between these poles, integrated and innovative mobility concepts have to be developed. Resource efficient structures of both individual and public systems can only be achieved by a coordination and cooperation of different organisations across administrational borders and system boundaries (e. g. municipalities, district administration and regional planning authorities, partially also across national borders).
In recent years, a range of innovative mobility services has been developed in many places. These mobility services correspond to the requirements and conditions of low demand areas, but each service needs to be evaluated with regard to the specific features. Innovative mobility solutions from other countries are taken into account as well, but need to be checked if fitting into the given legal system. The spectrum of mobility services includes flexible and demand-orientated transport services, systematic ride sharing, shared car ownership and extended means of the bicycle traffic (e. g. pedelecs, e-bikes, intermodal connections).
The research project aims for a further development of the existing services in the model regions Oderland, Peenetal-Loitz and Spessart. Thus, innovative approaches for integrated mobility concepts will be developed that are also sustainable on the long run. Therefore, all relevant stakeholders are involved, local initiatives to be integrated – however very small-scaled. Existing data, practical experience, plans and concepts are evaluated with regard to their compatibility. The potential of concepts with contrasting measures as well as obstacles of implementation are identified. For these concepts, the organisational framework and the legal compatibility are assessed either. In close cooperation with the regional stakeholders, these concepts are further developed more in detail for. Furthermore, their transferability is examined, and all possible measures are described in profiles.