Throughout Europe the challenge of providing a cost effective integrated public transport system is seen as an essential prerequisite to reducing pollution and congestion whilst encouraging sustainable economic growth. The traditional fixed route services is ideal for clustered travel demand areas, but the changing of habitation patterns and nature of work activities in today’s society have created different mobility needs to which the conventional transport has become neither suited nor cost-effective.
In the last few years Flexible Transport Services (FTS) have proved to be an advantageous solution to the provision of public transport services. By providing various forms of intermediate services, FTS are complementary to the conventional passenger transport and usually serve no scheduled mobility needs, either in low demand time periods and in weak demand areas. Given this flexibility FTS are suitable to serve niche market customers and different citizens' groups (e.g. disabled & elderly, students, tourists, etc.).
The FLIPPER proposal addresses a key factor of eco-sustainable and competitive development and social cohesion of European areas and Regions, through the investigation, experience exchange, good practices transferring and profitable co-operation on FTS in relation to mobility in cities, rural areas and small towns. By capitalising on real results, experiences and good practices gained in previous EU site applications and EU Projects (IV-V-VI FP and Regional Cooperation) FLIPPER aims at establishing a Knowledge Transfer Network among different EU areas and Authorithies in the domain of FTS.
Moreover FLIPPER objective is to achieve capability-building environmental, sustainable and innovative solutions in the Public Transport domain by evaluating the viability and real impacts and by gathering the good practices identified at site level.
FLIPPER consortium is composed of 11 partners (Local Authorithies,Transport Operator Companies and Universities) from 9 EU Regions representing different transport/mobility environments. This provides an ideal context for exchanging experiences and good practices on mobility services accessibility, environmentally friendly transport services and for reducing social exclusion of vulnerable citizens' groups.
The work planned in FLIPPER includes the following main activities:
- Exchange and sharing of experience on how to develop and operate FTS through training and visits.
- Consolidation and transfer of good practices by feasibility and trials in FLIPPER sites/areas.
- Promotion of good practices and FTS policy guidelines at local,regional and EU levels.
The project outcomes and durable results include:
- Technological, operational and organisational experiences exchanging on FTS at regional and international level to improve the effectiveness of policies for regional development.
- Cohesion and co-operation.
- Disseminating good practices and establishing a network for improving accessibility.
- Transport services and life quality.
FLIPPER project aims at establishing a knowledge transfer network among different EU areas and Authorithies for FTS. Its objective is to achieve capability-building, environmental, sustainable and innovative solutions in Public Transport domain by evaluating the viability and real impacts and by gathering good practices identified at site level.
FLIPPER officially started, after the proposal final approval (17/11/08), with Kick Off meeting in Bologna (Dec.08), attended by all partners. FLIPPER partners organised and attended 5 Training Courses (TC), 3 Technical Visits (SV), 4 Workshops (WS), 4 Steering Group Meetings (SC) and presented the project to 8 international conferences since the project began in Sept 08.
In Jan 09 “Design of FTS in terms of identification of the area, citizens requirements and involved actors point of view”, was hosted by Purbach and followed by a SV to the DRT operating in the area.
In Febr 09 UNIABDN organised WS1 “European FTS experiences: Role in rural and urban mobility” in Glasgow followed by a technical visit (SV1).
In April 2009 ATAF hosted TC2 “FTS schemes, Dispatching and Booking Technologies” in Florence jointly with the technical visit (SV).
In September 2009 ICF–Insular Council Formentera organized a workshop (WS2) titled “FT services: operation, costs, tender and contracting processes". In this occasion also SC3 was held.
In Nov 09 RAL hosted in Kilkenny TC3 “Managing FTS services in different small urban and rural areas” followed by informal technical visit and internal project meeting.
In March 10 Almada hosted TC4 "FTS Impacts Evaluation and Business Model", WS3" Methods for Demand Analysis and design of FT Services" and SC4.
TC5 "FTS in Urban Area Mobility Schemes", WS4 "FTS Schemes for Environmental Management" and SV3 "DRT Service for People with Disabilities"were held in Volos at the end of June 10.
SC and SV are restricted to FLIPPER partners, while all WS and TC were attended by a wide audience with local authorities and stakeholders too.
For project dissemination partners produced several deliverables and promotion material:“Dissemination plan” (D2); 3 Newsletters (N1-N2-N3); 2 Brochures (B1-B2); posters,stickers,etc.; 4 Press Releases; 18 articles published locally; 1 CD on DRTS and 1 Video by ATL; 1 TV report and DVD by Purbach; 8 Papers submitted and/or accepted with participation to several International Conferences. Moreover 3 paper contributions to books/journals were produced by the Consortium.
FLIPPER official website is working and is constantly updated and maintained, registering a relevant number of contacts showing the interest in the topic dealt by FLIPPER. FLIPPER Virtual Library is now online and UNIABDN issued the Virtual library manual (D4). Partners elaborated the deliverable “Position paper” establishing guidelines for the development of the planned feasibility studies.