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Article

Developing Sustainable and Flexible Rural–Urban Connectivity through Complementary Mobility Services

1
Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research, 1030 Vienna, Austria
2
Regional Management of the Metropolitan Area of Styria, 8010 Graz, Austria
3
Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham GL50 4AZ, UK
4
Oikos, Sustainable development Inc., 1241 Kamnik, Slovenia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Gibbs
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1280; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031280
Received: 10 December 2020 / Revised: 20 January 2021 / Accepted: 21 January 2021 / Published: 26 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Sustainable and Innovative Development in Rural Areas)
Transport can play a key role in mitigating climate change, through reducing traffic, emissions and dependency on private vehicles. Transport is also crucial to connect remote areas to central or urban areas. Yet, sustainable and flexible transport is among the greatest challenges for rural areas and rural–urban regions. Innovative transport concepts and approaches are urgently needed to foster sustainable and integrated regional development. This article addresses challenges of sustainability, accessibility, and connectivity through examining complementary systems to existing public transport, including demand-responsive transport and multimodal mobility. We draw upon case studies from the Metropolitan Area of Styria, Ljubljana Urban Region and rural Wales (GUSTmobil, REGIOtim, EURBAN, Bicikelj, Bwcabus, Grass Routes). In-depth analysis through a mixed-methods case study design captures the complexity behind these chosen examples, which form a basis for analysing the effects of services on accessibility for different groups, connectivity to public transport and usability as a “first and last mile” feeder. We further explore the weaknesses of complementary transport systems, including legal, organisational and financial barriers, and offer potential solutions to structure and communicate complementary transport systems to improve access and use. Looking ahead, we use the case studies to anticipate innovative, sustainable “mobility as a service” (MaaS) solutions within and between urban and rural areas and consider how future public policy orientations and arrangements can enable positive change. A main concern of our article and the contribution to scientific literature is through exploring the benefit of well-established multi-level governance arrangements when introducing smaller-scale mobility solutions to improve rural–urban accessibility. It becomes clear that not a one-size-fits-all model but placed-based and tailored approaches lead to successful and sustainable concepts. View Full-Text
Keywords: public transport; mobility; rural–urban; sustainable transport; multimodal mobility; micro-public transport; complementary mobility public transport; mobility; rural–urban; sustainable transport; multimodal mobility; micro-public transport; complementary mobility
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bauchinger, L.; Reichenberger, A.; Goodwin-Hawkins, B.; Kobal, J.; Hrabar, M.; Oedl-Wieser, T. Developing Sustainable and Flexible Rural–Urban Connectivity through Complementary Mobility Services. Sustainability 2021, 13, 1280. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031280

AMA Style

Bauchinger L, Reichenberger A, Goodwin-Hawkins B, Kobal J, Hrabar M, Oedl-Wieser T. Developing Sustainable and Flexible Rural–Urban Connectivity through Complementary Mobility Services. Sustainability. 2021; 13(3):1280. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031280

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bauchinger, Lisa, Anna Reichenberger, Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins, Jurij Kobal, Mojca Hrabar, and Theresia Oedl-Wieser. 2021. "Developing Sustainable and Flexible Rural–Urban Connectivity through Complementary Mobility Services" Sustainability 13, no. 3: 1280. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031280

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