A webinar on sustainable mobility in rural areas
The webinar on sustainable mobility in rural areas was organized by ODRAZ/CIVINET Slovenia-Croatia-SEE Secretariat on September 27, 2021. The webinar marked the European Week of Sustainable Development held throughout Europe, with the aim of achieving better visibility of activities, projects and events that promote sustainable development and the Global Sustainable Development Goals. The webinar, attended by more than fifty participants, covered problems, challenges and activities aimed at improving sustainable mobility in rural areas.
Rural areas are dependent on cars, therefore very motorized, and the availability of certain services (f.e. public transport) for residents is often greatly reduced. Young and older residents have the most problems in their daily commuting. Rural mobility is a social, economic and, ultimately, environmental problem, so it is becoming a priority in future activities.
Aleksandar Lukić, Associate Professor and Head of the Doctoral Study of Geography Department: Space, Region, Environment, Landscape, talked about the typology of rural areas and ‘plurality of rurality’, which indicates that rural areas are heterogeneous and diversified according to different characteristics (natural, demographic, economic, cultural, functional, etc.), therefore there are different theoretical models for their understanding.
Andrej Klemenc, Development Advisor of the Municipality of Borovnica (Slovenia), presented to the participants a good practice of Borovnica related to sustainable rural mobility (f. e. railway as the fastest connection between the municipality and capital Ljubljana and the surrounding international centres, also is a generator of jobs; existing SUMP, etc.).
Ante Klečina, Senior Officer for projects in the field of transport in Varaždin County, explained to the participants what does it mean public transport and integrated passenger transport in rural areas. He showed an examples of local railways, autonomous minibuses, micro and on-demand transport, pedestrian and bicycle paths till public transport, etc.
Laurence Pickup, one of the leading social scientists in traffic planning, coming from Vectos, with the topic ‘Rural Mobility in Europe – Changing Thinking and Language’, commented on the terminology and importance of understanding rural issues across a range of definitions and criteria and moving away from urban planning. Innovative forms of rural transport such as E-hitchhiking are also mentioned, but also already known ones such as volunteer driving, car sharing and car pooling systems. The population is the backbone of rural development and rural mobility policies should be developed from the perspective of the rural population.
Finally, the question arises as to whether rural mobility planning can be achieved despite the lack of a vision for rural transport/mobility, fragmented planning and transport operations, implying the need for future activities to improve this important area for rural inhabitants.
The video of the webinar you can find HERE