Sparsely populated rural areas in Europe are facing tremendous social changes due to shrinking and ageing populations. Because of the scattered settlement structure in these areas, the public transport network density is low and service frequency is often poor. The problems are exacerbated by increasing private car use, which, in a vicious circle, leads to further reductions in services. Even where an attractive public transport offer exists, it is often perceived negatively. However, simple tools such as direct marketing and minor adjustments to scheduling can help change people’s perceptions.
SmartMove promotes the use of public transport via active mobility consultancy (AMC) campaigns. In this type of direct marketing campaign, current and potential passengers are provided with customised information via various communication channels. However, AMC campaigns do more than merely provide information: interaction with citizens is ensured through events, personal consultancy and on-site assistance. Eight rural and peripheral regions in Europe prepare, implement and evaluate a local “active mobility consultancy” campaign. This will give public transport operators an insight into the demands of current passengers and the views of those who do not use public transport. If it is shown that the non-use of public transport is caused by hard facts – the location of bus stops or inconvenient timetables – transport operators will be able to adapt their services in order to attract new passengers and ensure they retain existing users. The goal is to shift journeys currently undertaken by car to other, more sustainable means of transport. This will lead to a substantial decrease of greenhouse gas emissions caused by road traffic.
The key outputs of the SmartMove project will be:
- A demonstration of AMC campaigns in the eight implementing regions, including all aspects from planning and preparation to implementation and evaluation
- The further development of AMC campaigns, taking into consideration hot issues such as demographic change and public transport feeder systems (“first rural mile”)
- Intensive training and knowledge transfer between the SmartMove partners via training seminars, site visits and guidance materials
- The facilitated uptake of AMC campaigns by external practitioners via take-up seminars and a dedicated e-learning scheme that includes video lectures and webinars accompanied by easy-to-read guidance documents and comprehensive information for implementers available on the project website