Partners from the Move on Green (MOG) consortium assembled in Larissa from 27 to 30th of May 2013 for three days of field and indoor work on sustainable mobility in sparsely populated rural and mountainous areas.
An old train, transport on demand and cable lifts
The workshop was first the occasion for Greek partners from Thessaly region to present their practices and current initiatives in the field of rural mobility. The consortium was invited to take the old train line that has been renovated to take tourists from a cute station in the downland country side up to the Mount Pelion mountain, through magnificent mountain landscapes covered with olive trees overlooking the sea. Ressembling other such initiatives implemented in diverse parts of Europe, this is initiative provides an alternative to cars for tourists to visit the area. It also allows some stops over heritage sites such as an olive oil museum and typical mountain villages.
In the city of Milies where the consortium arrived, two other practices were presented, one in relation with ICT-based optimisation of transport-on-demand within a 7 km perimeter from transport nodes applied to the Larissa-Volos dipole. A second practice was still at project stage : elected representatives and development agencies are reflecting on the possibility to link the top of Mount Pelion by telepherique to the city of Volos on one side and two coastal so far remote coastal villages on the other side. The project is coupled with plans to revigorate the two ski resorts of mount Pelion, to combine transport of people and goods through cabins and to power the installations with a solar energy park. The good accessibility of Volos airport would represent an opportunity to have good frequentation. The project, representing a total of 35 km of cable lines is however still blocked by its huge cost and the difficulties to assemble the required funds in a period of crisis.
Strengthened with 50 good practices collected, MOG partners are now preparing concrete transfer of best practices
MOG partners took this opportunity to have a serious steering committee. The project is indeed at a crucial stage of its progress. 50 good practices have been assembled in a high-quality good practice guide which will be widely disseminated. Partners are now fully equipped to reflect on the improvement of their local strategies and regional policies in the field of sustainable rural mobility. Partners worked mostly on the main following phases.
These include primarily the selection of the practices which they are most interested to discover further and transfer in their own context. Once this selection is final, bilateral visits allowing partners to exchange more in-depth on the practices will be organised. Most bilateral visits will take place in autumn 2013. In parallel, and using the results of the local studies which have been carried out in every partner area, partner organisation must start working on the improvement of their policies and on action plans which will survive beyond the end of the project. The action plans will however be finalised only in one year. In the mean time, partners will try to get as far as policy and finance permits in the transfer of best practices from other regions. The MOG consortium plans to use the RURACT methodology for its transfer activities in order to maximize efficiency.
With results on the table, MOG will now boost communication
While this work is going on with the aim to achieve results directly on the ground, partners will also work on better communiting the lessons learnt from both their local studies and their good practice collection on the state of the art of sustainable mobility in rural areas. A first common guide will be assembled and widely disseminated. Further to the end of the project, policy recommendations on how to best improve the state of sustainable rural mobility in rural and mountain areas will be prepared. It will be presented at the project’s final conference schedule in early autumn 2014.
It is urgent to worry on funding of rural mobility in the period 2014-2020
A lot of discussions at the workshop were dedicated to the way rural mobility is currently addressed in the common strategic framework governing the use of European Structural and Investment Funds. Partners emphasized the urgent need to communicate about the results of the project and the solutions that have been identified, to try to secure some funding from future EU funds, in a context were urban sustainable transport only seems to be regarded as a priority. MOG partners committed to raise awareness of their policy makers on the crucial importance of rural transport.