Enhancing urban-rural connectivity in nonmetropolitan regions: a methodology in support to decision-making

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Accessibility to services and opportunities is vital to achieve the EU goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Some territories are worse equipped than others in this concern, due to their intrinsic peripheral character. Their weak and scattered mobility demand has progressively made traditional public transport subject to efficiency savings and cut to the bone. Such measures contributed to worsen social inequality, as they affect especially those already vulnerable groups who do not have access to a car. In this light, to improve urban-rural connectivity is essential for granting equal access to services and opportunities and, in turn, greater social justice. Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) has been often seen as a panacea for all the circumstances where traditional services are not viable, but a range of barriers (institutional, cultural, technological and economic) suggests that its adoption is more challenging than it may seem. Drawing on the results of the ESPON URRUC project, the paper sheds light on this issue, exploring the variables according to which various DRT solutions may or may not prove viable in a given area. On this basis, the authors propose a transport policy toolkit that may support decision-maker aiming at enhancing urban-rural connectivity across Europe.
rural areas, accessibility, policies, on-demand services