Connecting the mobility challenges in low density areas to smart mobility solutions

In this post we share the work carried out to identify the most promising Smart Mobility Systems (SMS) addressing the needs of rural and low-density municipalities. A wide literature review analyzes three main aspects, namely the policy landscape, applications of SMS in low-density areas and Demand Responsive Transport.

The results of the review are then tied to the mobility challenges described by Estonian municipalities, scored and assessed against hindrance factors. An overview of the results arising for the Estonian case study is provided, while a theoretical framework is described to allow other researchers and/or practitioners to perform similar analyses in other countries.

The work has just been published as a open access research paper in European Transport Research Review: Abstract:

Innovation in mobility is proceeding at fast pace, the future disrupting technologies ranging from automation and connectivity to micro-mobility and electric propulsion. This research effort is justified by the impressive array of challenges that urban centres will face in the following decades, such as ageing population, urbanization and pollution. It is therefore understandable why the concept of Smart City is being researched and the major cities around the world are already carrying out trials for Smart Mobility Solutions. Still this trend, as many others, is not evenly spread but follows the urban/rural divide characterizing many of the current socio-economical phenomena. This paper, following the principles of responsible innovation, tries to build the case for a renewed research effort about smart mobility in low density areas. This is accomplished by presenting the results of a wide surveying effort across Estonian municipalities, focusing on the outputs from rural and small suburban centres. The results report what are the main mobility challenges across the region and what hindering factors are preventing envisioned solutions. Finally, the paper ties the identified mobility challenges to available Smart Mobility Solutions that arose from the surveying activity and from literature, assessing both feasibility and transferability.


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