This project addresses both the ACCESSIBILITY issue and the intensification of inter-regional relationships in relation to the transport of passengers, and the consortium is willing to take on the role as THE strategic project for ACCESSIBILITY.
The main objectives of START are:
- To improve the accessibility of regions and the interconnection of passenger transport networks; and
- To establish a transnational network of regional and local authorities and other actors to promote enhanced accessibility.
The specific objectives of START are:
- To make it easy for people to travel to, from and around Europe using a combination of local public transport and inter-regional transport services;
- To design and develop high-quality information services for travellers that are accessible for all;
- To design and develop easy to use advanced ticketing systems;
- To design and develop high quality, easy to use and convenient public transport services; and
- To establish the INTEGRA concept for seamless travel as a recognised, sustainable and well used product across Europe.
The increase in demand for travel has led to a rapid growth in interregional transport services such as high speed train services, passenger ferry operators and, in particular, low-cost airlines. Unless the growth in inter-regional travel capacity and demand is matched by developments in local public transport systems, additional strain will be placed upon local transport networks across Europe. Within the overall context of an efficient and sustainable transport system, it is vital that the information provided at transnational terminals is improved along with the local transport connections to the terminals themselves. The main objectives of START were to improve the accessibility of regions and the interconnection of passenger transport networks and the establishment of a transnational network of regional and local authorities and other actors to promote enhanced accessibility within the AA. To accomplish the objectives the project implemented the means to make it easy for people to travel to, from and around the AA using a combination of local public transport and inter-regional transport services, designing and developing high-quality information services for travellers, developing easy to use advanced ticketing systems and establishing a common brand and concept for seamless travel as a recognised, sustainableand wellused product within the AA. For that purpose, START adopted the INTEGRA brand, an information system easily recognised by travellers developed under the Interreg IIIB Partner project.
The main outcomes from the INTEGRA brand were a web portal (www.integra-travel.eu) that aims to provide information and support to travellers in the AA using collective transport modes and also easy recognisable signage, multilingual and accessible at key regional gateways. In this context, the project transformed the prototype portal into a source of sustainable product information for travellers, providing links with other regional websites and with information about transport. The portal's development as a platform for public transport information was continued by extending its scope to address specific needs of different users, such as younger or disabled people or implementing the latest information technology variants, which have been successful in the use of real-time information in Smartphone applications and smart ticketing systems.
This infrastructure, information and systems rolled out during START are used by travellers using collective transports in the participating regions of the project. Various cities, local authorities and transport operators have expressed interest in the INTEGRA concept and portal. A series of reports on the activities and recommendations are provided, facilitating the process of adherence of other cities and regions of the AA and especially the possibility to contribute to the broadening of the INTEGRA concept and related products.