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Upcoming partner meeting of the LAST MILE project

On the way towards regional action plans

One and a half year after the start of the LAST MILE project, a major milestone has been reached: the summaries of the analysis of framework conditions and barriers and the analysis of the technical state of the art in the regions have been finalised. These together with the interregional exchange and the experiences from the study visits form the groundwork for the development of the action plans.

The analysis of framework conditions and barriers highlights the existing shortcomings and barriers for the proper implementation and long-term operation of flexible transport systems. An insufficient or partially fragmented legal framework for flexible transport systems, information services for public transport which are barely available and municipalities with a lack of expertise in this sector are examples of the barriers detected in most of the regions. To overcome the shortcomings and barriers identified and to improve current framework conditions, the LAST MILE project provides opportunities for developing joint approaches.
 
The summary of the technical state of the art analysis shows many strengths and opportunities in the regions on the one hand, as well as weaknesses and threats on the other hand. Strengths and opportunities include positive willingness from local governments to develop sustainable mobility measures to cover the last mile in rural areas, as well as technological advances and the increasingly higher proportion of people using mobile devices, making it easier to implement modern, user-friendly systems for improving public transport and flexible transport services. On the other hand, there are also many weaknesses and threats. To name only two: the geographical context often makes the implementation of efficient public transportation systems difficult due to the dispersion of settlement or the low density of public transport networks, the car-based mobility of tourists dominates in whole regions which, on top of this, are also characterised by seasonal tourism.
 
Fact sheets with the important conclusions of these analyses are available on the website: www.interregeurope.eu/lastmile.
 
One pillar of the basis for the development of the action plans has been established with the achievement of these analyses. The other pillar of this basis consists in the interregional exchange and evaluation of examples of good practice visited. Four study visits have taken place since the beginning of the project; examples of good practice were visited and evaluated. Each partner now has enough information to start conceptual design for its regional action plan. The work within this pillar of interregional exchange will continue for another year, before the implementation of concrete actions will start; two more study visits are on the programme: firstly to visit further examples of good practice and secondly to exchange ideas on the development of the regional action plans.
 
With this objective in mind, the next project meeting and study visit will take place at the beginning of October in the West Pomeranian Voivideship in Poland. A trip on a narrow-gauge railway and the presentation of different bike rental systems will inspire partners and stakeholders with new ideas. In addition to these practical experiences, a workshop on the development of the action plan will take place. The first draft lists of actions will be presented by the project partners and discussed in the group.
 
The results so far show that partners have been busy preparing action plans for their regions. A year from now the regional action plans should be ready for implementation with the beginning of the second phase of this project. Hard work has to be done to reach this target and the specific objectives of every partner.