Better transport for better rural living

Mobility based only on cars produces a huge variety of problems, both in urban and rural areas of Europe. Rural areas face ageing population and general depopulation. EU project RUMOBIL wants to tackle this problem by collecting knowledge for setting up feasible rural public transport solutions. Based on best practice examples, these solutions should help European regions to increase mobility and simultaneously citizens’ quality of life. 

Studies show that frequent, affordable and comfortable public transport is the key to preserve rural regions practically from disappearing. Europe and national states have invested a lot in intercity lines and high-speed rail while neglecting public transport in areas outside of the urban centres. Many European regions cancel more and more train and bus lines in small settlements every day under excuse they are not feasible. At the same time they deteriorate the mobility of rural population. Young people often move to bigger cities while elderly, which are staying, get less mobile and more socially excluded. This affects rural economies like agriculture and small enterprises which causes irretrievable damage to the entire regions and societies. Interestingly, a small number of European rural regions do already have successful and functional railways, bus lines and on demand taxies that offer good mobility.

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But transferability of such practices is very rare due to many reasons. Very often decision makers and citizens are not aware that such practices even exist. This is where RUMOBIL steps in. Making Europe wide knowledge on how to make feasible public transport in rural areas based on functional good practice examples is the RUMOBIL’s main goal. The project will, besides forming transport strategic inputs for 8 regions in 7 European countries, carry out 8 pilot activities that will practically improve public transport in those same 8 regions.

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RUMOBIL’s partner consortium is consisted of public authorities, transport agencies, universities and NGOs. The first meeting where partners discussed the details of their three-year long cooperation took place on 15 & 16 September 2016 in Nyíregyháza and Nagykálló, Hungary.

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The meeting’s first day took place in Nagykálló and was opened by the town’s Mayor, Juhász Zoltán, and Wilfried Köhler, RUMOBIL’s Head of project and representative of the Ministry for Regional Development and Transport of Saxony-Anhalt (Lead Partner). After the opening activities partners already started working on thematic surveys with the series of well organised workshops.

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The next day, the project’s Steering Group was officially constituted and partners had a chance to learn more about the organisation and management of the Szábolcs-Szetmár-Bereg County’s public transport and the role of the public bus company Volán.

The next partner workshops take place in Zagreb (HR; March) and Žilina (SK; June).

RUMOBIL team/Ante Klečina

Photo credits: Ante Klečina 

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