University of Aberdeen academics will play a key role in a major €7.3M project launched today (Monday 24 November) to reduce the environmental impact of transport throughout North West Europe.
Focusing on the creation of effective alternatives to private car use, the Bridging Mobility Gaps: Improving Connectivity and Mobility Access (ICMA) initiative brings together experts from the University's Centre for Transport Research alongside key European partner institutions.
Funded by the European Union through their INTERREG IVB NWE funding scheme, the 3 year project will aim to deliver a wider range of accessible, cost effective and sustainable transport choices for the public with the hope of promoting alternative modes of travel.
Particular focus will be given to the delivery of door to door public or private transport options which allow people to complete the first and final miles of their journey home without using a car.
Professor John Nelson, Director of the University of Aberdeen's Centre for Transport Research said: "Studies show that how the first and last miles of a person's journey can be completed plays a major role in their choice of transport.
"Essentially, if public transport options are limiting for an individual in terms of how close they can drop them at their chosen destination, they are far more likely to seek the simplest and most time effective option which is typically their own private car.
"The ICMA project aims to reduce private car usage by bridging what we would call the mobility gap where there is a missing link in getting efficiently and effectively from A to B in a manner which is both accessible and cost effective.
"From walking and cycling to bus travel, the project will consider a wide range of transport modes and tackle the technical, economical and social factors which present challenges in the delivery of such services.
The proposed outcomes of the project will include the creation of software applications to enhance and promote the use of transport systems and the training of nearly 1000 people to help in the promotion of the initiative at a local level.
Professor Nelson continues: "The initiative is about pooling the substantial expertise which exists amongst local authorities and transport operators in the North West of Europe to create a hub of knowledge.
"Making best use of the existing knowledge and local sustainable travel initiatives which are already in place will be key towards the success of the project. By focusing on training individuals who can promote the use of alternative transport options on a local level in individual communities, we hope to encourage both a change in culture and attitude towards car usage on a wide scale."
The Bridging Mobility Gaps: Improving Connectivity and Mobility Access (ICMA) initiative is launched on Monday (24 November) at the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) Headquarters in Manchester.