Middle-sized cities across Europe struggle with the financial sustainability of public transport. In Eastern Europe public transport is losing ground in favour of the car – the city of Szeged in Southern Hungary faces a steady decline in public transport usage despite significant infrastructural developments.
There is increasing pressure on the Municipality’s Public transport expenditure because state contributions are decreasing and ticket sales are dropping both in numbers and value. Public transport systems are slow to respond to changes in travel patterns so data-based design is key to optimising the system to handle the highly changeable usage and to satisfy the needs of citizens. The city of Szeged aims to keep and increase the sustainability of its public transport system by attracting car users to use public transport through smart fare strategies.
The SASMob project built a data-driven and responsive IT-system through the partnership of public entities, private businesses and transport providers in Szeged to progress towards environmentally friendly urban mobility. The project aimed to encourage cross-sector cooperation between businesses and the city of Szeged to co-design and tailor sustainable commuting solutions for employees, the biggest car-dependent mobility group. It developed a data management process to analyse the complex urban mobility behaviour through data collected by smart phone applications which will be called the SASMob Response.
Three unique, innovative actions were implemented during the project:
- A first of its kind governance system in the EU was set to achieve private sector’s commitment for low environmental impact mobility, called the Employers Mobility Pledge of SASMob. It was a strong contractual scheme with measurable performance commitment from employers.
- Assemble an overarching toolbox for behavioural change campaigns, by bringing excellent European practices under one umbrella.
- A cutting-edge mobility tracking system was built to optimise transport planning, using a patent of Szeged Technical University.