Research with experts and final-users from different social groups has been conducted in the selected six study regions aiming to provide an in-depth understanding of transport and accessibility problems experienced within different countries.
It is a first time such an extended work takes place. Both stakeholder´s interviews and final user´s focus-groups were implemented, covering a large range of social layers and geographical diversity (urban, peri-urban and rural).
Stakeholders, planners and transport suppliers´ managers
Working with stakeholders and managers we have witnessed a growing need to turn our focus towards vulnerable groups. On the other hand, the mindset of many stakeholders is still focusing on user´s physical impediments or low incomes and many managers approach transport service in a traditional way. There is an urgent need, to shift the mindsets in order to move forward. There is also the issue of budget: smaller subsidies and shrinking budgets for public transport makes it difficult to find the necessary resources for new transport services.
All focus group sessions were conducted with enthusiasm, engagement and creativity from both the researchers’ and participants’ sides. The final-users engaged were very open, communicative and creative. They all proposed a wide array of ideas, solutions and options on overcoming transport poverty, ranging from very basic requests such as better sidewalks and safe bike-parking and to suggestion for bottom-up and peer-to-peer car-sharing. A widespread lack of trust toward public authority and more specifically toward public transport suppliers was also noted. This is sometimes the outcome of poor service, and sometimes the result of high expectations and is often accompanied by a sort of fatalism, which impedes any action and leaves the users waiting for top-down actions.
Another interesting point was the fact that while the scientific debate focuses on singular characteristics of or singular factors leading to transport poverty, the focus groups revealed that we should rather consider transport poverty as a multi-layered phenomenon.
What is next?
Our work has not ended, but we have created a solid foundation and we are ready to move forward to the next stages of the project.
Our team believes in 4 key measures that should be taken towards fighting mobility poverty.
- Moving to a customer-driven service and to bottom-up approaches (and how they can foster new transport innovative solutions)
- Understanding carefully the expectations and the capabilities of final users, transport suppliers and the impact of local regulations.
- Focusing on the final user´s attitudes toward traditional and new transport suppliers (including peer-to-peer solutions).
- Concentrating on the relevance of budget and financial mechanisms while implementing new for innovative solutions.
All things considered, we will face in the following part of HiReach projects these limits and opportunities:
Find out more about our work in the Study regions in their respective languages here